Principals prepare to go the course in Kelso showpiece

Line up for the 2015 Borders Principals Race at Kelso Racecourse
Line up for the 2015 Borders Principals Race at Kelso Racecourse

Fourteen go to post in the popular Border Principals race, which precedes Sunday’s top class card at Kelso.

A competitive field includes Kelso Laddie Fraser Hastie, Musselburgh Honest Lad Kieran Davidson and James Balmbro, representing 2014 winners, Coldstream.

The £22,500 NSPCC School Service two-mile handicap chase – sponsored by Ray and Anita Green from Haddington – was won last year by the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned.

The winner bids to defend his title, and the Greystoke handler has also entered stable companion Duke of Navan. Alnwick trainer Rose Dobbin has last month’s course victor Robin’s Command in fine form.

Robin Lees, chairman of the Ten Strong Hotel Group, supports the opening race at 2pm. Trainer James Ewart and jockey Dale Irving, both from Langholm, bid to defend their title with Sleep In First. Former Hawick handler Iain Jardine has been in great form since has since moving to Len Lungo’s Carrutherstown stable, and may be represented by Push Me.

Geoff and Elspeth Adam sponsor the novice chase. Britain’s most northerly trainer Jackie Stephen, recently celebrated her first winner with a full licence and has pencilled in Mo Rouge. Peter Maddison’s Sgt Bull Berry is usually ridden by Hawick jockey Jamie Hamilton who rode the gelding to back-to-back wins at Stratford and Southwell in August.

A new sponsor is Edinburgh’s Mathers Bar, who support a competitive handicap chase. Donald McCain could hold the key to this as he is doubly-represented by Sacred Square and Sindarban.

Hawick legal firm Bannerman Burke, under Border Employment Law Services, sponsor the maiden hurdle race. Nick and Lucy Alexander won this in 2014 with Landecker and the father and daughter combination have the choice of Always Tipsy or Isla Pearl Fisher.

Radio Borders broadcast live, and station head Lynsey Graham, will judge the best turned out in their race when Prince Of Silver could be a rare course runner for trainer Andy Turnell.

Richard Farquhar aims to raise £1 million for Pancreatic Cancer UK and Racing Welfare by walking round all 60 Racecourses in the UK, and will complete the Kelso leg before the first race. Donations at www.virginmoneygiving.com/walkingthecourses.