Party in the paddock at Kelso

Seeyouatmidnight, one of Saturday's fancied racing entrants at Kelso.
Seeyouatmidnight, one of Saturday's fancied racing entrants at Kelso.

Racing is back at Kelso this Saturday – and it’s party time!

Gates open at 12.05pm for another £100,000 race day, with the first race off at 2.05pm.

There will be live music in the Pavilion Marquee after the last race to keep the party going.

Kelso’s three feature races will, for the first time, be screened on ITV4 in a joint header with Newbury.

Edinburgh Gin, the renowned Edinburgh distillers, has recently been taken over by Ian Macleod & Co, famous for its Isle of Skye Whisky. Edinburgh Gin is a multi-award winning gin based in Scotland’s capital city, crafting the ‘Gin renaissance’ in Scotland since 2010.

It announced the launch of its new fruit liqueur, Plum and Madagascan Vanilla, back in October. This new liqueur joins the ever-popular family of fruit liqueurs, including Edinburgh Gin’s Raspberry, Elderflower and Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueurs.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Gin said “We are delighted to announce a new sponsorship of Kelso Races. There is certainly a strong affinity between Edinburgh Gin’s values and Kelso Races, so we look forward to growing our new partnership throughout the forthcoming seasons.”

The firm sponsors the 3m 2f Handicap Hurdle and Knockara Beau, a former Premier Hurdle winner and a firm favourite at Kelso, is again set to be ridden by regular pilot Jan Faltejsek.

Donald Whillans-trained Shades Of Midnight would be an interesting contender, as he was a late absentee from the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham last week. There are also South Country entries from Oliver Sherwood, Kim Bailey, Charlie Mann and Venetia Williams, among others.

One of Kelso’s greatest supporters is Belhaven Brewery and its Belhaven Best is renowned and a preferred pick for the discerning drinkers of quality ale. The Dunbar brewery is now part of the Greene King empire and continues to go from strength to strength.

The 2m Handicap Hurdle sees Brian Hughes, currently lying second to Richard Johnson in the jockey’s championship on over 130 winners, booked for the ride on hat-trick seeking Teo Vivo by Pauline Robson.

Cup Final, carrying the famous J. P. McManus colours, was a winner at last year’s Punchestown Festival.

The richest race on the card is the 3m 2f Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase with a total prize fund of £27,000.

Kelso director Geoff Adam and his family will be on hand to make the presentations after what’s expected to be a very hotly contested feature event that could all revolve around Seeyouatmidnight (pictured), using this day as a prep for either the Irish or Scottish National – as Sandy Thomson also has his Greenlaw stable star entered.

Nicky Richards bypassed Cheltenham and Midlands National with Baywing, while Malcolm Jefferson’s Firth Of The Clyde was due to run at Carlisle’ abandoned card on Sunday.

Another of Kelso’s stalwart sponsors, David and Alix Stevenson, of Ashleybank Investments in Langholm, generously continue to support the 2m 1f Handicap Chase in memory of Reg and Betty Tweedie.

Reg was the chairman of Kelso for a long time and responsible for significant upgrades to the racing surface and for the wonderful horse, Freddie, who finished second in the Grand National.

His wife Betty was famous for baking her cakes, as well as being a celebrated Point-to-Point rider. The Tweedie Stand is named in their honour.

This race is a qualifier for the Northern Lights Middle Distance Chase Series and the final will be run at Carlisle in December. Craiganboy, another trained by Nick Alexander, stormed to victory at Ayr last time in the colours of BBC Radio Five Live racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght.

James Ewart has been among the winners lately and Un Guet Apens went close at Ayr recently for the Langholm trainer.

Tim Ferguson, proprietor of the highly-respected Ferguson Planning & Development, has generously sponsored the 3m 2f Open Hunter Chase. Ferguson Planning, which has its main office in Galashiels, has recently expanded with the opening of new offices in Glasgow city centre and Northern Ireland. The bespoke planning experts seek to go that extra mile to deliver for landowners and developers, no matter the scale of the project.

The company seeks to promote the Scottish Borders as a place to invest and is delighted to be back again to support all those at Kelso Races.

Cave Hunter, trained near Hawick by Wendy Hamilton, has won nine point to points and three hunter chases, including two at Kelso. He is normally ridden by Wendy’s son Tom, who is attached to Joseph O’Brien’s yard in Ireland.

North Yorkshire raider Ardea, in front when unseating his rider at the last in last year’s Buccleuch Cup, has already finished second in good company at Doncaster and Wetherby this season.

The 2m 5½ f Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase has been generously sponsored by Mike Hope of Wooler Ltd. This family run garage in Wooler is the ‘go to’ for service and repairs for all makes of ATV and road vehicles, and has specialist skills in 4WD vehicles.

Nick Alexander’s horses are flying at the moment and the Fife trainer is triple-handed with Buffalo Ballet, Calivigny and Marlee Massie. Clondaw Draft represents Donald McCain in the Tim Leslie colours, carried by the likes of Peddlers Cross and Overturn.

The Border track has a number of very generous sponsors who don’t wish to publicise their involvement, for various reasons, and the 2m 5f Kelso Early Bird Handicap Hurdle is a case in point. A very generous sponsor has provided the contribution towards the prize money but doesn’t wish to take any credit. However, they will be entertaining a party of guests on a high-class corporate basis.

Otterburn-based Susan Corbett, who also runs a stud at her Northumberland establishment, has son James booked for the ride on recent 100/1 Musselburgh third Staigue Fort.

Jimmy Moffatt is looking forward to a big run from Highland Lodge in the Grand National and he is represented by November Musselburgh winner Smart Ruler.

The next meeting at Kelso will be the Spring Fling on Monday, April 3. Gates will open at 12.10pm and the first race off is due off at 2.10pm. You can book your tickets online now at www.kelso-races.co.uk and save £3 with the advanced booking discount.