Handicap Chase the feature at Kelso meet

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National Hunt racing returns to Kelso Racecourse on Saturday (November 8) with the first race off at 12.30. Gates open at 10.30 for a seven race card.

The feature race is the Mayfield £15,000, 2m 1f Handicap Chase.

Swift Arrow could have this as a target again after he completed a treble on the corresponding card last year for Donald McCain and Jason Maguire. He is owned by borders-based April Strang Steel and the main danger could emerge as the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Firth Of The Clyde who is also entered in the 2.15.

The Last Samuri, an entry in the 3.30, took this last year for Donald McCain in the Paul and Clare Rooney colours and the same combination could be represented this time by recent Carlisle runner-up Master Dee. Potential rivals include Chris Grant’s Co Durham raider and course and distance second Donna’s Diamond

The Ship Inn in Dalkeith sponsor the Novice Handicap Chase. Scotland’s leading jumps trainer Lucinda Russell has entered Crackerjack Lad and Shine A Diamond as she bids to follow the impressive win in this race 12 months ago by Clondaw Knight. Tyneside trainer Robert Johnson will be looking for a jockey for Rosquero as his regular partner and son Kenny had a heavy fall at Sedgefield last week.

Border Skip Hire and also Frank Flannigan Skip Hire, sponsor for the third year. Maggio, trained in Ireland by James Griffin, was runner-up in this last November and his most recent of four wins at Kelso came in the Premier Chase in March. George Moore’s Middleham raider Wolf Shield was given the summer off after wins at Southwell and Hexham and his front-running style should be suited to the border track.

Top Billing, originally bought for €320,000 as a yearling has proved a real money spinner since Nicky Richards picked him up for a bargain £3,500 in September and he completed a hat-trick at Ayr on Saturday. Night In Milan is a useful chaser and is an interesting contender as Keith Reveley sends him back over hurdles with son James in the saddle.

The concluding Handicap Chase over 2m 1f will be a very competitive event. Brian Meikle reports there have been 20 mm of rain since the last meeting. The ground is officially good to soft.