ALAN is backing Bond Angel to leave rivals shaken and stirred on Sunday and also takes us through the Kelso card with selections for all seven races.
BOND ANGEL has really taken to the Fibresand surface at Southwell and is fancied to complete a quick hat-trick. The filly is up another 4lb for her New Year’s Day victory and Bond Angel can confirm places with third-home Thunder Buddy when they clashed last month over the shorter 7f trip.
SKANDIBURG duly stepped up on his promising Wetherby debut by landing the odds at Fakenham. It was a workmanlike rather than scintillating performance but this longer trip looks sure to suit at Kelso.
LORD YEATS was a useful middle-distance performer on the Flat, scooping the Listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket in July, and Jedd O’Keefe’s gelding looked a natural over hurdles when demolishing an admittedly modest bunch at Sedgefield.
The formbook points to a difficult task as he has more than three lengths to bridge with Encore Champs on their Wetherby run in late November but Lord Yeats is entitled to have improved from that debut effort.
DIAMOND KING holds the key to the two-mile handicap hurdle. Winner of the 2016 Coral Cup at Cheltenham for Gordon Elliott, the 11-year-old has his first start for Olly Murphy.
Diamond King was pulled up on his final outing in Ireland 260 days ago and it remains to be seen just how much ability he retains.
Three of his rivals race from out of the handicap, so that leaves Prince Charmin’ as the only other runner running off his proper rating. The betting market will be worth watching for clues as to expectations.
MOUNT MEWS has won on all three visits to Kelso and if stripping fit for his comeback run following a 305-day absence will take some stopping in the 2m 5f handicap chase.
The eight-year-old was well handled by the Jefferson family but now makes his debut for Donald McCain on the back of a fine third to classy Black Corton and Ms Parfois in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot.
Sandy Thomson has Dimple in great shape and the eight-year-old made mincemeat of his rivals here over hurdles at the end of December. He must race off a 13lb higher mark back over the larger obstacles.
BRACKA LILY makes the trip from Ireland and her close second to British Art at Down Royal on Boxing Day was boosted when the winner went down by a neck at Clonmel three days ago off a higher mark.
LOUGH DERG JEWEL took the measure of his only serious rival Sir Mangan at Doncaster, clearly appreciating the good ground he will encounter today. A 4lb rise is fair enough.
ACHILL ROAD BOY has been found a weak handicap chase and can score in first-time blinkers for 5lb claimer Sam Coltherd.