Evening meet attracts competitive card

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KELSO Races stages its first weekend evening meeting on Saturday, concluding with a “party in the paddock” after racing, with live music in the pavilion marquee.

Racing comes under orders at 5.40pm, with the NSPCC School Service maiden hurdle race, sponsored by Ray and Anita Green, who almost notched their second Scottish National success last Saturday with runner-up Merigo.

The race has attracted the evening’s biggest entry of 34. A competitive field includes Below The Deck and Knickerbokerglory trained by Appleby-based Barbara Butterworth, who saddled the opening winner at Ayr on Scottish National day with Knight Valiant.

New sponsors on the Kelso card are William and Stephanie Carrington from Cornhill, who support the 2m 2f handicap hurdle to celebrate a special birthday.

Jimmy Moffatt is a great supporter of the Borders track and he expects to run Border Tale under Brian Hughes. Rose Dobbin is also keen to saddle Fortuni, formerly trained by Sir Mark Prescott, in his first handicap over hurdles.

The Tote sponsor the feature £7,000 handicap chase.

Steve Knight will represent the Tote whose sale by the government is getting closer, although he maintains it is “business as usual”. Offers for the Tote are now down to the final two bidders – Betfred, the Lancashire bookmakers and Sir Martin Broughton’s private equity company. The final result will be known before the end of April.

James Ewart and Lucinda Russell could hold the key to this three-mile handicap chase. The Langholm trainer, whose stable jockey Harry Haynes is sidelined with concussion, is three-handed with Raining Horse, Super Baby and Overlady while the in-form Russell yard is represented by likely top-weight Et Maintenant and Copper’s Gold.

Adam Pringle of Alnwick-based Border Facilities sponsors the evening’s second race, a two-and-three-quarter mile handicap chase. Malcolm Jefferson has booked Denis O’Regan for Beamazed, already a winner over fences at Carlisle this spring. More Equity, bred in Berwickshire by Ailie Tullie, could bid to add to her April Kelso strike, although trainer Dianne Sayer also has the mare entered in the 7.15pm.

It’s good to see Clovenfords’ Ryan Mania back in action and amongst the winners and he’s been secured by Selkirk’s Rayson Nixon for the ride on Political Paddy in the penultimate handicap hurdle on the card. Chris Grant’s Sendali won over course and distance two starts ago and was a close fourth on his follow-up attempt earlier this month.

Radio Borders once again sponsors at the Borders track to highlight its charity work raising much needed funds for Cash for Kids.

Langholm’s Shelley Johnstone will be hoping better ground will see Supreme Dawn perform well. Of the unraced entries Nemi (George Charlton), Harry Handsome (Rose Dobbin) and My Farmer Girl (Kevin Morgan) catch the eye.

The end of the season is fast approaching and this year Kelso celebrates its final day on Sunday, May 22 with Ladies Day. To bring the curtain down on a fantastic season’s racing and raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund, Kelso Races is staging a very special Fillies Charity Race.

Twelve “fillies” associated with horse racing are entered for this extremely competitive flat race, headed by Kelso’s leading lady trainer Lucinda Russell. Former leading lady rider turned trainer Rose Dobbin and Kelso’s clerk of the course Anthea Morshead are among the others taking their places in the line-up.