Racing returns to the Border track on Sunday, December 29, with a meeting that will have a real festive spirit.
The feature race of the day is The Children’s Immunology Trust Handicap Chase which has been very generously sponsored anonymously to highlight the amazing work this charity does with this quite rare and debilitating medical condition.
The Borders is renowned as an area where charity is hugely well supported and this is a classic example of very considerable generosity.
There will be a Christmas jumper competition sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin to highlight their smart new Cashmere Design Centre in Hawick.
The company’s Nic Bannerman will be on hand to judge the competition with the winners to receive a cashmere sweater from their showroom. Judging will take place after the second race.
Two of the greatest characters in Borders racing – Col. Willie Monteith and his son Peter are remembered in the Monteith Memorial which is sponsored by their family jointly with Denis Coppola.
Both were real characters in their own right and Peter was one of the few Scottish trainers to have a Cheltenham Festival winner. Sheila Monteith has organised the annual party to celebrate their family’s great racing achievements.
Sacre Toi was a third winner on this card last when successful in this race for James Ewart and the Langholm trainer expects to try and win it again, this time with Un Guet Apens who was third in a decent chase at Haydock on Saturday.
Another great Border character Jamie Innes, who has run the Floors Castle Horse Trials for 22 years, is throwing a party to thank all the people who have helped him on his committee over the time he has organised and built up this competition into the International Event that it now is.
This is one of the great success stories of the Borders and such a joy when two equestrian disciplines come together to celebrate a remarkable achievement and Jamie deserves all the credit for such a supreme effort over a long period of time.
One of Kelso’s greatest supporters Iain MacLeod Distillers Ltd from Broxburn have supported the final race under the name of their blended whisky – Isle of Skye. Peter Russell, also famous as the father of Scotland’s leading trainer Lucinda Russell, will be on hand to make the presentation after the race.
Peter is also responsible for distilling one of Scotland’s other very famous malt whiskies – Glengoyne from their distillery just north of Glasgow.
Sleep In First landed five races over fences in the spring for James Ewart but he is a likely contender for connections in this handicap hurdle. Jimmy Moffatt may be double-handed with Maybe I Wont and Captain Brown. Nick Alexander is entering Another Mattie while recent Wolverhampton all-weather winner Funky Munky is a possible for Alistair Whillans.
Kelso Racecourse is not only know as Britain’s Friendliest Course but it is also known for the quality of its catering from the three family firms that are involved – Peter Allan, Rosie Cullie and Jim Hettrick.
On this occasion Peter and Gillian Allan have agreed to sponsor the Handicap Hurdle race. The Allans not only do the racecourse catering but also do catering for weddings, parties and any number of outdoor events both at the racecourse or any other venue. In a very new marketing deal five other courses will be represented at Kelso on the afternoon with parties from Carlisle, Hexham, Cartmel, Perth and Newcastle coming to join a Borders experience in a racecourse sponsored special outing.
Gates at Kelso open on Sunday at 10am and the first race gets underway at 12 noon.
The next meeting at the Kelso course after this weekend is on Sunday, January 12.