Kelso’s Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National at 1.50pm on Sunday afternoon is all about stamina as the four-mile marathon will be run on soft ground and the horse who makes plenty of appeal off a low weight is the Sandy Thompson-trained Neptune Equester.
13th in the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National when in the care of Brian Ellison off a mark of 137 the trip should pose no problems for the eleven-year-old who now races off a handy rating of 113.
The son of Sovereign Waters may not have troubled the judge since winning over hurdles at Wetherby last March but has posted several creditable efforts including when second to Lie Forrit over the course back in March with the Sue Smith-trained Lackamon a half length back in third who will renew rivalry with 3lb claimer Derek Fox’s mount on 7lb worse terms on this occasion.
Neptune Equester finished runner-up at Kelso twice more in May before having his seasonal reappearance once again at the Borders track when third to Carlito Brigante and Gleann Ne Ndochais in October.
Forth to the progressive Samstown on his most recent start, the consistent gelding should relish tomorrow’s conditions and with just 10st 4lb (inc. riders allowance) on his back is the one to beat at the 8/1 available with Ladbrokes. Union Jack Dycy and Virtuel Doudon represent the southern stables of Venetia Williams and David Pipe respectively but are priced on their connections rather than what they have achieved leaving Sun Cloud as the one most likely to trouble the selection.
In fine form last season, Malcolm Jefferson’s inmate should improve significantly for his first run of the current campaign, but may struggle to concede lumps of weight to Neptune Equester in the testing conditions.