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Kelso – Preview 16th January 2022

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.

Big River is out to extend his remarkable course record in the £15,000 Chairman’s Cup Handicap Chase at Kelso on Sunday.

Trained by Lucinda Russell, he doesn’t produce his best form anywhere else and he gained his seventh victory at the track in the Scottish Borders National early last month.

In ten appearances at his favourite venue, he has also finished second twice and was brought down when travelling strongly in the 2019 Borders National.

Miss Russell said: “He just seems to relish that uphill finish and to win the Borders National was particularly satisfying as that was his aim for the first half of the season.“He carries the distinctive colours of Debs Thomson’s Two Black Labs and Kelso certainly know the way to a labrador’s heart as part of the winning prize were two tins of dog food!”

Big River clashes again with Mark Walford-trained Cash To Ash, who was two and a three-quarter lengths back in second place in the Borders National and is partnered by Hawick jockey Jamie Hamilton.

The other feature race is a competitive Class 3 handicap hurdle and Nick Alexander-trained Elvis Mail bids for more Kelso success under a big weight.

A three-time course scorer, he also produced a fine effort when a close third in the Grade 2 Premier Novices’ Hurdle three years ago.

One of the classiest horses on display is impressive unbeaten timber-topper Soft Risk in the 2m novices’ hurdle.

Trained by Nicky Richards, he barely came off the bridle over course and distance last month and is reportedly set for a crack at Graded company shortly.