Just the ten line up for this Class 4 handicap chase over 3m2f in the second race at Kelso today with £6,498 available to the winner. Read on for our expert’s thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: BLUE KASCADE has been in grand form recently landing back to back wins in his last two and he is entitled to maximum respect upped in trip in his bid for a hat-trick. That being said he has another penalty to contend with and he could be vulnerable to one off a lower mark, chiefly ITSTIMEFORAPINT. He was a good winner of a marathon race at Hexham in the Spring over 4m and despite being slightly out of the weights last time over the same 4m trip here, he ran well to finish third. He is a big player from the same mark and dropped significantly in trip. He can get his nose in front in this with conditions to suit. Scotswell is also set for a big run and can chase them home.
1 Island Heights – Back to back winner of handicap hurdles last term after returning from a six month break but no such luck this time around, finishing well beaten on his three starts so far including when only sixth of 10 at Carlisle (Soft) over 3m1f. Lower mark for this than his last win at Haydock last November but hard to see him getting involved despite the drop in grade on recent form.
2 Blue Kascade – Won a handicap at Wetherby (Good) over 2m7f on his second start over fences this term, winning that race for the second year in a row, and did it nicely from the front to win by five lengths. Put up 8lb for that win but defied that mark to produce a career best when following up at Musselburgh (Good) over the same trip last month by the same distance. No reason why he shouldn’t go well again but up a further 9lb today, he may just be vulnerable for win purposes. Place claims.
3 Scotswell – C&D winner in May when the 10/3 favourite, keeping on well to score by 3 ¼ lengths (Blue Kascade in fifth) and only fair runs since. Returned from a break to finish runner up over C&D on his first start this term behind One For Arthur who has subsequently run well in a Grade 3 at Aintree. A faller next time out at this track and probably found the ground too testing when only mid-division at Carlisle (Soft) seventeen days ago, jumping out to the left on a number of occasions. Return to this track a plus and conditions should be fine for him. Place claims if getting it right today.
4 Itstimeforapint – Just saw out the 4m at Hexham (Heavy) in March at this level and ran well after a two month break to finish second over the same trip on this track twenty four days ago when out of the handicap by 5lb. First time trying this trip (has won over shorter and further) and remains on the same mark for this race. Trip/conditions fine and dangerous to discount over this far in receipt of weight from the likely market principals. Big player.
5 So Satisfied – Just held on to win at Ayr (Good/Soft) in October over 2m4f from a 4lb higher mark. Last of six over further returned to that track at the start of this month and well beaten when tried over further still at Musselburgh (Good) fifteen days ago. Has a lot to prove over a longer trip again today and has cheek-pieces on for the first time. Hard to fancy up against proven performers at this trip.
6 Swing Hard – Won a couple of handicaps at this level over 2m4f at Carlisle earlier this Spring on deep ground. Respectable in defeat on his next two starts finishing third of 7 on both occasions but pulled up on his first start this term at Hexham (Heavy) over 2m6f. Worrying he didn’t cope with the ground on that occasion given he is a mud lover usually and significantly up in trip today. Best watched for now unless the market speaks in his favour.
7 Jonny Eager – Two time winner in heavy ground including when a runaway winner by twenty lengths at Carlisle in February over 3m. Looked in need of the run when only sixth of 10 behind the progressive Nortonthorpelegend at Sedgefield (Soft) last month over today’s trip. Wears a first time visor today but worrying he didn’t appear to handle the ground last time and more expected of him in this but easy to rule out for now until he begins to show his true self.
8 Total Assets – Won this race last year in good style on heavy ground, staying on well to see the race out by 2 ½ lengths and 3lb lower than that last winning mark today. Been pulled up in four starts since then but ran his best for a while when fourth of 10 behind Nortonthorpelegend at Sedgefield (Soft) last month (Johnny Eager in sixth). Still well beaten that day and looks likely to struggle again.
9 Lowanbehold – Landed a couple of races at this level on this track earlier this Spring but has disappointed in six runs since. 7lb lower for this than his last win but pulled up on his only start at 3m1f and longer trip today doesn’t temper enthusiasm for win purposes. Looks held by a few of these despite his sliding mark.
10 Doubledisdoubledat – Course winner two years ago and lightly raced since then. Fair runs in two starts this term and backed into favouritism last time at Newcastle (Soft) over 2m4f, but never looked happy on the ground and looked well beaten after making a mistake three out. Better ground today should suit and needs to prove he gets this trip but claims on his best form.