Kelso Morebattle Hurdle Day: Expert Betting Tips

Scotland's most valuable hurdle race is nearly upon us, as the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle attracts some of the best handicappers in the business at Kelso on Saturday.

Saturday's card runs from 13:42-17:10 and includes top handicap action via the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle (14:50) plus the quality Grade 2 bet365 Premier Novices' Hurdle (14:17) and the Listed bet365 Premier Chase (15:25).

We've assessed the action across the card on Saturday at Kelso and picked out our best bets.

13:42 - bet365 Handicap Hurdle (2m5f)

Trainer Lucinda Russell has won this contest three times since 2011 and she could win the race again with SERIOUS OPERATOR, who can live up to his name. A winner at Doncaster in December, the son of Malinas finished fifth of 19 runners in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton when last seen in January, doing his best work at the death. The second, Nemean Lion, has given that form a huge boost, and the selection could be well in at the weights here off 126 with Patrick Wadge taking 3lb off.

Selection: Serious Operator

14:17 - bet365 Premier Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m2f)

Likely to be a skinny price, Jango Baie is a vulnerable sort and he might struggle to give PERSONAL AMBITION 5lb and a beating. Ben Pauling's runner beat the well fancied Nicky Henderson horse Jingko Blue on debut at Warwick in November - a horse that has won both starts since. Although he disappointed when stepping up to this grade at Sandown in December, he hated the heavy ground on the day. The selection made all when bolting up in a novices' hurdle at Doncaster in January on better ground and the ground is the key to him.

Selection: Personal Ambition

14:50 - bet365 Morebattle Hurdle (2m)

It's a huge weekend for Nicky Henderson, whose horses seem to be under a bit of a cloud at present, but UNDER CONTROL can get the yard back firing in the feature race of the day. Owned by JP McManus, this horse has some classy form in the book, splitting Ashroe Diamond and Gala Marceau in the Grade 2 Yorkshire Rose Mares' Hurdle in January. The Doctor Dino mare won a couple of good handicaps last season, and a mark of 138 might seriously underestimate her chances in this.

Selection: Under Control

15:25 - bet365 Premier Chase (Listed, 2m7½f)

Brian Hughes has a remarkable record in this race in recent times and the champion jockey will ride MINELLA DRAMA for Donald McCain. He comes with risks attached as he has run like a drain on his latest two starts, including back over hurdles last time, but the former Aintree Old Roan Chase second was only beaten seven lengths by runaway Ascot Chase winner Pic D'Orhy in the Melling Chase last April. That sort of form would make Minella Drama very difficult to beat if he can find it again.

Selection: Minella Drama

16:00 - bet365 Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (2m5½f)

Just the five runners are set to go to post for this handicap chase, but all five have a chance and the tentative vote goes to Donald McCain's GENERAL OFFICER with Brian Hughes in the saddle. The seven-year-old was given a positive ride last time at Musselburgh on Cheltenham trials weekend, but he ran in snatches and didn't give his true running, eventually a well beaten third. His second to Tahmuras on his penultimate start at Aintree reads very well as that horse went close in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton since, so he's taken to bounce back here.

Selection: General Officer

16:35 - bet365 Juvenile Hurdle (2m)

A tricky little juvenile hurdle to try to figure out but a chance is taken on Harry Derham's MOJO EGO, who is the only one of these to have won over hurdles to date. That win came at Doncaster when winning a three-runner affair, the form of which is nothing to shout about, but he sets a solid standard nonetheless.

Selection: Mojo Ego

17:10 - bet365 Handicap Chase (2m1f)

ESCAPEANDEVADE arrives here in search of a hat-trick of victories and can do so in the hands of Brian Hughes, who could have a great day at Kelso. The eight-year-old won at Sedgefield in January and followed up in good style over course and distance 21 days later. Hughes has been aboard for three of his four career victories so knows the horse very well and he looks sure to go well.

Selection: Escapeandevade

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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