CHANNEL FOUR television coverage of Kelso’s meeting on Saturday adds to what promises to be another thrilling afternoon’s racing, writes Hilary Mactaggart.
The first race time of a valuable card offering £77,500 prize money, has been brought forward to 1.30pm, with gates open at 11.30am.
With the 2013 fixture lost to waterlogging, Saturday sees the inaugural running of two new races. The first race to be televised is the £25,000 handicap chase, sponsored by local businessman Geoff Adam, in memory of his wife Liz. Cumbrian trainer Maurice Barnes hopes Overpriced can recapture last season’s form. War Lord has done well for Phil Kirby and has had a break since winning at Sedgefield in the autumn. Venetia Williams and Emma Lavelle also have interesting entries.
Leading Kelso owner Paul Rooney sponsors the other new valuable race in the name of Bentley Homes, of which he is chairman. Malcolm Jefferson went agonisingly close at Cheltenham with Attaglance and the Malton trainer will be hoping for better luck with his two-time Kelso winner The Panama Kid. Mark Walford is still waiting for his first success since taking over from father Tim and talented mare Fentara could be the one to break his duck.
Kelso engineering business Abbey Tool and Gauge, sponsors for the first time, and the two-mile handicap hurdle race has attracted the biggest entry on the card. The 30 entries include James Ewart’s impressive Ayr scorer Avidity.
Langholm businessman David Stevenson sponsors the handicap chase and acknowledges the input of Reg and Betty Tweedie in establishing Kelso as one of the premier National Hunt tracks. Milnathort trainer Lucinda Russell has plenty of entries and Lie Forrit, who missed Cheltenham due to the ground, would be an interesting runner as he bids to help his trainer on her way to breaking Len Lungo’s Scottish record of 63 winners in a season. Jim Goldie’s Arctic Court has an ultra-consistent record at Kelso and will be one to watch. John and Lorna Irving of the Jedforest Deer Park at Mervinslaw back the 2m 4f handicap hurdle race. Keith Dalgleish is another predominately Flat trainer also doing well with his jumpers, and is represented by Bellorophon and Nexius. Alison Hamilton has her string in fine fettle and the Denholm handler is doubly-represented by Bow School and Some Lad.