Alan Thomson has pinpointed four likely lads at Kelso on Sunday.
HEAVY ground usually brings out the best in horses trained by Venetia Williams and she sends a raiding party to Kelso’s Sunday fixture. CUBAN PETE (2.00) is at the right end of the weights in the 2m 6f chase and this dual Hereford winner caught a tartar in the shape of Dan Skelton’s hot-pot Clondaw Anchor at Lingfield last month.
In the 2m 6f handicap hurdle, Williams saddles ex-French gelding The Crooner with an obvious chance. He had to dig deep to get the better of The Game Is A Foot at Leicester but the runner-up was well beaten at Fontwell on Boxing Day. Preference is for MAN OF PLENTY (2.35). Now nearing the veteran stage, Man Of Plenty has a string of duck eggs against his name. However, he has been tackling much stronger rivals and the handicapper has dropped Man Of Plenty 5lb on the back of his sixth to Goodbye Dancer at Cheltenham.
Dai Walters appears to have bought a nice type in Ffos Las bumper winner MARIO DE PAIL (1.25) and trainer Sam Thomas sends his four-year-old north on hurdles debut. The grey may have the measure of Rose Dobbin’s Trooper Turnbull, a promising bumper second at Newcastle last month, splitting Tom Lacey’s Unohu and the Paul Nicholls-trained Jeremy Pass. The form was let down slightly at Chepstow two days ago when Jeremy’s Pass could manage only fifth place. Nick Alexander’s Dubai Days is bred to be pretty smart and shaped with plenty of encouragement over hurdles last time out.
The concluding event is a 3m 2f handicap chase for amateur riders and Nick Alexander’s recent Sedgefield scorer CALIVIGNY (3.10) is taken to defy a 5lb rise. Stamina is the forte of main rival Total Asset, a pound lower than when staying on into third in the four-mile Borders National here earlier in the month. She may be vulnerable to the speedier Calivigny, especially if the top weight is gifted a soft lead.