Get ready for the Russell ‘Rustler!’

Rowdy Rustler, from the very much in-form Scottish yard of Lucinda Russell, is a serious rival to Kavanaghs Cross in the NH Auction Novices’ Hurdle over two miles of ‘good to soft’ Kelso today, when there are many pointers to his obvious chance.

One of them is an encouraging fifth (of 13!) to Bill Baxter over two and a half miles of Ayr eighteen days ago; only a length or so ahead of the Getaway gelding was stable companion Readystreadybeau, a 7/1 winning nap for this column last Wednesday!

Probability is Rowdy Rustler, again mount of stable jockey Derek Fox, didn’t quite get home and coming back half a mile in trip on the stiff Borders’ circuit should be ideal; he’s lightly-raced and won a point-to-point in Ireland before being purchased by John R Adam and sent to Lucinda who runs her operation with one-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore, when with Martin Pipe, and father of 39-year-old Tom Scudamore.

On personal time-figures Rowdy Rustler needs to improve a few pounds to beat consistent, hitherto luckless Kavanaghs Cross but, as ever, one of three places is the ultimate objective and likelihood; if both hit anything like their time-handicap marks others will be hard-pressed to cope with them.

Later stable companion West End Lady is fancied to supplement Hexham October gains in an eight-runner Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles, mount of Stephen Mulqueen who rode Readysteadybeau to victory.

West End Lady stormed home to win by four lengths but then improved her mark by ten pounds over the same course and distance five weeks later; when mares strike form they are devastating and figure among ‘best bets’ in my book.

Spice is added to this race with Gordon Elliott journeying Fairyhouse winner Motown Maggie over from Ireland but, once again, at good odds West End Lady is a confident each-way selection for either a trixie or patent.

Running in tandem will be ‘good’ ground Huntingdon where Peejaybee attempts to complete a hat-trick under James Bowen in the opening Novices’ Hurdle over two miles; what beats Richard Spencer’s charge will win but it’s a cracking race from which I’d expect plenty of future winners.

One bone of contention through the years has been ‘non-triers’ and having been angered somewhat in the last dew days by one particular unplaced fancy I’ve entered said beast in my ‘next time’ book at the top of the page!

You will know when!

Selections, Kelso, 12.03 Rowdy Rustler (e.w); 2.10 West End Lady (e.w); Huntingdon, 12.17 Peejaybee (e.w).

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019