THE stands may be empty at Kelso but off-course punters can still cheer home DUC DE GRISSAY (2.40) in the 2m 7f novices’ handicap chase.
He jumped soundly enough on chasing debut at Catterick last month and Sandy Thomson’s gelding wasn’t disgraced behind long odds-on shot Saint Sonnet, trained by Paul Nicholls. Kalaharry makes his debut over the larger obstacles for Alistair Whillans, while Manetti is vastly more experienced than his two rivals in this discipline.
Fergal O’Brien’s PROPER TICKET (3.40) doesn’t seem overburdened on a mark of 108 for her handicap debut and can give a good account in the mares’ contest. Brian Hughes takes the mount on Proper Ticket, not beaten too far when fourth to Dan Skelton’s Molly Ollys Wishes at Warwick. Blossoming Forth has still to fulfil her potential but holds Raddle And Hum on their running here in early December when third and fourth behind Glorious Lady and Aurora Thunder.
CRIXUS’S ESCAPE (4.10) was runner-up to Saint Sonnet at Catterick so a sound display from third horse Duc De Grissey earlier on the card would be a pointer to his chances in the 2m 6f handicap chase.
The finale can fall to the O’Brien/Hughes partnership courtesy of PROJECT MARS (4.40), strong at the finish when landing a similar 2m 4f handicap hurdle at Huntingdon last month. A 5lb rise shouldn’t prevent a follow-up.