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Kelso – Report 4th March 2023

Gordon Brown – Race Reporter

Gordon has a wealth of experience of racing through his background in the written and broadcast media. His current principle role is reporting and supporting the scene in Scotland on Racing TV and relaying the latest news with Scottish angles.

Benson, carrying the colours of Tayside businessman Jimmy Fyffe, is chasing a £100,000 bonus at Cheltenham after he landed the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.

Trained by Sandy Thomson, he is the first Scottish winner since Alistair Whillans’ Brave Vision won the race in 2007 before it became a handicap.

Sent off at 11/1, Benson was brought with a perfectly timed challenge by Ryan Mania to beat top-weight Colonel Mustard by two lengths.

Thompson, who operates just a few miles from the track, said: “ He’s in both the conditionals handicap hurdle and Coral Cup but I’d be favouring the latter as he’s a horse that needs strong handling.

“He’s done very well since coming to the yard and this is the second decent prize he has won – the bonus at Cheltenham would just be the icing on the cake.”

Fyffe added: “I own him with my mate Scott who picked him up for just £7,000 last May and he’s turned out to be a very shrewd buy. It’s been great day to win such a big race in Scotland with one of our horses.”

Thomson and Mania doubled up, at odds of 59-1, when bagging the Listed Premier Chase with Empire Steel, who mugged leading Grand National fancy close Le Milos close home.

“His owner Alan Wight rides him out at home and he’s been a tricky horse in the past – one day here he wouldn’t even go down to the start.”

Lucinda Russell took the final race on Kelso’s richest raceday with Derek Fox-ridden Bollingerandkrug.