GRAND National hero Ryan Mania returns to home ground when the Galashiels jockey rides at Kelso on Monday.
It will mark the 23- year-old’s first appearance at his local track since his epic Aintree win on Auroras Encore.
Ryan looks forward to a good book of rides at another competitive days racing at the popular Borders venue, when the first race comes under orders at 2.10pm.
Feature race of the afternoon is the Jedforest Deer Park novice handicap chase, sponsored by John and Lorna Irving who manage Mervinslaw estate and the Jedforest Deer Park. Itzacliche, the winner of a Kelso hunter chase last May, has been off since the autumn and is likely to make his comeback in this for owner/rider Joey Richards
The three-mile handicap chase – a surprise birthday celebration - is sure to produce a cracking contest. Ladbroke’s supremo Nick Rust, has generously sponsored the race to mark his father John’s 80th birthday. John and his wife Carole willjudge the best turned-out horse and make the winning presentations.
Respected caterers Peter and Gillian Allan sponsor the two and three-quarter mile handicap hurdle race at 3.10pm. Hawick handler Alison Hamilton could be tempted to run Bow School after a promising recent comeback. Two l opponents he could face are Nicky Richards pair Merrydown and Mallin Bay
The Racecourse Association make a rare visit to Kelso for a regional meeting in Scotland ,and sponsor the two-mile handicap chase. Local representative Alan Guthrie and London-based chief executive Richard Wayman will make the presentations. The ever-consistent Freddie Brown is a regular in this type of race for Kelso chairman Johnny Jeffreys, while Lucy Normile’s Primrose Time ran a cracker over course and distance recently.
Stalwart Kelso supporter Norman Orde, who runs a personal chauffeuring service in East Lothian, sponsors the first race at 2.10pm - the Lyntoun Private Hire maiden hurdle. Greystoke trainer Nicky Richards plans to enter Bishops Gate, who should appreciate the better ground after his promising heavy ground debut at Ayr in February. Scotland’s leading Flat trainer Jim Goldie is pencilling in Plus Jamai, a runner at Ayr’s recent Scottish National Festival.
Local racecourse director, Robert Miller-Bakewell sponsors the novice hunter chase under the name of his Eildon Hills Stables, near Melrose. Galashiels-based Katie Scott could bid for a further Kelso success with Buccleuch Cup victor Moscow Menace. Opposition could include Iain Jardine’s Hawick raider Buywise, who was travelling strongly when falling three out.
Ian Macleod and Co Ltd, distillers of Isle of Skye Whisky, supports a competitive two-mile handicap hurdle race. Hawick handler Alistair Whillans, who won the bumper at Ayr on Scottish Grand National day, could saddle Funky Munky, now back on a ‘winning’ handicap mark, while Jim Goldie is entering Kelso regular Bene Lad. Two other entries are Nicky Richards’ Parc Des Princes and Abbey Garth, who carries the colours of leading Irish owner J P McManus.