RACING returns to Kelso on Wednesday, when the penultimate meeting of the season comes under orders at 2pm.
The feature race on a competitive card is the £8,000 Kleinwort Benson novice handicap chase, run for the Haddington Jubilee Cup.
Gordon Scott of Edinburgh-based Kleinwort Benson will make the presentations to winning connections.
Lisa Harrison’s Solway Sam rattled up a hat-trick over hurdles this time last year and wasn’t disgraced on his recent chasing debut. The Howard Johnson-trained Milans Man could be interesting if he can finally produce his hurdling form over fences.
A new sponsor to Kelso is international stockbroking firm Charles Stanley, which backs the novice handicap hurdle race, the fourth on the card.
In-form Maurice Barnes will be hoping to start the new campaign the way he ended the last and Follow On is a possible for his Cumbrian yard. Dianne Sayer’s Shoal Bay Dreamer is another to consider.
John and Lorna Irving, who have so successfully developed and pioneered the expansion of the Jedforest Deer Park at Mervinslaw, return for their third year of sponsorship at Kelso. In this conditional jockeys handicap hurdle race, Sandy Forster may send improving Nisaal on the short trip from her Yetholm base, while Harriet Graham’s Scotswell has been dropped quite a few pounds in the handicap recently.
The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course has sponsored what promises to be a competitive handicap hurdle race.
Altan Khan disappointed on rain-softened ground at Kelso’s Easter Saturday card and Malcolm Jefferson will be hoping for quicker going this time. Nicky Richards is aiming for the same for Benmadigan.
Another successful Edinburgh business, Hunter Property Fund Management, sponsors the handicap chase and Mark Hunter, proprietor of the firm, will be on hand to judge the best turned out and make the presentations.
Ferdy Murphy’s Seize, second in this last year and a good runner-up at Haydock the other day, is high on the short list. Tim Easterby hopes to return with Zitenka, the second leg of a double for the Great Habton trainer at the Tweedside venue’s Easter Saturday night meeting.
David Meek of the Fleet Bar in Eyemouth has been a long-standing loyal supporter of racing at Kelso. Mr Meek will make the presentations to winning connections after the 3 mile, 1 furlong novice hunter chase. Sue Taylor may consider running Rakerin Lad as the long distance Northumberland raider was fancied when unseating Gillon Crow early on in the Buccleuch Cup. In the same race, Val Renwick’s Melrose-trained Putitawayforayear was a brave third and only lost second place towards the finish.
Another loyal and regular supporter of the Borders track, the Nicholson Brothers, electric contractors from Edinburgh, again sponsor the opening contest of the afternoon, a selling chase. Stuart Nicholson, a keen racing supporter and regular attendee at Kelso, will make the winning presentations of this popular event where the winning horse is auctioned after the race.
This race was won 12 months ago by Robert Johnston’s Lindsayfield Lodge, who may be in the line-up again under the Newcastle trainer’s veteran jockey and son Kenny. Theresa Gibson’s Hexham raider The Green Hat, third at Newcastle recently, is another possible entry.