2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run is the headline act at Kelso, and we head north of the border for Thursday's Placepot attempt...
With a win required to progress, however, we won't risk banking on Long Run as the in-form Knockara Beau, who goes particularly well at this venue, is likely to give a good account.
13:55- Rainbow Peak was a high-class Flat performer at his best and he has certainly taken well enough to hurdling based on his comfortable success at Doncaster last month. He sets the clear standard based on that success, where he wasn't hard pressed and won with plenty in hand, and represents banker material.
14:25- Firth of the Clyde was a fair performer over hurdles but he has looked like an improved horse since going over fences, winning on his two most recent outings, and he appeals as the type to continue progressing. He was value for more than the winning margin at Market Rasen last month and remains fairly treated from his revised mark. With just seven declared it is worth adding last-time-out winner Croco Bay for a bit of insurance. Always jumping and travelling well, Croco Bay comfortably won at Catterick and has an obvious chance despite a rise in the weights.
14:55- The Panama Kid has been rejuvenated of late, winning on both outings since returning from a break, and he can complete the hat-trick here. He rattled up three wins on the bounce in 2011 but seemed out of sorts for much of last season, his mark plummeting as a consequence. Clearly back in better spirits now, The Panama Kid remains capable from this sort of handicap mark and could take a fair bit of beating. With eight horses still engaged, and three places on offer, we will rely on Malcolm Jefferson's charge.
15:25- A competitive renewal of the Morebattle Hurdle and it could be worth siding with last year's winner Duke of Navan and the improving Special Catch. Duke of Navan was a progressive novice last season, his best effort coming in this contest, but he has been found out against the top hurdlers in Grade 1 events this season. A return to calmer waters here will see him in a better light and a big performance is expected. Special Catch has proven progressive this season and was an effortless winner at Haydock last time, so merits plenty of respect and should be included in the permutation.
15:55- The 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run has looked a shadow of his former self this season but he has been found a nice opportunity here and ought to be too strong for his three rivals. With a win required to progress, however, we won't risk banking on Long Run as the in-form Knockara Beau, who goes particularly well at this venue, is likely to give a good account. Knockara Beau famously beat Big Buck's last time and will ensure that Long Run has to run to a reasonable standard to win.
16:25- Harbour Court looked something a bit out of the ordinary at Cheltenham and Stratford last year and he holds exceptional claims this afternoon; he should win with a clear round. That may not be a formality, though, as he wasn't foot perfect at Stratford and it is worth adding a bit of insurance with Captain Americo who offered plenty to work with at Wetherby and can do better with the headgear reapplied.
14:25- 1, 2
15:25- 1, 4
15:55- 3, 4
16:25- 3, 10
= 16 lines
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