Shocks aplenty at Kelso
A review of Sunday's meeting at Kelso, where Seemorelights won at 66/1 but amateur Dougie Gittins was hit with a 10-day ban.
Black Thunder (seen here in his old silks) won the closing hunter chase for new connections
Seemorelights sprung a 66/1 upset for Sandy Thomson and amateur rider Ryan Nichol in the D G Pryde Ltd Novices' Hurdle at Kelso on Sunday.
The Greenlaw raider, making his debut over hurdles, beat evens favourite Red Indian by a length and a half and Thomson said: "I didn't think he should have been as big a price. He was the last lot to go through the ring at Doncaster Sales and it was my wife Quona that picked him out."
Black Thunder gave Sam Waley-Cohen his first winner at Kelso since Long Run almost three years ago, in a hunter chase in which Dougie Gittins picked up a 10-day ban for his ride on runner-up Dolatulo.
Dolatulo, making his first start for Ben Pauling, fwas beaten a length and a half as he came home well in second, but Gittins had appeared to stand up in his irons and stop riding shortly before the line as he seemingly mistook the starter's rostrum for the winning post.
The stewards took the view Gittins, who works as Pauling's media manager and was having just his third ride under Rules, was "guilty of failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing in that he failed to ride out on a horse that could possibly have been placed first".
Dolatulo's cause had not been helped by interference after the final fence, as Grand Vision lugged to his left, leaving Gittins' mount short of room as he went for a run on the rail, forcing him to switch. The officials looked into it, but were satisfied it did not involve a riding offence on the part of Grand Vision's rider.
In the feature race on the card, Irish raider Fine Rightly could finish only fourth to the Nicky Richards-trained Bernardelli in the Royal Caledonian Hunt Handicap Chase.
Stuart Crawford looked to have hand-picked a nice option for his talented chaser and for seven-eighths of the race everything was going to plan.
Crawford's brother, Ben, was in the saddle and he allowed himself several lingering looks over his shoulder as he tracked the eventual winner into the straight.
However, when he asked Fine Rightly to close the gap the testing ground took its toll and he was soon running on empty.
After looking sure to win for much of the race he was passed near the line by Spanish Fleet and De Vous A Moi, eventually finishing fourth.
Richards said of the 11/1 winner: "He's won his share, he throws the odd one in now and again but having said that he got a bit detached last time and flashed home at the death, which is why we put the blinkers back on.
"He loves good deep ground, he got in a good rhythm jumping away and he's seen it out well."
Richards initiated a double on the day courtesy of 9/4 favourite Progress Drive in the opening novice hurdle, and the Greystoke handler told Racing UK: "He's a horse who hasn't done anything wrong in his life, he's just learning his job.
"He probably got to the front quicker than was ideal, but soon as something came to him he was away again and I think he's a horse with a level of ability and we'll see how far he takes us.
"We won't be in a hurry with him, we'll get him educated for when he goes chasing."
In-form Lucinda Russell saddled another winner when 12-year-old Bescot Springs scored for the ninth time in his 68-race career in the P & G Allan Catering Handicap Hurdle.
Inverness-born Alexander Thorne was gaining his second win on the veteran and Russell said: "Horses like this are a godsend to trainers like me as all our young lads have learned to ride on him."
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