Fine Rightly looking to show his class at Kelso

Sat 14 Jan 2017

Trainer Stuart Crawford is keeping his fingers crossed stable star Fine Rightly can make the most of having his sights lowered at Kelso on Sunday, if the meeting goes ahead.

Officials have called an 8am inspection in light of the current cold snap which has left parts of the track frozen, although temperatures are expected to rise ahead of racing.

Fine Rightly is set to make the trip from Ireland after finishing third in last season's Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown before going on to win his next two starts over fences at Down Royal and Cork.

He then went on his summer break, making a promising return to action over hurdles at Navan in November, before finishing third behind the mighty Douvan in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork.

Crawford was a little disappointed with his latest performance in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, but he faces a significantly easier task in the Royal Caledonian Hunt Handicap Chase.

"All being well he'll be there, as long as the weather holds out, and it looks a good opportunity for him," said the County Antrim-based trainer.

"He struggled a wee bit in the Lexus, but we've been struggling to get his ground and struggling for options.

"Before the Lexus we had to run him against Douvan as there wasn't really anywhere else to go with him over fences and we wanted to get a run into him.

"He seems in good form, so fingers crossed for Sunday."

Fine Rightly will have to concede weight to each of his six rivals in the two-mile-five-furlong contest, although his burden is lessened by the 7lb claim of the trainer's brother, Ben.

"Ben hasn't ridden much on the track as he's struggled with his weight. He's a bit like me, he likes his food," said Crawford.

"He must have ridden 70 or 80 point-to-point winners, though, and he rides this horse at home every day, so I've no worries on that score."

Fine Rightly's opponents include the Nicky Richards-trained Bernardelli and Spanish Fleet from George Bewley's stable.

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