IT'S all about Kelso for Alan on Sunday with six selections from the Borders venue. There's also racing from Huntingdon, Cork and Punchestown so good luck all with your bets.
ROMEO BROWN comes a long way north for his opening venture over hurdles following two decent bumper efforts. On the back of a promising run behind Strong Glance at Cheltenham, Romeo Brown was sent off favourite at Taunton but couldn’t contain the Paul Nicolls-trained Southfield Stone.
DONNA’S DIAMOND will be a banker for many punters and although he could never get to grips with front-running Top Ville Ben at Hexham it was still a satisfactory first attempt over fences. Senor Lombardy languished back in fourth but is surely capable of better things.
WEST OF THE EDGE won’t fail for a lack of stamina in a wide-open Borders National. Dr Richard Newland landed the big one at Aintree in 2014 with Pineau De Re and the yard’s West Of The Edge will go close if re-producing his Newcastle effort when runner-up in the 2017 Eider Chase.
He should strip fitter for his Ffos Las return over hurdles last month, his first start in 239 days, and blinkers are now applied. Nicky Richards has booked Brian Hughes to ride Progress Drive, a stayer with scope for improvement. Still only a seven-year-old, Progress Drive made a pleasing enough return at Ayr when fourth to Kimberlite Candy and this four-mile test may bring out the best in him.
XPO UNIVERSAL is a standout bet at Kelso if able to replicate last Sunday’s powerful performance at Carlisle. The Rebecca Menzies-trained gelding was always to the fore and surged clear of Kelpies Myth over the stiff 2m 1f trip under today’s 7lb claimer Aaron Anderson (seen to good effect on yesterday’s Wetherby winner Tomkevi). This sharper track/shorter distance wouldn’t be ideal but Xpo Universal appears ahead of the handicapper.
SILVER TASSIE has sound prospects in the Veterans’ Chase. Micky Hammond’s ten-year-old made an excellent return at Ayr when hunting up Kimberlite Candy and he ran a cracker here last February when third to useful Yala Enki.
Kim Bailey has been banging in plenty of winners and SEA STORY can go one better than at Southwell last month when a beaten favourite behind Alan King’s Kimberley Point. A dual bumper winner at Ludlow and Catterick last season, Sea Story should have the measure of Peters Cousin and Off The Hook.