The final race day of Kelso Racecourse’s season is one of the most valuable, with more than £100,000 of prize money on offer.
t also attracts the largest crowd, as racegoers vie for the attention of the judges of the ‘Best Dressed’ competitions.
In addition to the Best Dressed Lady, there will be prizes awarded for the Best Dressed Couple and the Best Hat.
Finalists for each of the three competitions will be selected from the crowd, early in the afternoon, by the judges representing the competition sponsors – A. Hume Clothing, Colourful Edit and Fox & Plooms Handbags, Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and Karen Reid Designs.
The £25,000 feature race of the seven-race programme is the Ayton Castle Handicap Steeplechase, over three miles, at 3.50pm.
Trainer Peter Bowen looks set to make the 10-hour journey from Wales with Court King, while the Penrith-based Nicky Richards will be hoping that Looking Well can make amends for a disappointing run in the Scottish Grand National last month.
Donald McCain has enjoyed an excellent winter at Kelso and has pencilled in both Beach Break and Middlebrow for the first race on the programme, the Border Facilities Novices Hurdle – a race he has won twice in recent years.
Oak Vintage, trained in Northumberland by Ann Hamilton, has gone up 9lbs for his impressive all-the-way victory over fences at Kelso’s last meeting two weeks ago. He could be ready to take advantage of his lower rating over hurdles in the third race, named in honour of the sponsor’s grandchildren.
Pauline Robson’s Uluroo was second over hurdles at this meeting last year and has since won a point to point in Ireland for East Lothian owner Ray Green. He will be a popular choice for the fifth race on the card, the Elliot Henderson & Son Plant Hire Novices Handicap Chase.
This year’s renewal of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Open Hunters Chase will be the first to be run without the patronage of Major General Ramsay, who died on December 31 and was the instigator of this race.
Drew Holmes won the race four years ago with Beggar’s Velvet and bids for further success with Pass The Hat. Emma Toddhas has been booked for the ride on unbeaten point to pointer Shimla Dawn by trainer Christine Drury.
While it is anticipated there will be many fine fillies parading in the enclosures throughout the day, the final race has been specifically framed to attract the fastest!
The Five Star Taxis Mares National Hunt Flat Race boasts a prize of £12,500, making it one of the most valuable races of its kind in the country. Stuart Crawford’s Irish yard could be double-handed with the recent Carlisle winner Lily’s Gem and Retrace.
Perhaps the most fascinating entry is the unraced Barbados Blue, for recently-crowned champion trainer Nicky Henderson. The Lambourn trainer has saddled three winners from his five most recent runners at Kelso.
The first of the seven races is due off at 2.05pm, with the gates opening at noon.
The final of the Best Dressed Lady competition will be judged at 3pm, the Best Dressed Couple at 3.30pm and the Best Hat at 4pm.
The final race is scheduled for 5.35pm and racegoers will be welcome to stay on, until as late as 8.30pm for musical entertainment and dancing in the Pavilion Marquee.
The racecourse management is working closely with Police Scotland, which is urging racegoers to avoid drinking and driving by nominating a driver or pre-arranging a taxi for the end of the afternoon.