MORTIMERS Cross landed a gutsy success in the John Smith’s Scottish Borders National to give amateur Paul John a big-race winner on his first visit to Kelso.
The 11-year-old, owned and trained by Shropshire permit-holder John Needham, made a lot of the running on his way to a one-length strike over Captain Americo.
John said afterwards: “That’s one winner from one ride here and I made the right decision, as I could have ridden at a point to point instead. The dream is one day to turn professional, but this old horse has given me a terrific ride and he is so game.”
Ludlow-based Needham added: “He’s a thoroughly genuine old horse and he never knows when he’s beaten. I would love him to get into the Grand National one day, but his rating needs to go up a fair bit.”
Borders jockey Ryan Mania enjoyed a 59-1 double courtesy of Douglas Julian and Lucematic, while Melrose owner Geoff Adam saw his colours carried to victory by Lucinda Russell-trained Rhymers Ha’ in the two-mile handicap hurdle.
Rival D’Estruval, trained by Pauline Robson, impressed in the Scotty Brand Paris Pike Novices’ Chase under Richie McGrath. East Lothian owner Ray Green said: “He is best fresh, so he won’t run again before the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March.”
The next meeting at Kelso is the Final Fling December Meeting on Saturday December 29.