Updated: Borders-trained Ferry Master pushes boat out at Kelso Races for first win since 2020
The ten-year-old bay gelding, trained at Thomson’s Lambden stables between Kelso and Greenlaw, won the 3pm Schloss Roxburghe Hotel Handicap Chase by half a length at 9/2 from Selkirk trainer Stuart Coltherd’s Hidden Commander, taking its £5,281 top prize.
They were among only four runners in the two-miles-and-five-furlong contest, the other two being third-placed Dolly Dancer, trained in Cumbria by Maurice Barnes, and back-marker Exit to Where, winner of the same race last year for Dumfries and Galloway handler Iain Jardine, formerly of Hawick.
Sunday’s win was just the Ferry Master’s fourth ever, the other three all having been in 2020 and with Mania riding – at Kelso, Carlisle and Newcastle.
His last outing was at Musselburgh in January, finishing third under Bruce Lynn in a race won by another of Thomson’s horses, Massini Man.
“He’ll probably have a wind operation, maybe sometime in July, but there there should be a race or two for him before then,” said Thomson looking ahead after claiming his first win for two months.
“The ground is key for him as he’s been down to run three times only for the going to turn heavy.
“If you go back to 2021, he was fourth in the Scottish National so he has a bit of class.”
Selkirk jockey Sam Coltherd added injury to insult by dislocating his right shoulder while trying to get long-time leader Hidden Commander back in front in the £20,000 race’s run-in.
Northumbrian trainer Rose Dobbin won the 4.05pm Five Star Taxis Handicap Hurdle’s £4,753 top prize with 5/4 favourite Rae des Champs, ridden by Dylan Johnston, by over three lengths from 9/2 second favourite Sputnik, trained at Lilliesleaf by Jackie Stephen and with Hawick’s Bruce Lynn in the saddle.
Yetholm trainer Sandy Forster’s Lissen to the Lady was fourth in that three-mile-one-furlong race with Lissen to the Lady at 15/2, ridden by Joanna Walton.
Dobbin also won the following JA Wilson Contractors Novices’ Handicap Chase at 4.40pm with evens favourite Rockonsoph under Sean Quinlan, crossing the line 13 lengths ahead of the only other finisher, Forster’s Divas Doyen, with Patrick Wadge riding.
Three-time champion jockey Brian Hughes won the opening William Hill Bookmakers Novices’ Hurdle at 2.30pm with 1/6 favourite Clody Lane, trained by Cheshire’s Donald McCain.
The £10,406 top prize in the day’s feature race, the 3.35pm Elliot Henderson Group Handicap Hurdle, went to Castel Gandolfo, trained in Gloucestershire by Fergal O’Brien and with Jack Hogan riding, and that same combination won the concluding See You in September Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race with 2/5 favourite Hard as Nails.
Like the race before it at 4.40pm, only two horses completed the 5.15pm Borders Growers and Distillers Corinthian Spirit Grassroots Hunters’ Chase Series final, 4/5 favourite Slievegar winning for Shropshire trainer Phil Rowley and jockey Toby McCain-Mitchell.
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