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Monday, 24th Jan 2022

Mercian raiders plunder the borders in long distance strikes

According to the script of Braveheart, Edward “Longshanks” I had no trepidation about crossing the border into Scotland and subduing the Scots on their own turf. I’m less than convinced that he was so full of self-confidence in reality, as Scotland has always been a harsh milieu in which to win. To say the Scots are tribal is an understatement.

Is it still the same today I asked myself as I saw runners from deepest Worcestershire making the long trek to the lowlands of Ayr, barely inside the Scottish border. This is a racecourse where the likes of Lucinda Russell, Nicky Richards (himself a Sassenach from Penrith) and the outlier Donald McCain (at least he has the right name) rule the roost. Not much room for a soft southerner.

And yet the afternoon turned out well enough. Two favourites obliged for the counties known for apples and rivers, when Michael Scudamore opened the programme with a pillar to post victory for smart novice hurdler Lebowski under Richard Patrick. The six year old, who ran creditably for Adrian Wintle last season, never saw another horse in a head-in-chest victory in which he was never seriously challenged. The 3l winning distance is not a true reflection of his authority over the other 11 runners. Expect to see Lebowski in more exalted company soon.

Michael Scudamore, successful today at Ayr
Michael Scudamore, successful today at Ayr

Scudamore Jnr might have driven away from Ayr with a double were it not for Sam Drinkwater a few miles eastward. The 3m Join RacingTV Limited Novices Handicap Chase was run in a different manner, but Scudamore’s Cadeyrn was never going to reel in French-bred Buzz de Turcoing, whose ears were flapping back and forth as he jumped the last two, indicating the horse thought quite enough effort had been made to date. Drinkwater’s last two runners have been winners.

Doubles apiece for Russell and Richards maintained business as usual at the most westerly course in Scotland, although as Peter Scudamore is Lucinda Russell’s partner, it turned out a pretty good day for the Scudamore family all told.

Meantime, Caroline Robinson has been flying the flag for the Albrighton in the border country, after a long trip to Hexham for the Border Hunt Point-to-Point paid off when daughter Immy scooped the Conditions race on Sunday’s card by 7l with Ryan’s Fancy.

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