2.05pm Kelso Tips & Betting Preview 25/03/2017

Just the six runnings of this race so far and nothing much to go on statistically with no repeat trainers or jockeys and winners from 7/2 joint favourite up to 12/1. This year’s renewal has a small field sadly, though it seems to make sense to start with top weight Cup Final (5/1) who will have to carry eleven stone twelve in the famous J P McManus colours but may well be good enough to do so. In training with Ben Haslam, this will be first run for the trainer having moved from Nicky Henderson late last month but the yard are more than capable of turning them out ready to run for their lives and this one will be no exception. Two runs so far this season saw a short head win in a valuable Punchestown handicap over three miles before a tenth of eleven over three and a quarter miles last time out at Musselburgh, making the switch to two miles here all the more intriguing. Although all three career victories have been over three miles or more, he did post a solid second to very useful yardstick Irving over this trip as a novice back in 2013 and has clearly had issues with just the eight runs since, and although he has little chance on the form book at this trip he still catches the eye as a horse of interest, and could well be worth an interest this afternoon.

Basford Green trainer Jennie Candlish has her horses on fire at present with three winners from just six runners in the last two weeks and when they are hot like that all the stable’s runners are worthy of a second look. In this case that means the consistent Sleepy Haven (6/1) who has finished in the first four home in five of his last six races with a fourth to Midnight Maestro at Stratford last time out, beaten seven lengths at the line. He did look a little one paced that day and remains on the same handicap mark this afternoon but given a fast run race as expected here he seems sure to be running on through beaten horses at the death an could well challenge for a place while his stable are at the top of their game.

Poor Pauline Robson hasn’t had a winner at all in the last two weeks but she has only had four runners from her Northumberland base and in Teo Vivo (2/1) she looks to have one with a serious chance of breaking her short losing run. Brian Hughes will ride the ten-year-old who has won his last two races at Kelso (when beating Sleepy Haven), and more recently by three lengths at Newcastle, both on heavy going. Up another three pounds for that he will need a career best to score again this afternoon but he may not get the heavy ground he needs to be seen at his best this afternoon. That said, his jockey is riding as well as anyone lately with a 23% strike rate and eleven winners in the last two weeks, and if the rains fall between now and race time he could well go close to causing a bit of an upset.

Looking for in form options once again and Brunswick Royal (2/1) fits the bill after reverting to hurdles last time out to win by a neck over two and a half miles on heavy going at Ayr. Sent to the from two hurdles out he had enough left in the tank to repel all challengers and is interesting this afternoon off a mark just the two pounds higher now he could be interesting. The trainer’s husband reported after the race that “Runswick Royal was a good horse but then got a leg injury and was off for a while. We discovered that he had a kissing spine after his comeback run at Musselburgh last month. It appears that he’s over his problems now and he will be even better on better ground” which is even better with faster (soft) ground currently predicted, and if he is over his issues he has to be seen as a serious option now.

Meadow croft Boy (6/1) rounds off all five of the declared runners but looks outclassed having been well beaten in fifth place in both starts this season and a long way behind Teo Vivo on both occasions. Although seven pounds better off with the winner on their last efforts he was sixteen lengths behind that day and looks to have his work cut out to get involved this afternoon.;

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