Ladies Day marks the final day of the National Hunt Season at Kelso Races this Sunday (May 28).
Gates open at noon and the action gets under way at 1.15pm, with the first of two Pony Races, followed by the 2m Border Facilities Novices’ Hurdle off at 2.15pm.
Adam Pringle is a great supporter and provides a lot of the mobile facilities which are so critical to the smooth running of this hugely popular day at the Borders track. Some very familiar colours including Boogie Life and Uluroo (Ray Green), Blakerigg (David &Nicky Robinson) and Shepherd’s Bight (Susie Wood) hope to run in this race.
The latter’s silks were carried to a famous victory in the 1982 Scottish National by Susie’s late father, Colonel David Greig onCockle Strand, and another interesting contender is Champagne City, a rare Tom George entry, who was fourth on his debut over hurdles at Newton Abbot recently.
The feature race of the day is the Ayton Castle Handicap Chase, run over 3m 2f and with a total prize fund of £12,000, and is generously sponsored by Richard Syred and Brian Parsons, the owners of the spectacular Ayton Castle, which is being renovated and returned to its prime as one of the leading stately homes in the south of Scotland.
Based in London, the two owners are very anxious to have a strong commitment with the local community, hence their sponsorship and party at the Racecourse.
Alistair Whillans and Pena Dorada bid to go one better after coming second in this last year. Also among a cracking entry of 20 is Stephen McConville’s prolific winning point to pointer Anseananchai Cliste – a first runner at Kelso for the Irishman – and Stuart Coltherd’s Selkirk raider, Ash Park.
The King’s Own Scottish Borderers are probably Kelso’s longest standing sponsor and, under Colonel Colin Hogg’s leadership, have been hugely supportive over very many years – generously providing not only a magnificent trophy but also a real collector’s piece in a Spode Plate, commissioned especially for the occasion.
The 2m 1f Novices’ Handicap Chase is sure to be a very competitive race, which was won last year by the One For Arthur partnership of Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox, with Seven Devils.
One of the great success stories of the Borders in recent years has been the emergence of Elliot Henderson and his son, Gavin, in the timber harvesting and plant hire world. Their business has gone from strength to strength and Gavin will be heading up the party this year.
Cave Hunter, trained near Hawick by Wendy Hamilton, bids for three in a row as he has been victorious in this for the last two years. Bafana Choice, trained by Chris Grant’s wife, Sue, has been second in the Heart Of All England and Buccleuch Cup on his last two starts.
Another of Kelso’s most loyal and supportive sponsors are Dennis and Margaret Coppola, who have sponsored the 2m Handicap Hurdle in honour of their four grandchildren.
Harriet Graham-trained Sudski Star, owned by Kelso director Geoff Adam, goes for a track hat-trick after wins over course and distance and 2m 2f. Donald McCain, who saddled a double on this card 12months ago, could hold the key as he is double-handed with Cousin Oscar and Dear Sire, both the winners of two races at the tail end of last season.
The Royal Scot’s Dragoon Guards are also regular supporters of Racing at Kelso and they sponsor the Open Hunter Chase, run over 3m 2f, with a very generous total prize fund of £7000. With their headquarters in Edinburgh Castle, this regiment, with such a great and honourable history, will have a strong contingent present on the day organised by Major General Charles Ramsey of Greenlaw.
It was won last year by Donald McCain’s What Happens Now, with runner-up Nortonthorpelegend subsequently boosting the Kelso form by winning three races for Rebecca Menzies.
Kaye Niven, of Five Star Taxis in Galashiels, backs the closing bumper of the day. Katie Scott, based in the Borders, is represented by the unraced The Dawn Bandit and Western Lass who was third on her debut at Kelso in February. Malcolm Jefferson has a decent record in bumpers and his home-bred newcomer Our Sioux Sue takes the eye.
The action-packed day is rounded off with the ‘Flying Fillies Charity Race’, in aid of The IJF and The House that Jack Built. Organised by Jack Berry, this race has been run for several years and sees 12 all-female, jockeys from across the racing industry take to the track to race on the flat over 1m 5f. It is a fun, and fitting, end to Ladies Day at Kelso 2017.
Don’t forget to dress to impress for your chance to be part of the Best Dressed Lady and Best Dressed Couple competitions, sponsored by A. Hume Country Clothing of Kelso, and the Best Hat competition, sponsored by Karen Reid Designs, with up to £300 worth of vouchers to be won.
This meeting rounds off what has been a hugely successful year for Kelso with record prize money just short of £1 million. Racing returns to Kelso for the new season on Wednesday, September 20, with the Twilight Meeting.
There’s more information at www.kelso-races.co.uk