SUNDAY sees Kelso racecourse stage its richest day of the season, with the feature £25,000 John Smith’s Scottish Border National, part of a seven-race card totalling £73,000 prize money.
This year is the fourth running of the Scottish Borders National under the John Smith’s banner, now part of the Heineken Group.
Racing comes under orders at 12.30pm, with the big one off at 2.30pm – and the four-mile handicap chase has attracted a large quality field.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has two entries in Ballyfitz and Major Malarkey, who both hold entries for the Welsh National at the end of December.
Another entry from the Chepstow marathon is David Pipe’s Madison Du Berlais, while Maurice Barnes is keen to run course winner Garleton, one of the joint top weights at the five-day stage.
Keith Reveley already has son James booked for the ride on Eyre Square. The duo won this in 2007 with Rambling Minster, while Keith’s mother and James’s grandmother, Mary, was a successful Borders National winner on two occasions with Seven Towers in the inaugural race in 1997 and A Piece Of Cake six years later.
John Smith’s have also jointly supported the novice chase, with Major and Mrs Ivan Straker. Star attraction in this could be Lie Forrit if he makes his chasing debut for Newmill-on-Teviot-based Willie Amos, who said: “He’s taken a bit longer to come to hand as we fired him late and it had to heal. He’s a classy hurdler and has schooled well over fences.”
Cassius, trained near Hawick by Bruce Mactaggart, could also make his first appearance over fences.
The racecourse is pleased to feature The Monteith Memorial Champion Chase. Peter Monteith’s family and friends have joined together to sponsor a memorial race which is to be run for a cup in memory of Peter and his father, Colonel William Monteith.
The race has attracted a quality entry, including 2010 Scottish National hero Merigo (Andrew Parker) and Always Right (John Wade), who were second and third in last season’s Ayr feature. Another leading Northern contender is Nicky Richards’ Skippers Brig, who won the Premier Chase here before finishing a creditable ninth in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree. Adding spice to a hot contest are Somerset raiders Take The Breeze and Tamarinbleu, trained by Paul Nicholls and David Pipe respectively.
New sponsors Edinburgh Audi have joined forces with Melrose Rugby Club to take the penultimate race on the card.
Mia Matriarch, trained at Hawick by Donald Whillans, has shown some promise in bumper company and could make her hurdling bow in this. Sandy Thomson, based at Lambden, near Greenlaw, has this in mind for his home-bred mare Little Fifi.
Kevin Oliver, a regular sponsor at Kelso, backs the two-mile handicap hurdle, the third race on the card. Lucinda Russell’s Beidh Tine Anseo was only just touched off when favourite at Kelso on October 15 and has since come fourth at Musselburgh. Freddie Brown, owned by Kelso chairman Johnny Jeffreys, has his first race since finishing fourth at the Borders track back in May.
John Anderson, of Anderson’s Quality Butchers, sponsors the novice hurdle race. Selkirk’s Stuart Coltherd will be hoping for better luck with Talking Sence who unseated his rider at the first at Hexham recently. Master Act, owned by the Border Thistle Racing syndicate and trained at Hawick by Alistair Whillans, is well regarded by connections.
SIS, Kelso’s media broadcaster to all of Britain’s 10,000 betting shops, are sponsoring the final contest of the afternoon. Lucy Alexander gets on well with Forcefield – trained by her father Nick – and the combination won well at Newcastle recently. James Ewart’s Langholm raider Frontier Boy won over fences at Sedgefield last time, but is one to consider if he reverts to hurdles.
The racecourse has a fantastic ticket offer available to all racegoers who purchased tickets in advance or on the day for the John Smith’s Scottish Borders National meeting on Sunday.
They will gain entrance to the following meeting on Thursday, December 29, for just £5. Simply bring your members’ badge or paddock slip from Sunday, December 4, back to the members’ office or turnstile gate on December 29 and exchange for £5 admission.