In a warm race for the grade the most obvious starting point is Calliope, who can run off a lower mark than when runner-up last week. Preference, however, is for the unexposed CHINWAG (nap), who looked unlucky when last seen and remains open to plenty of improvement. Major Snugfit probably has a better chance than his recent form figures suggest.
The experienced Rubytwo is likely to give her running once more and should go close, but she’s vulnerable to an improver and C’EST LE BONHEUR fits the bill on that score. The selection ought to build on the form of his hurdling debut and top course rider Brian Hughes is an encouraging jockey booking.
There was a fair bit to like about the wins by Lovely Schtuff and KIRUNA PEAK last time. The former made all at Perth but may not be quite as well suited to this shorter trip as the Fergal O’Brien-trained mare, who gets the vote. The Road Home can’t be ruled out but his patchy record tempers confidence, while Cool Country and An Fear Ciuin are others of interest.
An intriguing, competitive and good-quality handicap. Top weight Chapmanshype is much respected despite a 10lb rise, while Newtown Boy shaped nicely at Perth last time and should be involved in the finish. Tight Call enhanced his good record on a sound surface by winning at Southwell three weeks ago and ought to be thereabouts again but, on 5lb better terms with him, SKIDDAW VALLEYS is taken to come out on top this time.
This is tricky, with contenders boasting good recent form decidedly thin on the ground. An exception is Havana Hermano, who perked up for cheekpieces and positive tactics at Uttoxeter. He could well follow up but a chance is taken that MONSIEUR CO is revitalised under a different set of circumstances than of late. Cool Mix has a good record here and is dangerous after a breathing operation.
A weak contest in which the unexposed PETITIONER is taken to come good returning to hurdles after some respectable recent efforts on the Flat. Dubai Outlaw is respected but it is hard to be confident that he can back up last month’s win. Old Jewry and Kisumu should be competitive.
With plenty of these having their share of quirks, it’s difficult to form a strong opinion as to the likely outcome. Raecius Felix should prove capable of winning races over fences for Rebecca Menzies and could appreciate the projected sound racing surface. However, granted a clear round of fencing (which isn’t a given) the suggestion is FRESH NEW DAWN. Olly Murphy has a reasonable record at Kelso (3-12; 25%) and his charge was in the process of making solid late headway when hampered at Perth last time.
The safest option is ALL CLENCHED UP after a pleasing debut at Fontwell, but the newcomer Quiet Pride needs monitoring closely in the betting. The experienced She’s A Dancer has each-way claims.
The Racing Post’s tips for Kelso on Wednesday
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