DONALD McCain is considering The Last Samuri for the Coral Scottish Grand National after the seven-year-old regained winning ways at Kelso.

The Last Samuri (9-2 favourite) bounced back in the Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase after unseating his rider at the second- last fence on this course five weeks ago when he was on a hat-trick.

Sharney Sike set out to make it a true test over three-and-a-quarter miles and still led at the third-last fence but that was where he lost the advantage, leaving The Last Samuri and Harry The Viking to fight out the finish. The Last Samuri asserted his superiority on the run-in to score by two-and three- quarter lengths. Sharney Sike stuck on third, seven lengths away.

McCain was completing a quick across-the-card double after the success of Red Spinner at Bangor.

"I had him in the four-miler at Cheltenham, but we decided to sit tight and wait for this," said the Cheshire trainer. "We might have to concentrate on a race up at Ayr now. There's a novice handicap there and he'll get an entry in the Scottish National."

The Neil King-trained Milansbar (10-1) just edged out the 3-1 favourite Racing Europe in a thrilling finish to the Thakeham Handicap Hurdle.

Hartforth set a fair pace throughout the three-mile three-furlong contest and took the field along until the turn for home with two hurdles to jump. Racing Europe looked to be going best of all but Trevor Whelan brought top-weight Milansbar with a late effort to grab the spoils.

"He's been crying out for further and has been doing all his best work in the dying strides," said King. "Part of the attraction of going to Kelso was because it was three-mile three. I was delighted to see he goes on hock-deep mud and on good ground. All options will be open next year.

"I said after he ran at Haydock, he'd be a Grand National horse in two years' time and I believe he will be."

King paid tribute to winning owner Robert Bothway, who was doing some essential work for the trainer. "The owner, Robert Bothway, was not at Kelso because he's at my yard in Wiltshire harrowing and rolling the grass gallop for me," he said.

Oscar Rock (5-4 favourite) powered clear from the second-last obstacle to register his second successive win over fences in the John Smith's Novices' Handicap Chase.

Malcolm Jefferson's seven-year-old jumped to the front two from home under Brian Hughes to win convincingly by nine lengths.

Hughes had earlier struck on Captain Brown (9-2), who made amends for his final-flight fall when leading in the same race 12 months ago with a hard-fought success in the Abbey Tool & Gauge Handicap Hurdle.

James Moffatt's charge had tried to make all last year but came from off the pace this time and got on top close home to get the verdict by half a length.

Brian Harding reached 50 winners for the season when steering home the Tim Easterby-trained Tiptoeaway (8-1) in the Ashleybank Investments Reg & Betty Tweedie Handicap Chase.

Hunters Belt (20-1) recorded his third course win in the Jedforest Deer Park Handicap Hurdle for trainer George Bewley and his son, 5lb claimer Jonathon, while Lucinda Russell's Big River (6-1) opened his account in the Best Small Racecourse Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.