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From York to Kelso for dual code North Yorkshire trainer
Brian Ellison, busy on Knavesmire this afternoon with four runners, turns his attentions to the jumping game tomorrow at Kelso.
The Norton trainer, famed for his versatility under both codes, is set to run Ultimate, Certral, Mon Brav and Upper Lambourn at York today.
Tomorrow, though, on a Flat-free day in Britain at the height of the summer season, he will be more concerned with winning the Border Facilities Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Kelso with Mahfal, the mount of James Best.
Although nowhere near the most talented horse in Ellison’s Star Cottage yard, Mahfal went down by only a head in a selling hurdle at Ludlow ten days ago, with Best in the saddle.
He is out to seek compensation this time and, although he has a little more on his plate, is fancied to capitalise on his light weight.
The opening Matt Bookie Is Back Novices’ Hurdle is the target of Makbullet, a horse who twice ran at York in his younger days when he was trained by Howard Johnson on the Flat.
He is a confirmed jumper these days and is fast developing into a useful one. His last two visits to Kelso have been successful, his latest start producing a six-length win over Boruler, when he scarcely had to be asked a serious question. Tyneside trainer Michael Smith can place him to complete a hat-trick tomorrow. He carries the nap vote.
In the KOSB Novices’ Handicap Chase, Carters Rest is selected to gain his first success over fences.
A winner of a bumper and a hurdle, the strong-galloping grey has finished third at Sedgefield and second at Carlisle on his latest two outings, performing creditably both times.
Crowning Jewel, who found the softish ground against him here earlier in the month, can bounce back to winning form in the Reece, Ben And Jessica Coppola Novices’ Hurdle.
The Keith Reveley-trained gelding could finish only third on his latest start after underfoot conditions conspired against him, but he had previously scored handsomely at Newcastle on a sound surface. The ground should be perfect for him tomorrow.
The £12,000 John Smith’s Handicap Chase is the feature race on the card and Humbie gets the vote.
The eight-year-old was absent over the winter, because of unsuitable ground, but he returned to action in a blaze of glory earlier this month with a decisive victory in the hands of Timmy Murphy, who takes the mount again.
Humbie is set to race off a 5lb higher mark this time, but he is a horse in form and he is taken to oblige once more.
The useful Abragante (5.00), bidding to win the hunter chase for the second successive year, and the potentially useful newcomer Brady (5.30), trained by Donald McCain, are also worth noting at the Borders’ track.
2.05 Getabuzz, 2.35 Smarty Socks, 3.10 Cavalryman, 3.45 Lexi’s Hero, 4.15 Tussie Mussie (NAP), 4.50 Pea Shooter, 5.25 Invincible Hero.
Today’s other meetings: Chester, Goodwood, Haydock, Lingfield and Newbury.
2.15 Makbullet (NAP), 2.45 Carters Rest, 3.20 Crowning Jewel, 3.50 Humbie, 4.25 Mahfal, 5.00 Abragante, 5.30 Brady.
Tomorrow’s other meeting: Fakenham.