Make snow mistake – racing set for Sunday return to Kelso

Mount Mews, ridden by Brian Hughes (picture by Alan Raeburn).
Mount Mews, ridden by Brian Hughes (picture by Alan Raeburn).

The prestigious Totepool Premier Hurdle Raceday at Kelso has been rescheduled for this Sunday, March 11.

The original programme, which attracted high class entries including the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Bristol de Mai, was abandoned following heavy snowfall ahead of last weekend.

The addition of a further handicap hurdle to the programme means there will now be seven races instead of six.

Racecourse managing director Jonathan Garratt said: “Having spoken to many of the trainers who had horses engaged in the abandoned meeting, we knew many of them were desperate for us to reschedule, if it was at all possible.

“While the track still has a covering of snow, the thaw is quite well advanced and the forecast was for much milder weather towards the end of the week.”

Paul Johnson, head of racing at the BHA, said: “With Scotland and the far north of England suffering disproportionately from abandonments this season, we have taken the unusual step of putting in an additional third Sunday fixture on to March 11, to ensure the race programme continues to cater for horses which may have missed recent engagements because of the poor weather.

“With the help of Kelso and the Levy Board, we are pleased to also have been able to take the opportunity to reschedule the two feature races from the original card and expect them to offer a Sunday highlight this week.”

The Totepool Premier Chase has been increasingly used as a springboard to Aintree and the original entry attracted two of Scotland’s Grand National hopes from Borders stables – the Sandy Thompson-trained Seeyouatmidnight and Stuart Coltherd’s (Selkirk) Captain Redbeard.

They would face stiff opposition from the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai, who ran away with the Betfair Chase earlier in the season, and who is being prepared for a tilt at the Grade 1 Aintree Bowl.

Paul Nicholls could be represented by Warriors Tale and dual Scottish National winner Vicente.

The Totepool Premier Hurdle has been won in the past by useful sorts such as Glingerburn, Le Prezien, Mount Mews and Clever Cookie, who subsequently developed into a Group horse on the Flat.

Kevin Ryan’s Beyond The Clouds, unbeaten in all three hurdle starts, was one of those in the original line-up with winning Kelso form, having scored at the Borders track in October.

The seven-race programme, which boasts more than £103,000 in prize money, is set to get under way shortly after 2pm (exact race times to be confirmed), with the gates opening at 12.15pm.