Spectators gallop to racing at Kelso

Neptune Equestor winning the Scottish Borders National for Greenlaw trainer Sandy Thomson.
Neptune Equestor winning the Scottish Borders National for Greenlaw trainer Sandy Thomson.
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Kelso Racecourse has came out tops in terms of attendance in Scottish Racing’s annual review which was published on Tuesday.

The average footfall at the 13 fixtures hosted at the Roxburgh venue rose by 12.6% last year, the largest increase among the five Scottish racecourses while the attendances at all five – Ayr, Hamilton Park, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth - increased during the year with 308,000 visitors in total, the largest for seven years.

The country’s second most popular spectator sport, which benefits the Scottish economy to the tune of an estimated £173 million annually, thrived during 2015 with prize-money paid out to successful owners reaching a record £6.7 million, while the courses themselves won a series of national accolades.

Sir Ian Good, Chairman of Scottish Racing, said: “During 2015 the horseracing industry in Scotland continued to make a considerable contribution to the wider economy.

“Direct annual expenditure has been estimated at £55 million, with a wider economic benefit of approximately £173 million. The sport itself helps to maintain a total of some 870 full-time equivalent employees, both directly and indirectly, playing its part in a buoyant leisure market.

“The racecourses are being rewarded with increased attendances through their brilliant promotion of the sport.”

The advances being made by horseracing in Scotland were also welcomed by the ruling body of the sport in Britain.

Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, who attended his first race meeting at Kelso when he was a boy, said: “The great strength of horseracing in Scotland is the united approach adopted by the racecourses. While the sport is in such capable hands, the future is bright for horseracing in Scotland.”

The Annual Review also turned the spotlight trainers such as Sandy Thomson, from Greenlaw, were also commended for competing at the highest level.