The 10-year-old bay gelding won the NSPCC School Service Simply Ned Handicap Chase in 2018 and 2020, and the Danny McMenamin-ridden 5/1 chance saw off Gold Des Bois, trained at Carrutherstown in Dumfries and Galloway by Iain Jardine and with Conor O’Farrell in the saddle, by two and a half lengths this time round, securing the £20,812 first prize.
Two Borders trainers saw their entries finishing fourth and fifth out of the five horses to complete the 3.40pm race, Hawick’s Ewan Whillans with Cracking Destiny, ridden by Callum Bewley, and Oxnam’s Harriet Graham with Aye Right, piloted by Brian Hughes, respectively.
Nuts Well is trained south of the border at Capheaton by Ann Hamilton and owned by her husband Ian, and he said: “He’s not very big but boy is he game.
“He loves his racing and I suppose we’ll go back to Aintree again for the grade-two chase he won last year.
“He’s won today over 2m 1f but he stays three miles so he’s pretty versatile.”
The first two races saw fellow Northumbrian trainer Rose Dobbin, based near Wooler, complete a 12/1 double with Fete Champetre and Do Not Disturb, both owned by her parents.
Fete Champetre won the opening 1.55pm Welcome to Family Day Handicap Hurdle under Sean Quinlan before stable companion Do Not Disturb followed up for Hawick jockey Craig Nichol in the 2.30pm RacingTV 100% Profits Returned to Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Dobbin said: “Fete Champetre is a lovely horse and the plan now is to go straight over fences. He would probably have been chasing before now had it not been too firm to get some proper schooling into him.”
Cumbrian trainer Dianne Sayer’s Iolani, with O’Farrell riding, was second in the first of the day’s seven races and Millarville, trained by Graham and ridden by Hughes, was runner-up in the second.
Haute Estime, trained at Milnathort in Perth and Kinross by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Derek Fox, finished first in the 3pm PD The Big Six Oh Novices’ Hurdle, landing £4,357 in prize money.
Flying Verse, ridden by Hughes, won the 4.15pm Belhaven Brewery Handicap Chase for Oxfordshire’s David Dennis, securing its £3,867 first prize.
The 4.50pm Scottish Racing Academy Novices’ Hurdle, offering a £4,357 first prize, was won by Ibbenburen, trained by Donald McCain Jnr in Cheshire and ridden by Hughes.
Victory in the last race of the day, the 5.25pm Watch on Racing TV Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, went to Red Ochre, ridden by Oakley Brown and trained by Chris Grant at Wolviston, near Stockton-on-Tees, with County Durham trainer David Thompson’s Coup de Gold, with Aaron Anderson riding, in second place.
Kelso’s Sandy Thomson, based at stables north of the town at Lambden, was presented with an award after being declared best trainer at his home racecourse last year.
Kelso’s next race meeting is on Saturday, October 23, and there’s another to follow on Saturday, November 6.