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The Timeform Morebattle Hurdle offers a valuable prize for the winner at Kelso and the four-runner affair looks set to be an intriguing contest.

Malcolm Jefferson will be hoping that CYRUS DARIUS can recapture his novice hurdles form today. The son of Overbury tops BTO+ ratings heading into this affair and is also highest on official ratings. Cyrus Darius was a progressive sort during his days as a novice over timber and, after impressive wins at Newcastle and Hexham respectively, he then contested Grade Two company in the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree. The gelding produced a superb performance that day and he stayed on powerfully in the closing stages to score by a comfortable eight lengths. Cyrus Darius was then sent novice chasing at the start of last season. He wasn't himself when he just scored by a neck on debut over larger obstacles in September 2015 at Perth and then was left off the track for over 18 months due to injury. The eight-year-old made his return to the track at Haydock last month in their Champion Hurdle Trial. It was always going to be a tough ask for Cyrus Darius to make his presence felt and he finished a distant third that day, but connections would have been pleased he got round with no injuries. The gelding should be in much better scope this afternoon and the in-form jockey Brian Hughes remains in the saddle.

Dan Skelton makes the long trip to Scotland with BORN SURVIVOR. Still just a six-year-old, the gelding has plenty of scope to improve further as he looks for his first victory this campaign. Born Survivor was last in the winners' enclosure when triumphing in a novices' hurdle at Wetherby just under 12 months ago. Although he hasn't scored since, Skelton's charge has still been running with plenty of credit. He was second at Aintree last October before finishing fourth and third at Newbury in November and December respectively. Born Survivor should relish the cut in the ground at Kelso with both of his victories coming on a soft surface, and he also tops BTO+ speed ratings.

ONE FOR HARRY comes into the race on the back of a win. The nine-year-old has plenty of experience under his belt and could pose a challenge at Kelso. Nicky Richards' charge was second in this race last year behind Top Notch, who went on to run creditably in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. One For Harry was also highly enough regarded to run in the Coral Cup at the Festival, although he was pulled up. The son of Generous will be coming into the race with plenty of confidence after scoring at Wetherby last time out by one length and he has four positives on BTO+ ratings, one of which is Richards' recent form in the last two weeks which is 128% better than expected. One For Harry is, however, facing much stiffer competition here and he could find it tough.

KNOOCKARA BEAU owes his connections absolutely nothing. His most famous day came in the 2014 renewal of the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham when he famously took the scalp of Big Bucks to win the prestigious contest. At the ripe age of 14, Knockara Beau ran in the Cleeve last time out last month but finished well down the field and his best days look long behind him.

Article Posted on Thursday 16th February 2017 @ 09.04

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