MAMBO DANCER (6.30) finished off his race very strongly when scoring at Wolverhampton and is fancied to take a slight rise in grade in his stride at Chelmsford City.
Mark Johnston's gelding has to cope with a 5lb rise but looks the likely type to win again from the foot of the weights.
SAM’S GUNNER (1.55) appears a progressive novice hurdler and is worth an interest at Kelso.
Mick Easterby’s gelding belied his 20-1 odds at Catterick last month when splitting Dan Skelton’s hotpot Hear No Evil and Planet Nine. Sam’s Gunner returned to the north Yorkshire track to beat Scheu Time and he may be capable of conceding 9lb to Taxmeifyoucan, a useful three-year-old on the Flat for Keith Dalgleish and the winner of a juvenile hurdle at Stratford last summer.
McGowan’s Pass is proving consistent at a decent enough level to pose a big threat, but Sam’s Gunner wins the vote.
The prospects of PLANET NINE (3.35) would clearly be boosted by a stout show from Sam’s Gunner.
Rose Dobbin continues to churn out winners and Planet Nine beat a decent sort in Kansas City Chief at Catterick 13 days ago.
Landecker did us a turn at the last Kelso fixture and runs the track extremely well. Lucy Alexander rode the perfect patient race, producing Landecker at the final flight, and he is not passed over lightly off a 5lb higher mark.
Ivan Straker was a great supporter of Scottish National Hunt racing and his Scottish Grand National winner Paris Pike was a great favourite. Prize-money for the 3m chase run in his memory could be heading south, however, with SHANTOU FLYER (3.00) looking hard to beat on the back of his second to Frodon at Cheltenham.
Lucinda Russell’s Big River has won four times around Kelso and receives a healthy 9lb from my selection.
A small but select field go to post for the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle and last year’s winner CYRUS DARIUS (2.25) is right at home on heavy ground.
He will not find it as easy this time, having to concede upwards of 6lb to his rivals, and has a bit to find with Better Getalong on official ratings. However, prices of around 3-1 last night make Cyrus Darius a tempting proposition.