Kobe Stevens can hit the sales big-time to celebrate his 18th birthday last week after a rewarding win in the 1600m handicap at the New Year Sprint meeting held on the Meadowmill track near Prestonpans on Wednesday.
The switch to the polymeric surface probably suited Kobe rather than the rough soft conditions which would have prevailed at the traditional venue of Musselburgh Racecourse, but brutal conditions had to be overcome as well as the opposition.
Running off a handicap mark of 150m he knew he had a chance of doing well so opted to skip the 800m given there was only one hour between the races. Third at the bell he moved into the lead and gradually opened a gap down the back straight and managed to hold on into the near gale-force wind up the home straight for a winning margin of over 10m from circuit regulars Willie Bates (195m) and Owen Miller (120m). His winning time of 4.18.44 converts to 4.27 for 1500m which is 11 seconds off his personal best, so an excellent effort given the tough conditions and the time of year with limited speedwork in the bank.