Hawick jockeys Craig Nichol and Jamie Hamilton among winners at Kelso Racecourse’s first meeting of new season
Ridden by Hawick’s Craig Nichol and trained by Iain Jardine, formerly of Hawick but now based at Carrutherstown in Dumfries and Galloway, the five-year-old bay gelding saw off North Yorkshire handler Micky Hammond’s Getaway Jewel, with Brian Hughes riding, by five lengths in the 6.05pm Border Carers Centre Handicap Chase, a qualifier for the Go North One-Man Series final next spring.
“I rode him when he was third at Cartmel last time but they got him racing a long way from home,” said Nichol after claiming the two-mile-and-one-furlong race’s £5,281 top prize.
“Iain has also given him a couple of spins at hurdles and he should continue to go the right way as this was just his third run in a chase.”
Perth and Kinross trainer Lucinda Russell won with 7/4 joint favourite Caithness in the 5pm Nicol Celebration Maiden Hurdle, ridden by Derek Fox.
“He wasn’t broken in until he was five and can be a little bit wild,” said Russell, 57, after seeing the seven-year-old bay gelding take the 5pm race’s £4,357 top prize.
“He’s got the size of a chaser and he jumps well so that will be his game one day.”
Russell also took fourth place in that two-mile race with 16/1 chance Whozatgirl, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen.
The first race of the autumn at the Berrymoss course was won by the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Judicial Law, a six-year-old bay gelding.
That was the 4.25pm RBC Brewin Dolphin Handicap Hurdle, a qualifier for next year’s Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series final.
“He’s been a great horse for the yard and that’s my fifth win on him,” said winning jockey Jonjo O’Neill junior. after guiding the Gloucestershire-trained 11/4 favourite to victory and a top prize of £7,922
“The cheekpieces helped and he’ll be kept on the go until the ground gets too soft.”
Tuesday’s 5.35pm Abbey Fine Wines Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase and its top prize of £7,922 were won by the only horse to go the two-mile-seven-furlong distance, 8/11 favourite Bella Bliss, trained by County Meath’s John McConnell and ridden by Alex Harvey.
McConnell and Harvey’s 11/8 favourite Jumping Susie finished as runner-up to 4/1 chance Imperial Data, trained in County Durham by Rebecca Menzies and ridden by Ross Chapman, in the 6.35pm SPG Fire and Security Maiden Hurdle.
The last race of the day, the 7.05pm Join Racing TV Now Handicap Hurdle, was won by Hawick jockey Jamie Hamilton on Darkest Day, trained by William Young in South Lanarkshire, at 9/1.
Kelso’s next meeting is on Wednesday next week, September 20, and it offers six races starting at 4.05pm and wrapping up at 7pm.
Tickets are £12 in advance and £21 on the day. For details, go to www.kelso-races.co.uk