Great Britain Preview: Deere to make Mark at Kelso
With a week and a half before Cheltenham, things are a little quiet in the British racing scene. The best British jumps racing this weekend is in Scotland, where the Morebattle Hurdle offers good punting opportunities.
We will focus on that handicap while also looking at the surprisingly open Kelso Premier Novices Hurdle.
Kelso, Race 2, 8:50 a.m. ET: Morebattle Hurdle, 2 miles, open hurdlers
Morebattle Hurdle Selections
- #13 Deere Mark
- #10 Teddy Blue
- #7 Mctigue
- #1 Colonel Mustard
Morebattle Hurdle Wagers
With £100,000 up for grabs, this has attracted a very good field. A number of the horses have been running in black type jumping races and would more naturally have been seen as Cheltenham possibilities — among them the Irish four-year-old #7 Mctigue, who took on Triumph Hurdle (G1) favorite Lossiemouth at his last start.
Topweight #1 Colonel Mustard has been going over big fences this season but was a very useful hurdler last season, finishing third in the County Hurdle (G3) at Cheltenham last year behind current Champion Hurdle (G1) second-favorite State Man. Also looking to have a solid chance is #10 Teddy Blue, third in good company at Newbury last start and not badly off at the weights.
However, I’m going to support the improving #13 Deere Mark. He’s run well in all four of his hurdle races barring his second, which looks out of character. Last start he scored a nice victory at Kempton Jan. 14, and he looks to have a lot of scope left for improvement.
Kelso, Race 3, 9:25 a.m. ET: Premier Novices Hurdle (G2), 2 1/4 miles, novice hurdlers
Premier Novices Hurdle Selections
- #5 Feronily
- #9 Nemean Lion
- #3 Carcaci Castle
- #10 Snake Roll
Premier Novices Hurdle Wagers
- $10 win/$20 show: #5 Feronily
- $1 trifecta: 5, 9 with 3, 5, 9 with 3, 5, 9, 10
A nice collection of novice hurdlers lines up here. The biggest question comes over Irish visitor #5 Feronily; he’s tackling this at his first hurdle start. He has some form in National Hunt flat races, and this is a tough task first-up. But the Emmet Mullins stable is a good one, and he’s unlikely to have been brought across the Irish Sea for nothing. I’m going to trust their judgment and put him firmly in the mix.
His biggest challenger appears to be #9 Nemean Lion, third in Grade 1 company behind Tahmuras at Sandown Jan. 7 and well in the play here. Also respect #3 Carcaci Castle, whose form at Kelso is exceptional, and #10 Snake Roll, who should improve on his last run provided the going isn’t too heavy.