Kelso reappearance could determine Corach campaign

Lucinda Russell expects to have a clearer idea of what the rest of the season has in store for her Grand National hero Corach Rambler after he makes his reappearance at Kelso on Saturday.

Having already claimed the world’s most famous steeplechase with One For Arthur in 2017, Russell enjoyed a second taste of Aintree success in April as Corach Rambler, also a dual Cheltenham Festival winner following back-to-back victories in the Ultima Handicap Chase, galloped to National glory.

A 13lb rise in the weights means the nine-year-old kicks off the new campaign with a lofty mark of 159, potentially putting him in the realms of being a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender.

However, with connections having decided against a weekend trip back to the Cotswolds, first on Corach Rambler’s agenda is Kelso’s Edinburgh Gin Chase, in which he must concede upwards of a stone in weight to his five rivals.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Lucinda Russell with Corach Rambler
Lucinda Russell with Corach Rambler (Steve Welsh/PA)

“We had the choice between two races, but he was giving a lot of weight away at Cheltenham and this is a limited handicap,” said Russell.

“He owes us absolutely nothing and we’re delighted to get him back on the track. He seems in fantastic form, he loves being in training and loves his racing, so let’s hope he runs a big race at Kelso.

“It’s the start of the season and I think with a lot of these horses that we’re running just now, how they run now will dictate what we do for the rest of the year with them.

“At this time last year we hadn’t even thought of the Grand National with Corach Rambler and he ended up winning it, so let’s just see he how he performs and that will give us an idea what we do next.”

Derek Fox and Lucinda Russell celebrate Corach Rambler's National win
Derek Fox and Lucinda Russell celebrate Corach Rambler’s National win (David Davies/The Jockey Club)

While keen to get this weekend’s comeback run out of the way before making concrete future plans, the Kinross handler admits to having one eye on a possible tilt at Grade One honours on Merseyside.

She added: “I’ve got it on my mind that we’ll go to the Betfair Chase at Haydock and try him at level weights, but we’ll know more after Saturday.”

Corach Rambler might not have things all his own way, with two fellow Scottish-trained course specialists among his opponents.

Sandy Thomson’s Empire Steel has won three of his four starts at Kelso and was only narrowly beaten on his other visit, while Nick Alexander’s Elvis Mail is a four-time winner at the track.

Fergal O’Brien saddles Highland Hunter, who makes his debut for the yard as a 10-year-old having been off the track for 630 days.

“He’s in great shape and we’re really happy with him,” said O’Brien.

“I was keen all along to go to Aintree on Sunday – I just thought veterans’ chase, it’s a no-brainer. But I spoke to Paddy (Brennan) earlier in the week, he rides him all the time and we all felt having been off the track for a long time, he could be very keen.

“In the end we thought rather than taking on 10 or 12 older horses around Aintree, with six or seven of them wanting to make the running, we’d go and have a pop round Kelso in a smaller field and just see how he goes.

“We have a lot of respect for Corach Rambler, but it’ll be a lot calmer waters at Kelso and for his first run back, that’s what we want.”

Henry Daly’s Rapper and Burrows Diamond from Sue Smith’s yard complete the line-up.

Other Recent Posts by This Author:

Your first 30 days for just £1
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.