A change at the races

KELSO Races has made a series of significant changes to its course for the forthcoming season.

The removal of a fence and the elbow, and long run-in sections of the chase course is an effort to modernise the layout, according to the Borders’ only track.

The board of Kelso Races says the move will provide benefits to the Roxburgh facility and horse welfare.

Richard Landale, managing director of Kelso Races, said: “The decision to alter the course has not been taken lightly.

“We had a series of meetings with racing professionals and long-established associates of the racecourse over the prospects of altering the course, the results being an overwhelming decision to modernise.”

Clerk of the course Hazel Peplinski said trainers, including Grand National winner Donald McCain, have approved of the reduced run-in from the last fence.

She added: “By prioritising optimum use of the turf and giving the hurdle course so much greater width in the home straight we have created a host of additional benefits for the future at Kelso.

“We have many more options as to where to site hurdles and the last obstacles in both chase and hurdle races will be so much nearer the stands, which will give our racegoers a greater spectacle.

“As with any change to a course layout, jockeys will need to adapt to the new rhythm and tempo of the chase course, but I am hopeful we won’t see so many very tired finishers in mid-winter, which has to be a good thing.”

Kelso’s first meeting of the new season is on October 7.