KELSO’S inaugural Christmas meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, December 29, is only likely to go ahead if there is a considerable improvement in the weather, writes Fiona Scott.
Groundsman Brian Meikle reports that the track is ready to stage the meeting, having moved all the running rails and hurdles after the last meeting.
Meikle reported: “There are six to eight inches of snow lying on the track at the moment, and unfortunately the ground is frozen underneath so we are going to need a good steady thaw for racing to go ahead.”
Richard Landale, managing director, stated: “We are desperately keen to stage this meeting, and will put every effort into making it happen, however we do need some help from the weather.
“We have been incredibly well supported by the Tote, and our racecard printers Timeform with generous sponsorship.
“To encourage the public to come racing over the festive period, we have reduced entrance to £12 for this meeting and are offering all students with a valid NUS photo ID entrance for only £2. With no racing in Scotland since the end of November, it should prove to be an extremely competitive card.”
Should the weather relent, the highlight of the day will be the £12,000 bet totepool handicap chase. Run over three miles this feature race is the fifth race on a quality seven-race card. Should Kelso beat the big freeze, Lucinda Russell and Nicky Richards are just two of the big Northern yards that will have runners at this new Festive fixture.
The tote has been extremely generous in their support of this new fixture by sponsoring three of the seven races on the card. Dennis Copper and Steve Knight of the Tote will be on hand to present winning connections with their mementos on what should prove to be a popular day’s racing.
Russell, based at Milnathort in Kinross, said: “We always try and support Kelso and fingers crossed the thaw comes in time for Wednesday.
“We’ve actually kept our horses on the go either on the deep snow or on our sand gallop.”
“We intend to enter quite a few including Beidh Tine Anseo in the two mile two furlong Bet Totepool @ totesport.com Handicap hurdle, Tanzanite Bay in the Personalised Scotch Whisky Company National Hunt maiden hurdle and Raysrock in the two-mile Timeform Handicap Chase.”
Attracting new members, parties and sponsors to racing is extremely important, and in such tough economical times, Kelso continue to draw new businesses to “Britain’s Friendliest Course”.
The Personalised Scotch Whisky Company, based in Glasgow, is another new sponsor to join the ranks of the Borders course.
Brand awareness is extremely important throughout the hospitality sector and Andrew Rayment has helped the racecourse brand their house wine since the start of the season.
He said “ I was very keen to break into the racing world, having been involved with a lot of football clubs in the past. Kelso has given us a wonderful opportunity by sponsoring a race with them and we desperately hope the weather allows it to go ahead.”
The company has been rewarded with a great field in the opener in which Nicky Richards has entered Moufatango.