Friday, 19 February 2016


We dragged our weary bones off the army-surplus mattress and headed south where travelling companion Dave The Lay was already getting stuck into Bobcatbilly in a weak looking hunter chase.

The flagging fried eggs had virtually congealed by the time the crazy Geordie started in on breakfast, already up to his neck in the Bobcat. "It's just too short, man," he said as he despatched the Special K.

I couldn't disagree, although finding an alternative to the I Williams 10yro wasn't easy. Anyway, it was hardly something to get indigestion about - we had six other races to ponder on what was a disappointing card numerically speaking.

I couldn't figure out the opening novice hurdle as the potential each-way steal Road To Gold had disappeared with the scratching of the flat bred Invictus, leaving us with seven.

I couldn't be confident that Road To Gold would be good enough to win it under a pen, especially at the reduced odds, and yet I really wanted to get against Western Rules at a very short price, as mentioned here after his last outing he looks utterly paceless and wants a step up in trip.

This drop back was in no way in his favour, even though the by-passing of the second last probably was for this sticky jumper, but I wasn't that keen on Irish raider Water Sprite either, who was more a flat, speedy type on looks.

I sat the race out but it's hard to believe Western Rules didn't see them off from the front, especially having the eventual winner Road To Gold well off the bridle turning for home.

Lucematic looked really well in the next but I thought he was flattered at Newcastle and hadn't gone on, while Redkalani had the blinds added after a dismal effort last time.

Dave The Lay had pulled on his punting boots to get stuck into Rocking Blues - the bigger it went the more he had on. He wasn't for me even at the price but the horse is a revelation.

Looking back at the race I'm sure his improvement has come from the fact he has learned to settle. He was very headstrong prior to an injury absence, making countless errors and not getting home on occasions.

He looks a much happier horse now and he is jumping for fun. He'll have to go up another stone for this win but you won't see a horse gallop home stronger at Kelso all year. There's no reason to think Carrigdhoun didn't run his race in second, while Gold Opera looks one to avoid, not staying and lugging again under pressure. His mark doesn't reflect his form.

Top Notch looked to have a penalty kick in the Morebattle and it duly was, while Unioniste had a straightforward spin round with the ill-fated Neptune Equester keeping him company.

Soll should have been the lay of the day here. He's a big long thing and such a horse wouldn't be suited to the constant turns at Kelso. He was soon making errors and on the back foot.

Shades Of Midnight was the big miss of the day though. I have mentioned him here, here and here already this season, but thought he was in need of some headgear to bring out the best in him.

Admirably consistent, this assignment was rather easier than those faced so far this term. I initially felt he was vulnerable giving weight to some potential improvers, but with the huge Teddy Tee just an out and out chaser, and Pilgrims Bay a recalcitrant sort, there wasn't much left after Takingrisks was scratched.

I ended up throwing some at Landecker but not for the first time got an Alexander horse wrong.

Shades Of Midnight should have been backed in a 'just in case' sort of way but now the bird has flown with this 26l success. What a damn fool. I hope some readers backed him.

On to the aforementioned hunter chase, where Bobcatbilly had proven a solid favourite all day. Sent off 'tips' he had run his race by the time they jumped the first fence. I had held stamina concerns and he was often a keen goer under rules. Under weaker handling he didn't settle and the in-running players knew it.

It left the race wide open and it was a war of attrition, the Flemensfirth gelding Durban Gold landing odds of 25/1 and notching another winner for the soft-ground sire.

The bumper was interesting because the Richards horse Randy Pike was well-backed but a little birdie had told me it wasn't all that.

Paddock inspection indeed suggested the horse would come on for the run - he looked surprisingly backward for a six-year-old. Far straighter was Lady Beaufort, and related to several winners the filly simply had to be backed as the others looked ordinary at best.

Dicky J duly went home with his winner and it made the journey back to Wetherby that much shorter.


  1. "The first of a two-dayer in the far north" Have you been to Perth ? the most northern track, only an hour further from Edinburgh.

  2. I haven't yet. Looking forward to going, just got to figure out which is the best meet. You offering a lift??