Kelso course gallops in at national awards

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Kelso racecourse has beaten off competition from venues all over Britain to win the inaugural Groundstaff of the Year award.

Head groundsman Brian Meikle and clerk of the course Hazel Peplinski collected the prize at a ceremony at Lingfield in Surrey.

All 61 courses in the UK are eligible for the groundstaff competition, which is sponsored by Pitchcare and Watt Fences. The winners of the three categories were Kelso, for the National Hunt course, Chester, for the flat course, and Leicester, for the dual purpose course. All three went through to the final judging, with Kelso coming out on top.

Head groundsman, Brian Meikle, commented: “I am incredibly proud to have won this award, but it is very much a team effort and I am very grateful to Logan Knox, David Greer and our two hard- working helpers, Ally Neil and Connor Armstrong, not forgetting my hard-working wife, Gillian, who is very much part of the team.”

Morag Gray, who is on the board of the governing body, the British Horseracing Authority, admitted: “I was thrilled for so many reasons.

“To have a champion team who come from a small independent Scottish racecourse is phenomenal.

“The judges commended the bravery of the decision to change the track, the implementation and the impact of change.

“It was a joy to hear the praise heaped on Kelso. Congratulations to everyone involved. This is a massive credit to Kelso.”

Racing returns to the Borders track for the major autumn fixture, featuring the Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National on Sunday, December 8.