WITH it raining cats, dogs and pretty much every other animal known to man over the last few days, it’s great news that Kelso goes ahead today. We have five runners.
We’ve ended up running RATH AN IUIR (11.53) in the 3m2f chase for amateur jockeys as there aren’t any other races for him coming up. He was meant to go to Ayr last week but it wasn’t soft enough. We certainly don’t have that excuse today! Gearoid Harney, who works for Olly Murphy, hasn’t ridden for us before, but he rode a winner against professionals at Wincanton on Boxing Day and will be making the long trip north full of confidence.
Rathy, pictured above, hasn’t run that badly in his two races so far this season. We’re just hoping this will be a true test for him as that’s what he really needs. He’s been finishing off his races well enough having just got tapped for a bit of speed, so we’re going to ask Gearoid to ride him a bit handier than normal. He’s down to a very good mark and, with Gearoid taking off 7lb, I’m hoping Rathy will take a step forward today.
FIRTH OF FIRTH (12.28) got slightly stuck on this sort of ground last season, but he’s a stronger horse now, more mature. We’d like to run but there’s a chance we might pull him out. He fractured his pelvis in March, so he’s been off for the best part of 300 days, and it could end up being a tricky decision whether to run or wait for another day.
His handicap mark looks high enough, although in some ways he’s his own worst enemy because he was consistent in novice hurdles, placing at Newcastle and then over this course and distance at the start of the year. He’s a genuine sort who stays well and I do think he’s got a bit of potential.
We run two in the 2m6f+ novices’ handicap chase at 1.38. CAPTAIN QUINT, pictured below, has been running well this season. He was third at Ayr last time out, but it was over 2m4f on ground that wasn’t soft enough for him. The two horses who finished ahead of him are both nice types, so it wasn’t a bad effort. This longer trip on testing ground should be lovely for him. It’s a competitive race but I’m hopeful of a big run.
Our other runner is LE CHEVAL NOIR, who didn’t really fire last season. That said, he’s in good order now, feels great at home and I’m really happy with where he’s at physically. All seems really well with him, so I’ll be a bit disappointed if he doesn’t run a nice race here.
He’s on a fair mark, the ground won’t bother him and Dylan Johnston, our conditional jockey, is able to claim 10lb off his back. I’m fairly hopeful he’ll show a bit more of his old self and give his new syndicate of owners, The Gathering, some encouragement for the rest of the season.
Finally, we have the return of WILD POLLY (3.20) in the mares’ handicap hurdle which closes the card. Like Rathy, she was due to run at Ayr last week but the ground wasn’t soft enough for her either. Now, if anything, these conditions have perhaps gone a little too soft for her!
She is entitled to need this having been off since February 2021 with a tendon injury, and ideally she wants further than 2m2f. But she’s a classy sort of mare and it’s just great to be having a runner at Kelso for the MS Borders Racing Club, which is made up up most of local Borders people, including Peter and Rhona Elliott who run it.
She’ll be our final runner of 2022. I’ll be back with an update of our runners for Musselburgh and Ayr at the start of 2023. In the meantime, Happy New Year everyone and see you on the other side of the bells!