Ryan Mania was back in the winners’ enclosure at Kelso for the first time since his return to action on Saturday.

The Grand National-winning pilot from Galashiels, who quit the saddle around five years ago after losing his battle with the scales, struck on Caventara trained by his stepfather-in-law Sandy Thomson.

Speaking following his ninth comeback ride Mania, 30, said: “It’s such a relief not having to sweat and I’ve never felt better.

"The difference is all to do with exercise and nutrition and it’s great to come back and do it at my local track - now I just want to kick on from here.”

Borders-born Mania’s finest hour came when he scooped the 2013 National aboard 66-1 chance Auroras Encore and he rolled back the years as he scored on his bold-jumping 9-2 partner.

Thomson added: “Hats off to Ryan as he is riding as well as ever and we’re delighted to have him back riding for us. With his experience, it’s a huge help having him in the yard sitting on the horses.”

Referring to all-the-way scorer Caventara, he said: “His dam L’Aventure won the Borders National in 2009 and he could be back here for that next month.”

Well Above Par also made all the running as he romped to victory for Selkirk's Thomas Willmott in the featured IJF Wishing Well Handicap Chase.

Winning trainer Lucinda Russell said: “He sulked a bit at Perth so I’m delighted for the syndicate that have him. He’s a big, strong type and he loves his jumping. Tom has done a great job with him.”

Court Baloo extended his winning sequence to four when taking the 3m 2f handicap hurdle for Alistair Whillans and Ross Chapman.

The Hawick raider began his winning run at Hexham in early September and Whillans said: “He’s in great form and I remember when we had Major Bell he won five in a row over fences in 1996.”

Well-backed from 10-1 into 4-1, Bruce Lynn-ridden Spirit Of Kayf landed a touch for the Nick Alexander yard in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle. The Leslie trainer said: “We used Bruce’s 7lb claim as he had top-weight and isn’t the biggest of horses. He’s been fragile and was well-treated on his best form.”

Santa Claus is expected to be in attendance at Kelso’s next fixture, the Festive Family Raceday on Sunday 8th December. Children are admitted free of charge and can expect a gift from Santa if they’ve been well behaved. The feature race is the £60,000 Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National.