KELSO racecourse stages a new fixture on Saturday with its “Party in the Paddock” meeting, when the day concludes with live entertainment.
Racing comes under orders at 2.30pm, with the feature chase sponsored by Stark, Main and Company, celebrating its victory as the UK’s best accountancy practice.
Partners in the Selkirk-based business Ian Main, James Stark and John Dunney are using their sponsorship to thank their staff, not only for winning this award, but for also winning a Scottish Borders Business Excellence Award.
Their handicap chase, off at 3.30pm, sees James Ewart mob-handed with likely top-weight Best Lover, Time Out and Vosges as the Langholm trainer bids to add to what is already a personal-best season.
Fresh from his Cheltenham Festival run, Bruce Mactaggart’s Red Tanber is also a possible contender, having won five times for his Hawick trainer this term, including a success at the last Kelso meeting.
The opening race of the afternoon has been kindly sponsored by Mitie Property Management.
Lucinda Russell and her team recently enjoyed a tremendous Cheltenham Festival success with Brindisi Breeze, and the Arlary House stable is represented in this with ex-John Gosden-trained Ryton Runner and Blazing White Face.
Jedforest Deer and Farm Park are sponsoring at the course for the second year and have been rewarded with an extremely competitive handicap hurdle race.
Hawick’s Alistair Whillans could be the trainer to follow in this as he is triple-handed with Dancing Gizmo, Funky Munky and Loch Dhu.
Alistair’s brother Donald adds to the chance of a family success with his mare Thirty Days Out, who was a cracking third at Newcastle in January.
Douglas Pryde, a financial advisor from Bo’ness in West Lothian, has agreed to sponsor the novice handicap chase.
The novice chase has attracted a very good entry with Super Ally, a winner at Kelso three times already this season, representing Scottish Grand National-winning trainer Andrew Parker from Lockerbie.
Malcolm Jefferson, who saddled two winners at Cheltenham last week, is represented by The Magic Bishop.
A unique event is being celebrated at the course through the John Rose Last Racecourse Handicap Hurdle – marking a birthday and also Kelso being the final 60th racecourse John has visited.
Rhymers Ha’, owned by Melrose-based Geoff Adam, is due a change of luck as he has finished second in all three starts over hurdles. Sharney Sike, trained at Selkirk by Stuart Coltherd, has shown promise in both runs so far and this longer trip should suit.
The sixth and final race of the afternoon has been sponsored by Ray and Anita Green to raise awareness for the NSPCC School Service.
Tom Tate has entered Flamingo Cay, who was sent off a well-backed favourite when runner-up on his debut at Newcastle recently.
Tim Walford, whose jockey son Robert retired last week, is double-handed with Northern Oscar and Uno Valoroso.
The racecourse has a DJ and live music from popular band “The Laughing Jacks” scheduled to play in the Pavilion Marquee after the last race until 10pm, where all racegoers can enjoy a late night drink and dance at no extra cost, to celebrate the end of the days racing.
z Cheltenham may be over for another year, but the Borders track is especially proud that three winners at the Festival had previously run at the course.
Lucinda Russell’s Brindisi Breeze, owned by Lothian-based Sandy Seymour enjoyed Grade 1 success in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, which was sponsored by Ronnie Bartlett, who owns Simonsig.
Simonsig was a convincing winner of the Morebattle Hurdle before taking the Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle in equally convincing style.
Finally, Bellvano, trained by Nicky Henderson, and a previous winner of the Kelso Annual Members Novices chase in February, scored in the Grade 3 Grand Annual Chase.