Ridden by Sean Quinlan, the seven-year-old bay gelding pipped 14-1 Lake Takapuna by a nose as both swamped long-time leader Cedar Hill close to home to claim the 3.25pm Strawmax Straw Pellet Bedding Handicap Chase’s £6,317 first prize.
Cedar Hill, trained at Lambden, near Kelso by Sandy Thomson and ridden by his son-in-law Ryan Mania, was 3-1 favourite to win, having finished first in three of his previous four races at Kelso and second in the other.
Winning trainer Sue Smith said: “He is in great form at the moment and won after a break at Sedgefield a fortnight ago.
“The key to this horse is good ground and he tends to avoid muddy conditions in midwinter.
“It was a close finish, but my husband Harvey was watching on TV at home and he was on the phone straight away to say he had won.
“We will keep him on the go and it is just a case of finding the right race for him.”
Smith notched up another win in the day’s final race, the 4.35pm racingtv.com Open National Hunt Flat Race, with Prairie Wolf, ridden by Mania.
Lesser extended his unbeaten record to four with a 15-length success for Richard Phillips in the 2.25pm BoscaSports Racing Digital Display Novices’ Hurdle, taking its £3,268 first prize.
Behind him were Lanty Slea, Rattle Owl and, in fourth place, the Jad Factor, with Mania in the saddle for East Ayrshire trainer Mike Smith.
The Gloucestershire raider has now won a point-to-point, a bumper and two races over hurdles.
Danny Hiskett, on board for the bay gelding’s last three wins, said: “This was my first ride at Kelso and we came up last night.
“We sorted the horse this morning and then I had a good look around the track.
“Lesser is a fairly big horse and he has his own way of jumping, but he has plenty of ability.
“That may be him for the spring now and he will likely come back in the autumn, perhaps for another race over hurdles before he goes novice chasing.”
The first race of the day, the 1.20pm Boscasports Transforming Retail Betting Displays Handicap Hurdle, was won by Lissen to the Lady, a seven-year-old bay mare trained by Sandy Forster at Yetholm and ridden by Bonchester Bridge’s Joanna Walton.
“I’m absolutely delighted. It’s always nice to get a win on the board,” said Forster after seeing her 4-1 contender fend off seven other runners to claim the £3,322 top prize and rack up her second win in just over a month, the previous one being at Carlisle at the start of April.
Next up, the 1.55pm William Hill Bookmakers Novices’ Handicap Chase was won by Do Not Disturb, ridden by Hawick jockey Craig Nichol for Northumbrian trainer Rose Dobbin.
Kelso Racecourse is to bring the curtain down on its current season, all staged behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions, at the end of this month.
Its season finale is lined up for Sunday, May 30, and will be made up of seven races starting just before 2pm and winding up at 5.25pm.