Success for Borders trainers and riders in Kelso’s last meeting of 2020

Rachael McDonald, of Selkirk, and James Ewart, teamed up with Empire De Maulde to land the feature race on the behind-closed-doors card at Kelso yesterday (Tuesday).

By Gordon Brown & Ralph Mellon
Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 11:30 am
Sandy Thomson
Sandy Thomson

The meeting required two inspections to ensure it was given the green light because of overnight frost.

Sent off at 12-1, the Langholm raider appeared late on the scene to pip Gipsy Lee Rose by a length and three-quarters.

McDonald, who is based with the winning stable, said: “We were genuinely concerned about the soft and holding ground, as it was only good when he won at Hexham in September.

Rachael McDonald

“Otherwise, the race went to plan. I knew he was a horse that you have to deliver quite late and I gave him a wide berth too, as he can sometimes jump out to his left.”

Kevin Brogan, who is attached to the Jonjo O’Neill yard, made his first ride at Kelso a winning one when scoring on Rock On Fruity for Ben Haslam in the Boscasports Transforming Retail Betting Display Handicap Hurdle.

The Irishman said: “It’s a long drive up but I had a run round the track before racing and it’s a grand little place.

“I had a great spin in the race too and this old horse is a real dude, as he travelled like a dream the whole way.”

Sandy Thomson, of Greenlaw, near Kelso, and Lucinda Russell, were both on the mark with promising novices Deluxe Range, ridden by Borders jockey and former Grand National winner, Ryan Mania, and Bollingerandkrug, ridden by Derek Fox, with the latter lowering the colours of hot favourite Elysian Flame in the two-mile event.

Fox, of course, piloted the now retired One For Arthur to victory in the 2017 Grand National. The horse was trained by Lucinda Russell and owned by Borders ‘golfing widows’ Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson.

In a race affected by omitted fences because of the low sun, Monsieur Co, trained by Keith Dalgleish, reeled in Cedar Hill in the closing stages of the 2m 1f handicap chase.

And a fifth Scottish winner came in the shape of Yetholm’s Sandy Forster-trained Charlie Snow Angel, who held off Scoop The Pot by a neck in the concluding handicap chase for conditional jockeys and amateur riders.

Ryan Mania was in the saddle for all six Sandy Thomson-trained horses at the meeting – the others being Sirwilliamwallace, Sophie Fatale, Milvale, Coolkill and Cedar Hill.

Thomson was extremely pleased with Delux Range’s win in the Novice’s Hurdle and tweeted: “Delighted with the others and they’re all home safe.”

However, the trainer raised the issue of excluding fences in another tweet, in which he said: “The taking out of chase fences reared its head again today at Kelso.

“The last two fences were taken out of the two-mile but back in for the next, the three-mile, because the sun went in. But it came out again as the race started – but no horse seemed to have any problem jumping them.”

Selkirk trainer Stuart Coltherd also had two horses taking part yesterday – To The Limit, ridden by Stuart’s son Sam, and Nine Altars, with Charlotte Dun in the saddle.