Paddy The Piper extended his winning sequence to five in brave fashion in the Grade Two Tote Exacta Premier Kelso Hurdle at Kelso yesterday, but he will be giving the Cheltenham Festival a miss.
Tony Dobbin sent the Lenny Lungo-trained seven-year-old into the lead approaching the penultimate flight, but the race was far from over and in the end the 5-1 chance had to dig very deep to hold the persistent challenge of Steppes Of Gold by one and three-quarter lengths.
Lungo, who trains Paddy The Piper for Ray Green, said: “He was in both the novice hurdles at Cheltenham. He could have had a hard race there to finish sixth or seventh and then remember it next time out, so we took him out.
“We have had today’s race in mind for a long time. It is not as big a prize at it would have been at the Festival, but it is a good prize to win and we are pleased to have won it.”
Paddy The Piper is likely to stay in Scotland for the rest of the season.
“There are a couple of valuable races back here at the May meeting, but that is a long way off and we will probably run him before. There could be something at Ayr for at him at the Scottish National meeting if the ground is not firm,” added Lungo.
Chivalry, the well-backed favourite, finished only fourth, beaten nearly 21 lengths, and owner Graham Wylie said: “Graham (Lee) said he wasn’t happy with the horse at the start and that he did not like his jumping.
“We will get him checked out. There may something up with his back legs, but that is it for the season as far as hurdling is concerned and he will go chasing next season.”
Chivalry is also among the entries for the Freephone Stanleybet Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster later this month, and Wylie added: “He will run on the Flat and he could still go for the Lincoln if he is all right, but we have another for that race as well, Arcalis, who we bought out of the Lynda Ramsden stable on Tuesday.”
Le Duc is off to Cheltenham after making his long trip from Paul Nicholls’ stable at Shepton Mallet pay off when winning the Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ Chase as he pleased in the hands of Joe Tizzard.
The jockey said: “He did it well and it will have done his confidence a lot of good. He will go for the Arkle Trophy now.”
Conditional jockey Tom Siddall gained his third success of the week when bringing the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Mac Hine home in front in the Cross Keys Hotel Handicap Chase.
Siddall had Mac Hine, who carries the colours of J P McManus, travelling well throughout and having headed the long-time leader Benrajah at the final fence, he stuck to his task gamely up the hill to hold the determined challenge from King’s Bounty by a length.
Peter Monteith had made a good start to the afternoon when his Shares, ridden by Bruce Gibson, and Culcabock finished first and third in the Harrow Hotel Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle.
Monteith, who won the race last year with Alam, said: “Shares would not want the ground any quicker than it is today. When he came off the Flat he had a bit of a jar. There is not a lot for him now, but he will be a nice horse for next season.”
Selkirk-based Stuart Coltherd sent out his first winner since taking out a full licence in January when Corbie Lynn just prevailed under Graham Lee in a tight finish to the Elliott Henderson & Barnetts Catering Handicap Hurdle.
Coltherd said of his 25-1 winner: “It’s fantastic. A lot of the lads from Selkirk are here and the race is sponsored by a Selkirk firm. It could not have worked out better.”