Kelso's richest day’s racing has attracted some interesting runners to the Scottish Borders on Saturday with the most eye-catching being Paul Nicholls’ LE PREZIEN in the Grade Two Premier Kelso Hurdle (3.15pm).
This is the first time that Nicholls has fielded a runner in this race and he doesn’t send his horses to Kelso for a canter. In fact, the Somerset-based handler has only sent three there all season and two have ended up in the winners’ enclosure.
The champion trainer is starting to hit good form too. He saddled 21 winners in February and boasts an impressive 50 per cent strike-rate in March so far.
Le Prezien brings strong form of his own to the table. He was narrowly beaten by the now Cheltenham-bound It’safreebee in Grade Two company at Haydock last time. The five-year-old is by the same sire, Blue Bresil, as high-class stayer and stablemate Ibis Du Rheu, so the step up in trip should suit.
Nicholls has a couple of hopefuls in tomorrow’s Grimthorpe Chase (3:45pm) at Doncaster too. Both Wonderful Charm and Just A Par have some strong form in the book but, in all honesty, their best days may be behind them and the handicapper has now got a firm grip on the pair.
THE LAST SAMURAI hasn’t been seen since landing a valuable handicap at Kempton Park over Christmas. Trainer Kim Bailey has protected his mark since in order to secure a competitive weight in the Grand National, and now the weights have been unveiled, he’s worth supporting for Saturday's Grimthorpe at 9/2 with Betway.
Le Prezien, 3.15pm, Kelso
The Last Samurai, 3.45pm, Doncaster