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Nuts Well surprises Kelso rivals with Premier Chase success

Nuts Well continued Ann and Ian Hamilton’s amazing season with a popular victory in the bet365 Premier Chase at Kelso.

The Northumberland-based husband and wife team have sent just six individual horses to the races this season, but between them they have now managed 12 victories.

The undoubted star of the string is Tommy’s Oscar, who in less than a fortnight’s time will bid for Champion Hurdle glory at the Cheltenham Festival.

Nuts Well is a high-class horse in his own right, however, as advertised by his Grade Two victory in the 2020 Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

Running over three miles for only the second time, having been pulled up in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on his first attempt, the 11-year-old was an 18-1 shot to claim a fourth Kelso win.

Given a patient ride by Brian Hughes, who was standing in for the sidelined Danny McMenamin, Nuts Well moved smoothly into contention and took over from 5-4 favourite Espoir De Romay in the straight.

Rank outsider Hill Sixteen threatened to make a real race of it on the approach to the final fence, but the Hamiltons’ veteran dug deep on the run to the line to prevail by a length.

“I quietly thought he had a right chance if he stayed three miles,” said Ian Hamilton.

“He ran at Doncaster and we’ve had to tend to one or two bits since then as he has back troubles.

“Brian is just magic, isn’t he? He said he was going to sit at the back and let them go and just creep into it – well he just cruised there, didn’t he?

“His half-brother Runswick Royal won this race (in 2015) and we might go back to Aintree with him now.”

Tommy's Oscar is bound for the Champion Hurdle
Tommy’s Oscar is bound for the Champion Hurdle (Simon Marper/PA)

On Tommy’s Oscar’s chances in the Champion Hurdle, he added: “That’s a bit of different craic!

“He hasn’t beaten a Champion Hurdle horse yet. He’s been winning very easily, but he’s not run against one of those.

“You wouldn’t know what will happen – that’s what we’re going for.”

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