Kelso Racecourse hosts the 10th running of the hotly-contested Borders principals race on Sunday, when 14 runners go to post at 1.15pm.
The feature race on the afternoon card is the £22,500 NSPCC School Service handicap chase at 4.25pm – a new addition to the Kelso calendar designed as a Paddy Power prep race for the first big chase of the season at Cheltenham in November.
Sponsored by Haddington owners Ray and Anita Green, it promises to be an exciting contest, with plenty of in-form horses, including Rose Dobbin’s Robin’s Command. Baileys Concerto bids to win his fourth race on the bounce, while Kumbeshwar is set for his first run since joining Lucinda Russell from Alan King.
The first race at 2pm is sponsored by Robin Lees of the Newcastle Arms Hotel in Coldstream. Endeavor, a winner at Kelso’s opener, is one of three entries for Penrith trainer Dianne Sayer. Recent Perth winner Amilliontimes represents Britain’s most northerly handler Jackie Stephens, who is based at Inverurie.
The second race is sponsored by Douglas Pryde, of D. G. Pryde Ltd from Chirnside. Donald McCain has three entries including hurdling newcomer Starchitect, formerly trained on the flat in Ireland and sired by 2009 Derby winner Sea The Stars. John Quinn’s Mr Gallivanter has already won on his hurdles debut at Stratford in August.
George Dove, from Hampshire, has visited 59 racecourses and, in his words, he has left the “best to last”, sponsoring the novice handicap chase to celebrate visiting his 60th venue. St Gregory has been given a break by Nicky Richards since pulling up at Perth in July, but had winning form prior to that at Cartmel and Hexham. Big Sound, trained by Mark Walford, has been successful during the summer at Uttoxeter.
David Meek, in his fifth year of sponsorship under the Fleet Inn in Eyemouth, will sponsor a race to be run as a memorial to Robin Aitchison.
Peter Hope from Berwick backs the handicap chase to celebrate his son Kieran’s 18th birthday.
Solway Dornal is fresh from winning twice recently at Perth for Cumbria trainer Lisa Harrison. Kelso specialist Super Ally, whose four career wins have all come at the track, will be running for the first time for Rose Dobbin, following the retiral of former trainer Andrew Parker.
Radio Borders once again sponsors the final race on the card in which Irish trainer Stuart Crawford is represented by Alkali and Velocity Of Light, while Raifteiri was a first winner in the training career of William Young jnr when he scored at Cartmel in the summer.
Improvements have been made during the summer with upgrades to the Pavilion marquee, provided by Mark Hay of The Cheers Bar, and also to Rosie’s Bistro and the Hamilton Room. Visit www.kelso-races.co.uk for more information.