Cheltenham’s loss is Kelso’s gain.
To be fair, there’s probably enough going on at Prestbury Park the week after next for the absence of a fast improving young staying chaser to be shrugged off, but even so Kelso will be delighted to have attracted a horse of the calibre of Kim Bailey’s 154-rated Harry Topper for their listed Premier Chase (4.15pm, Saturday).
A perfect three from three since sent over fences, this son of Sir Harry Lewis has made it all look pretty easy so far; seeing off RSA possible Rocky Creek at Exeter in October, then Irish Arkle winner Benefficient at Newbury in November, followed by an impressive 12 length romp back at Exeter last month.
The temptation to take up his sole Festival entry in 12 days time in the four mile National Hunt Chase must have been enormous, but instead Bailey opts to come and possibly use this race as a stepping stone to Aintree next month.
A strong stayer in great form, he jumps fences like a natural, is versatile where ground is concerned, and benefits from the services Timmy Murphy (who won on him at Newbury) on board.
There’s some strong opposition, but Bold Sir Brian (also on 154) has to prove he can overcome a crashing fall at Cheltenham last time out, plus Lucinda Russell’s horses have been unusually quiet of late, while 12-year-old Ballabriggs will forever be remembered for his 2011 Grand National win, but perhaps he’ll struggle to serve it up to a horse half his age.
With that in mind the 11/8 with Betfred about Harry Topper making it a perfect four from four makes plenty of appeal.
Earlier in the day at the borders track it’s likely we’ll be seeing Mick Easterby’s Shadows Lengthen grace the winners’ enclosure for the second time in 50 days, with this unexposed chaser poised to add to his impressive January win at Sedgefield in the 2m 1f Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ Chase (2.30pm).
An emphatic display last time out, beating Granville Island and Highway Code, had connections considering a tilt at the Grand Annual, but they’ve been patient and should be rewarded with a second success over fences.
If they’d made more use of him on his chasing debut at Catterick he surely would’ve won (finished third in a three way finish after being held up), but they’ll have taken plenty of heart from getting the job done with a bit to spare last time out, and in-form Jake Greenall (won on Arctic Ben at Newbury on Friday) can guide him home in front on this occasion.
Saturday’s best bets at Kelso:
2.30 – Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ Chase – 3 Shadows Lengthen (win)
4.15 – Totepool Mobile Premier Chase – 2 Harry Topper (win) @ 11/8 (Betfred)Posted 5 years, 4 months ago