FOR the second time in its history, Kelso Race Course will stage a meeting in between Christmas and New Year – which this year falls on Saturday, writes Fiona Scott.
And, with £50,000 of prize money on offer and a disco in the marquee afterwards, the Final Fling meeting promises to be a brilliant day out for all the family.
The first race is off at 12.20pm, with the gates opening early at 10.20am.
The feature race on the card is the Timeform Jury Handicap Steeplechase with a total prize fund of £10,000 run over two miles, about 7 ½ furlongs. Course specialist Super Ally – all his four career wins have come at Kelso – is set to build on his excellent strike-rate for trainer Andrew Parker and owner Ray Green.
And The Man was pulled up at the last Kelso meeting earlier this month and Nicky Richards will be hoping for better luck as he tackles handicap company for the first time over fences.
Selkirk’s Stuart Coltherd is entering talented mare Overlady who hasn’t appeared at the track since pulling up on her debut in a bumper four years ago.
Timeform has also sponsored the third race on the card, off at 1.15pm, where Nicky Richards is entering Hannah Jacques, who carried the MS Borders Racing Club’s colours to an all-the-way victory at Sedgefield recently. Talkin Sense drops back in trip after two runs over longer trips at Perth in the spring for Stuart Coltherd.
One of Scotland’s most famous racehorse trainers, Peter Monteith, is remembered poignantly by family and friends, who have generously sponsored the two-mile 1-furlong handicap steeple. His sister Sheila, friend Dennis Coppola and the rest of the family have clubbed together to provide the sponsorship of what is sure to be a very competitive event.
Surprise Vendor won the two-mile handicap hurdle on this exact day last year and his Selkirk connections have targeted him at this two-mile chase as he tackles his first handicap over fences.
David Stevenson the proprietor of Ashelybank Investments based in Langholm, has generously continued with the sponsorship of a Memorial race to remember Reg and Betty Tweedie.
Reg was chairman of the racecourse for more than 20 years and, along with his wife Betty, promoted it more than anyone previously. His son Douglas Tweedie will be on hand to share the presentations with David and Alex Stevenson.
The first race has been very generously anonymously sponsored to raise awareness of the Children’s Immunology trust. The trust aims to raise funds for an Immunology base at the Royal Hospital for sick children in Edinburgh and help fund research into children’s bone marrow transplant and the bubble unit in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Iain Middlemiss of Middlemiss Embroidery has stepped in to take the Mares Novices hurdle and penultimate race on the seven -ace card.
St Gregory is trained by Nicky Richards for Sue Johnson, wife of former County Durham handler Howard Johnson, and the filly switches to hurdles after a cracking third in a hot Carlisle bumper last Sunday.
This year’s chosen focused charity at Radio Borders is Cash for Kids. The team will be at the course on the day running the charity tea room and also doing an outside broadcast from the course.
All race-goers who attended the course on Sunday, December 9, will receive paddock admission for only £5 when they present their paddock slip or members badges from that meeting at the members’ office.
There will also be a late bar and DJ in the Pavilion Marquee for all race-goers to enjoy after the last race at no additional cost.