Border principals prepare to go under starter’s orders


Racing comes under orders at Kelso on Sunday, when the track opens its gates for the new National Hunt season with an exciting card.

The event will be preceded by the ever-popular Border principals race, which in 2011 was won by Grand National hero and former Braw Lad Ryan Mania and has had to be balloted to the maximum 14 runners.

Gates open at noon, with the first race off at 2pm, and head groundsman Brian Meikle reports the ground is on the fast side of good.

Feature race of the afternoon is the NSPCC School Service Intermediate Hurdle at 3.55pm, which is sure to attract a strong entry with the additional £5,000 Sunday bonus taking the total prize fund to £8,000.

Haddington-based Ray and Anita Green sponsor the race, and Irish trainer Patrick Griffin has pencilled in Maggio, a consistent contender at Kelso.

New mum Rose Dobbin has entered Purcell’s Bridge from her Northumberland yard, while another to catch the eye is Donald McCain’s Witness In Court.

Station head, Lynsey Graham, will be on hand to judge the best turned out and present the prizes after the opening contest of the afternoon.

Dianne Sayer has entered a couple of old favourites, Cool Baranca and Endeavour, while the top-rated entry is Donald McCain’s Blackwater King, who won a novice event over course and distance last December.

There’s plenty of local interest in the 2m 2f Novices Handicap Hurdle at 4.45pm, with Borders trainers Sandy Thomson (Blue Kascade), George Bewley (Brae On), Alistair Whillans (Kirkaig), Harriet Graham (Maggie Blue) and Iain Jardine (Push Me) in the potential line-up.

Phil Kirby is in great form on the flat and over jumps, and the Middleham trainer could go close with Mr Mistopheles who was only denied by a short-head at Sedgefield in August.

Tony Love’s Portobello roofing company City Roofing Ltd,which has been sponsors since 2008, generously continues with its support of the first bumper of the season.

Dougie Costello has been riding winners on the flat this summer and he has been booked for the ride on 66-1 Market Rasen bumper scorer King Of Strings by trainer Tim Walford.

Kelso recently launched a new website which can be viewed at and this provides on-line booking and clearly shows all availability. For further information call 01668 280800 and speak to Trish or Laura.