Swift Arrow looks to do it all again in Mayfield race

SWIFT ARROW Ridden by Jason Maguire winsat Kelso 9/11/13'Photograph by John Grossick
SWIFT ARROW Ridden by Jason Maguire winsat Kelso 9/11/13'Photograph by John Grossick

Racing returns to Kelso on Saturday, when the feature race is the £15,000 Mayfield handicap chase, sponsored by the Hawick-based restaurant’s Glen and Kath Lambert.

Swift Arrow is a possible contender for Blainslie owner April Strang Steel, having completed a treble on the corresponding card last year for Donald McCain and Jason Maguire.

The main danger could be the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Firth Of The Clyde.

Well-known Hawick character, George Harrow, has a race sponsored in his memory – the opening novice hurdle – by his wife, Shauna and his two daughters.

The Last Samuri won this last year for St Boswells owners Paul and Clare Rooney and they may aim to retain the title with recent Carlisle runner-up Master Dee. Potential rivals include Chris Grant’s Co Durham raider and course and distance second Donna’s Diamond.

The Ship Inn in Dalkeith has been a regular supporter of the Borders track and proprietor Davy Logan sponsors the novice handicap chase.

Scotland’s leading jumps trainer Lucinda Russell has entered Crackerjack Lad and Shine A Diamond as she bids to follow Clondaw Knight’s impressive win in this race 12 months ago. Selkirk handler Stuart Coltherd’s Aye Well is top-weight, while Cumbrian Farmer represents Southdean trainer George Bewley.

Another local business – Border Skip Hire and Frank Flannigan Skip Hire – sponsor for the third year running. Maggio, trained in Ireland by James Griffin, was runner-up in this last November and his most recent of four wins at Kelso came in the Premier Chase in March. George Moore’s Middleham raider Wolf Shield was given the summer off after wins at Southwell and Hexham and his front-running style should be suited to the Borders track.

Graeme Todd, who runs an Edinburgh-based haulage business in Edinburgh returns to support the handicap hurdle race. Top Billing, a €320,000 yearling, has proved a real money spinner since Nicky Richards picked him up for a bargain £3,500 in September, having completed a hat-trick at Ayr on Saturday.

Night In Milan is a useful chaser and an interesting contender as Keith Reveley sends him back over hurdles, with son James in the saddle.

Samstown represents Hawick handler Alistair Whillans, while in-form Greenlaw handler saddles Neptune Equester. Donald Whillans could send Ellistrin Belle on her seasonal debut in the Myers novice handicap hurdle race, in the hands of his son, Callum.

The Urwin family from Norham sponsor the concluding two-mile handicap chase, where the eight entries include Some Lad for Denholm-based Alison Hamilton; Azerodegree from Harriet Graham’s Camptown stable; and Thorlack for Langholm handler James Ewart.

Groundsman Brian Meikle reports 20 mm of rain since, with the ground, at the time of going to press, described as good to soft.

Gates open at 10.30am, with the first race off at 12.30pm.