Valentino the star as Kelso faces season's final curtain
Valentino Dancer was a cosy winner of one of the features races on Kelso’s final meeting of the spring under a confident ride from Paddy Brennan.
Trained near Cheltenham by Fergal O’Brien, the 3-1 joint-favourite slammed Nordic Combined by three lengths in the £12,000 William Hill Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle.
Brennan said: “He’s a good-looking horse alright and we were a little disappointed he didn’t win on his first run for us at Worcester, as he was certainly fit enough. I’d say he could be an interesting horse to keep on the go through the summer.”
Hawick jockey Craig Nicholl won the Warm Welcome Handicap for trainer Rose Dobbins, while Irish trainer Noel Kelly was on hand to saddle a 47-1 double courtesy of Charcor and Doune Castle.
The former took the opening novices’ hurdle for James Bowen, while Doune Castle was a first Kelso winner on just his second course ride for William Marshall.
Bowen also went on to complete a double when Nicky Henderson-trained Grand Mogul made a winning debut over fences by 10-lengths in the Subscribe To Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Annual members of Kelso Racecourse were allowed to attend its final race meeting of the season, after approval by the relevant authorities.
Although very few spectators were present, the meeting became the first sporting event for over a year in the Borders to have a crowd in attendance – albeit a very small one.
There was a heavy restriction on numbers as part of a trial which could lead to larger crowds in the autumn.
Managing director Jonathan Garratt said everyone at the Kelso course hoped they’d be able to open the doors to a wider audience after the summer break and extend a familiar warm welcome.
On the day, Denholm trainer Alison Hamilton’s nephew Jamie was on board his auntie’s stable star, Skyhill, in the Racing TV Supports Racing Handicap Hurdle. Opposition included course and distance winners Court Baloo and Dequall, trained by Hawick’ s Alistair Whillans and Stuart Coltherd of Selkirk respectively.