sport

Henderson considering Kelso

A couple of Nicky Henderson's stars light up the entries for Kelso on Thursday with My Tent Or Yours and Long Run engaged.

Dual King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run is entered in the new Ivan Straker Memorial Chase.

Straker is best remembered in racing circles both as a successful owner but also as the man who helped save the Grand National with his company, Seagram.

Henderson had close links with Straker and trained The Tsarevich to finish second in the 1987 Grand National, with Straker collapsing from a heart attack in the excitement.

Straker also owned top-class staying chaser Paris Pike, who won the 2000 Scottish National and was favourite for Aintree two years later only to fall at the first fence.

He died in May this year.

Long Run's owner Robert Waley-Cohen said the opportunity to commemorate Straker was a factor in the entry.

He explained: "Like everyone else we are desperately looking for some half-decent ground.

"Whether we go we'll have to see, we'll see what everybody else is up to. If he doesn't run there we'll wait for Kempton on February 22.

"It's a 20,000 Class Two, so we'll have all the penalties to carry.

"We didn't even enter him for the Denman this week, it will be a real slog at Newbury.

"The fact this is run in memory of Ivan Streaker was in the back of both myself and Nicky's mind when we made the entry."

Also entered is Kelso specialist Knockara Beau, who famously became the first horse to beat Big Buck's over hurdles in 19 races when triumphing in the Cleeve Hurdle.

His trainer George Charlton was taken aback by the quality of entries.

"I had a quick glance and couldn't believe it when I saw Long Run," said Charlton.

"I don't know why but I didn't expect anything like that - I should have done as it is a handy race just before Cheltenham.

"It fits in nicely for us, anyway, so we'll be running.

"He loves it there, he's won five times, and I've never had him so well.

"If everything goes to plan we'll go on to the Gold Cup after this."

David Pipe's Our Father, Sue Smith's Vintage Star and Henderson's Hadrian's Approach have also been entered.

Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle winner My Tent Or Yours is one of 14 entries in the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle, along with stablemate Rolling Star who is due to run at Newbury on Saturday.

Henderson said: "He (My Tent Or Yours) worked this morning, but I don't know where he is going to go. I've put him in the Morebattle along with anything else I could find.

"If Newbury was off I would be tempted to go there with Rolling Star."

Melodic Rendezvous has also been entered by Jeremy Scott but is said to be an unlikely runner.

Having re-entered the Champion Hurdle equation when winning well at Haydock last month Scott is favouring a return to Wincanton next weekend for the Kingwell Hurdle.

"Hopefully he'll be running at Wincanton, I put him in at Kelso really just in case Wincanton was in danger of being called off," said Scott.

"I just decided not to go for the Betfair Hurdle because I didn't want the guts ripped out of him five weeks before Cheltenham."

Clerk of the course Hazel Peplinski is thrilled with the entries.

She said: "I was really pleased to see not only My Tent Or Yours entered for the Morebattle but Long Run and Knockara Beau, who is a real Kelso favourite, in the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase.

"It's just after the weights for the National come out so hopefully it can be a bit of a trial for Aintree.

"Nicky trained The Tsarevich for Major Straker, who was so important both to Kelso and of course to jump racing.

"It's a brand new race and I'm hoping the combination of good prize-money and the opportunity to race on decent ground will lead to a great day.

"It's unusual as it has been so much drier in the north than the south and lots of southern trainers are desperate for the opportunity to run.

"It's currently soft, good to soft in places. There's some rain forecast for Saturday but not much."