No Cross to bear at Kelso

  • By: Nick Grant
  • Last Updated: December 8 2012, 16:05 GMT

Mortimers Cross is Nick Grant's nap of the day for Sunday's meetings - he has a tip for every UK and Irish race.

Mortimers Cross: Backed for victory
Mortimers Cross: Backed for victory

CORK: 12.45 Starkie, 1.15 Road To Riches, 1.45 Realt Dubh, 2.15 Tarla, 2.45 The Book Thief, 3.15 Tyrone Tiger, 3.45 Treacy Hotels Boy

KELSO: 12.25 Blackwater King, 12.55 Saphir River, 1.25 Lucky Sunny, 1.55 Knockara Beau, 2.25 MORTIMERS CROSS (NAP), 2.55 Lucematic, 3.25 Ballybanks

LINGFIELD: 11.50 Ada Lovelace, 12.20 Pharoh Jake, 12.50 Itum, 1.20 Gunner Will, 1.50 Dewala, 2.20 Syncopate, 2.50 Hill Of Dreams, 3.20 Resplendent Alpha

PUNCHESTOWN: 12.30 Pride Ofthe Parish, 1.00 Waaheb, 1.30 Whatdreamsrmadeof, 2.00 Flemenstar, 2.30 Lord Windermere, 3.00 Caduceus, 3.30 Redundant Man

WARWICK: 12.40 In The Crowd, 1.10 Refusal, 1.40 Nozic, 2.10 Phone Home, 2.40 Plum Pudding, 3.10 Earcomesthedream, 3.40 Fortyscore

DOUBLE: Mortimers Cross and Lucematic

Heavy ground and four miles will make sure the John Smith's Scottish Borders National is not for the faint-hearted at Kelso, where Mortimers Cross fits the bill.

John Needham's doughty stayer has course form and has seen out three miles well at Uttoxeter in the past, where stamina really can be at a premium when the mud is flying.

Needham's appointment of a 7lb claimer in the saddle looks a shrewd move to ease the burden in what strikes as just an average renewal.

Proven liking for the conditions this weekend can only be a plus and it is rare the evergreen 11-year-old puts in a bad run.

A return to fences in the Scotty Brand Paris Pike Novices' Chase can see Saphir River restore his reputation.

The Lucinda Russell-trained grey looked very good indeed when sluicing up on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter last month, on what was his first start for the yard.

Connections took their chance afterwards in the valuable 'Fixed Brush' Hurdle at Haydock but he never took to it, as is the case with some horses, and a line can be put through the run.

Lots of cut in the ground suits him ideally and he remains an exciting prospect for a stable going places.

Lucematic could make up into a useful prospect for Chris Grant this season and will hopefully play a leading role in the Kevin Oliver Christmas Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Useful in three bumper starts, she made the long journey down from Grant's Durham base to contest what turned out to be a hot Listed event at Sandown in March, giving an indication to the regard in which she is held.

Although not troubling the principals, she was not disgraced and has been found a good opportunity on ground the six-year-old should appreciate.

Phone Home made a pleasing British debut at Folkestone last month and deserves support in the Betfred Still Treble Odds On Lucky15 Maiden Hurdle at Warwick.

As, too, should recent Wolverhampton runner-up Hill Of Dreams, who looks a decent option in the £32 Bonus At Handicap at Lingfield.

A top-drawer John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown sees two of Ireland's big chasing hopes for this year and beyond clash in the shape of Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar.

With a run under his belt, preference is just for the Peter Casey-trained Flemenstar, who will be better suited by the two-and-a-half-mile trip on this occasion.

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