Steve Hughes has selections from two classy Kelso chases
Much as on Saturday the racing at Kelso is of quite high quality if not quantity with good going once again. However despite the small fields the two high class handicap chases on the card are fascinating contests worthy of wagers.
Kelso 2.05: Eureu du Boulay
There might only be four runners, but chances can be given to all, with the top two classy animals, and the two at the bottom improving types worthy of this step up in grade. However Eureu de Boulay has been progressing quickly over fences and with a step up in trip.
This French import made his British debut in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, where he showed up well for a long way. He took time to acclimatise though and did not really fulfil his potential over hurdles. His first two runs in 2m chases this autumn did not promise much either.
However since then he has gained two wins last month over 2m3f at Catterick and Sedgefield and only just gave best around Catterick on New Years Day with another strong performance on quick going. Still only five I think there is scope for further progression and he makes another long trip north from his stable’s Gloucestershire base.
Kelso 3.10: Lough Derg Jewel
Having bounced back to form at Doncaster last month I like the chances of Lough Derg Jewel gaining back to back victories, much as he did at this time last season.
He won his first two chases under rules on heavy going at Ayr, but lost his way thereafter – it could be that he is a first half of the season horse that cannot maintain his form for a full campaign. His one win over hurdles was gained over the Christmas period. Therefore it might pay to stick with him whilst he is in top form, having bounced back at Doncaster last month.
What could also be significant about his three chase wins were that all were gained in small fields, with only five, three and two opponents respectively, so with only five runners today this could be the ideal field size. I have doubts over his four rivals, with Henryville more of a summer horse, Groundunderrepair potentially needing softer going, Chidswell looking in the grip of the handicapper and stamina for 3m not assured and Blue Kascade making his first start for nearly eight months.
1.5pts win – Eureu du Boulay – 2.05 Kelso – 5/2 general
1pt win – Lough Derg Jewel – 3.10 Kelso – 9/2 general