A field of eight go to post for the fifth race of the day at Kelso on Monday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Chain Of Beacons won well at Newcastle on Saturday in similar conditions and is entitled to be bang there if not feeling the effects, but this can go to ROXYFET. The seven year old is now 12lb below his last winning mark and has been running well of late, finshing a close second at Wetherby on his latest start behind Chestnut Ben, who ran well yesterday in a competitive heat at Market Rasen. Conditions are fine and Finian O’Toole takes a further 5lb off his back, so if he travels like he did at Wetherby on his latest start he should take all the beating for Micky Hammond. Lucinda Russell’s yard are on a high after their Grand National win and Superior Command can fill out the final place returned to fences.
1 TRUST THOMAS – Now 5lb below his last winning mark, taking a victory at Hexham in May 2016 in similar conditions but has rarely gone close since that narrow victory. He has posted two respectable efforts the last twice, finishing third of three at Ayr in March though he was only beaten around eight lengths. Back down in class and does have conditions to suit with the handicapper giving him a chance off 3lb lower, but on balance he’s perhaps best watched again as he rarely goes close these days.
2 SUPERIOR COMMAND – Has won over C&D off a 4lb lower mark in March 2016 and has been far from disgraced over hurdles on two of his last three runs,finishing second at Musselburgh on his penultimate start in February. He wasn’t perhaps as good when well beaten over the same C&D a month later when his jumping let him down and he’s very interesting now back over the larger obstacles. Conditions are to suit and his chasing mark is only 3lb higher than his hurdling mark, so he likely has more to give in this discipline. Lucinda Russell’s yard is on an all time high after their National victory with the winning rider Derek Fox taking the ride, so he looks booked to go close and is respected.
3 VODKA WELLS – Only one win from eleven starts over fences, with that win coming way back in June 2015 on chasing debut at Hexham in similar conditions. He has been far from his best the last twice over hurdles, well beaten at Wetherby when last seen and needs the switch back to fences to have a drastic effect if he’s to take a prominent role in this. Conditions are to suit and his chasing mark is the same as his hurdling mark, which suggests he should have more to give in this discipline, but his recent form has to be of big concern. Possible place claims at his best, but he’s not the most consistent and is hard to trust.
4 CHAIN OF BEACONS – Versatile sort who can stay up to three miles who wasn’t fazed by the drop in trip at Newcastle on Saturday when gaining his first chasing victory at the seventh attempt (2m, Good). He turns out very quickly as connections aim to strike while the iron is hot, but there has to be some concern that this could come all too soon for Sandy Thomson’s eight year old. Conditions are to suit and he is likely to go close if fitness isn’t a concern, but he certainly can be taken on today with all things considered.
5 SKY FULL OF STARS – In good form in both disciplines of late, winning over hurdles at Ayr in February before quickly following up over fences at Catterick a week later (1m 7f, Soft). His latest start was cut short when falling at the second fence in the race won by Chain Of Beacon’s on Saturday at Newcastle, so he does have a point to prove now. He has mainly been kept away from better ground in his career which is another query and others rate as much more solid alternatives, especially as James Ewart’s yard is hitting a dry patch at present.
6 ROXYFET – Seven year old who is now 12lb below his last winning mark, showing signs that he is coming nicely to the boil at present. He ran a great race to finish third at Newcastle on his penultimate start when coming fast and too late on, building upon that effort off today’s mark when narrowly denied by Chestnut Ben at Wetherby two weeks ago. That rival ran a good race in a competitive looking race at Market Rasen yesterday and he looks set for another big run with Finian O’Toole taking off a further 5lb. Conditions are to suit and he looks likely to take this contest for Micky Hammond, who has had two winners of late.
7 WELCOME BEN – Last win came back in September 2015 and he is yet to really threaten in any runs since, with most of his efforts moderate at best. He showed some signs of encouragment two starts ago over C&D when third in December, but he was still beaten a long way and failed to back it up when pulling up at Newcastle in January. Now 10lb below his last winning mark with conditions to suit but others make far more appeal. Best watched.
8 CLAN CHIEF – A record of two wins from nineteen starts under rules immediately raises some doubts, as does the fact he is now zero from nine over fences. His only wins have come in heavy conditions, taking both a bumper and a hurdling race as his only two wins, with the latest of those coming in December 2015. On the best of his hurdling form he now incredibly well handicapped, with his chasing mark 21lb lower than his hurdling one, but he’s shown little over fences to suggest he’s going to be winning a chase in the near future. He pulled up at Sedgefield when last seen in February after a bad blunder three from home and others make far more appeal.