Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's jumps action at Kelso.
ROAD TO GOLD (2:40) is a dual previous course winner on heavy ground and he nearly got up in the dying strides from well off the pace over slightly shorter here just nine days ago. The handicapper has bumped him up 3lb for that but he still looks well treated on his revised mark of 117, having been as high as 127. Clearly, these conditions hold no terrors for him and with today’s extra furlong and a half in his favour too, he is taken to get back to winning ways.
VOYAGE A NEW YORK (3:10) hasn’t been seen out since pulling up at Wetherby in January but the handicapper has dropped him a further 6lb since, meaning he is now 12lb lower than when winning over today’s course and distance on soft ground. Some market confidence would be encouraging given his absence and he’s not one to lump on given his overall record under Rules (2-21). However, his trainer Lucinda Russell is banging out the winners – five of her 13 runners in the last fortnight have obliged – and there are question marks over all of his rivals. UPDATE – the selection is strong in the market – 12/1 into 4/1 – so clearly a big run is expected.
Richard Johnson is here for one ride, the Tim Vaughan-trained LOOKSLIKENOWBRIAN (3:40), and it could be a winning one as the seven-year-old is on an upward curve form-wise after wins at Ffos Las and Ayr. Both of those came on heavy ground and while they were over shorter trips than today’s, he didn’t look short on stamina when chasing home Saint John Henry over 3m2f at Chepstow in October. His Wales-based trainer does well on his forays north and the stable’s record here – five winners from 12 runners (42%) in the last five seasons – is particularly encouraging. With none of his eight rivals making much appeal on recent form, this looks a good opportunity for him to land the hat-trick.
DIVINE PORT (5:10) has a 712-day absence to overcome on his first start for Sally Haynes, who is breaking new ground with her first runner at the track. However, the eight-year-old has been shown some leeway by the handicapper having been dropped to a mark of 107, which is 12lb lower than his peak rating and 6lb lower than when last successful, that coming on heavy ground at Sedgefield in the 2015-16 season. He also has a course win to his name, again on heavy ground, and that’s more than enough to make him of serious interest in what is a modest finale under Charlie Deutsch, who is here for one ride. Confidence would be increased further should the market speak in his favour. UPDATE -the selection is proving easy to back – out to 6/1 (from 100/30) – so best to keep stakes small.
All odds were correct at time of posting.