IT is 40 years since Maurice Barnes rode Rubstic to Grand National victory and he has prospects of training the winner of today’s Scottish Borders National at Kelso with BAFANA BLUE (1.15).
His gelding has been in rattling form this season, winning four of his five starts. There may have been a stroke of good fortune about his latest success at Ayr when Sophie Olivia crashed out at the final flight and a 6lb rise makes life tougher. However, Bafana Blue will handle today’s testing conditions and rates good each-way value in a wide-open contest.
GLORIOUS DAY (2.45) looks the best bet on the card in the 2m 5f Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. Keith Dalgleish sent her on a successful mission to Bangor at the end of August and she has since finished runner-up on no less than three occasions. Glorious Day, a bumper winner at Musselburgh, chased home Kingrullah in a handicap hurdle at Sedgefield and this return to novice company against her own sex should do the trick.
Nicky Richards is going all out to land the popular Veteran’s Handicap Chase, saddling three of the eight runners. BERNARDELLI (2.15) may not be the most fancied of his trio but he rates a knocking each-way bet on the strength of his third to Well Above Par over course and distance in early November. Bernardelli beat useful Lake View Lad at Ayr in March and handled heavy ground when winning here in 2017.
Richards has another likely candidate in RUBYTWO (1.45). She is most consistent and her turn may be at hand following a solid second to Charlie Longsdon’s No Trumps at Wetherby. I’ve given up the ghost with frustrating Highway Companion and would rather have an each-way saver on Deepsand at a big price. Lucinda Russell’s gelding ploughed through the mud to score at Haydock in 2017 and although Deepsand hasn’t shown an awful lot recently he is 10lb lower, with Danny McMenamin taking off a further 5lb.
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