Racing returns to Kelso this coming Wednesday (May 10) for the penultimate meeting of the season.
Gates open at 12.15pm, with the first race due off at 2.15pm, while the feature race of the afternoon is the Bedmax Handicap Chase, run over 3m2f with a total prize fund of £10,000.
Tim Smalley is the founder and driving force behind Bedmax, the hugely successful Belford-based business which has expanded out of all recognition with factories in the Midlands and the south of England and is now supplying its very high quality product to Dubai and other foreign racing nations. Bedmax also produces Hotmax, which is a highly efficient substitute for wood or coal on an open or closed fire.
Jedburgh-based Harriet Graham won this last year with home-bred stable star Scotswell, who landed his fourth Kelso success just a month ago.
Iain Jardine’s consistent So Satisfied and Maurice Barnes’ dour stayer Carrigdhounare set to be given entries.
Brown Shipley returns to sponsor the 2m 1f Handicap Chase, which is certain to be very competitive. Brown Shipley is one of the UK’s most respected private banks, with an office in Edinburgh and throughout the country.
It is also a highly sought-after business which offers bespoke financial strategic planning to a very wide range of customers right across the financial spectrum. Robbie Hunter will be on hand to make the presentations on the day.
Jimmy Moffatt’s Morning Royalty was an impressive winner over course and distance last month and this Lake District trainer is keen for a return. Vengeur De Guye was second on that occasion and could be in line for a rematch for his Grand National-winning trainer, Lucinda Russell.
Two of Kelso’s most respected annual members, Ian and Betty Dobson, are celebrating their diamond wedding by sponsoring a race and having a party for all their friends and family. The couple, who never miss a race meeting, are hugely enthusiastic supporters of several syndicates and have chosen the Borders track for their party, while sponsoring the 2m6 ½F Handicap Hurdle.
Hawick trainer Alistair Whillans is hinting that his March course and distance third Court Baloo is heading back to his local track. Before One For Arthur, Maurice Barnes rode Scotland’s last Grand National winner, Rubstic, in 1979 for Denholm’s John Leadbetter.
Now a trainer, Maurice is looking at this for Flying Jack, who has missed the worse of the heavy winter ground.
Racecourse farrier, David Merry, has generously agreed to sponsor the 2m 5½f Novices’ Hunters’ Chase, to publicise the fact he is now trading under his own name, as David Merry Farriers, and he is well established as one of the finest specialist equestrian farriers in the south of Scotland.
Miss Biscotti could be in line for a return to Kelso after she gave ex-jockey Gary Rutherford his first winner under Rules last month. Danehills Well may attempt to go one better after coming second in this for Gavin Hamilton 12 months ago, while Buccleuch Cup hero Havana Jack is another potential runner for Irvine handler Leonard Kerr.
The Two Golf Widows, Debs Thompson and Belinda McClung, are renowned for their parties and are continuing the celebrations for their Grand National Winner, One for Arthur, by sponsoring the bumper-in-the-name The One for Arthur Celebration Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, run over 2m.
The party has never stopped since Aintree and will continue with great gusto at Kelso on Wednesday.
This race was run in two divisions of nine runners last year and Iain Jardine is keen to run German-bred Schliph, who made an encouraging start to his career at Carlisle in the autumn.
Principal & Prosper has become a regular sponsor at Kelso since it opened an insurance and wealth management office in teh town. Renowned throughout the UK for its high quality, impartial financial advice, it has built a tremendous reputation through its passion and personal advice, based on long-term relationships with clients. The firm is sponsoring the 2m Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Ash Park won this last year for the Selkirk father and son combination of Stuart and Sam Coltherd. Dianne Sayer’s Weapon Of Choice is a possible, as he has gone well for an inexperienced rider in the past.
The Selling Handicap Chase, run over 2m7f, is one of only two races of this type staged in the UK and, on this occasion, it is sponsored anonymously.
Iain Jardine is pencilling in Heart O Annandale, third over hurdles at Perth last week, while Maurice Barnes is looking at this as an opening for his Cumbrian raider Apache Pilot, a recent winner at Hexham.
The next meeting at Kelso will be the ever-popular Ladies’ Day on Sunday, May 28. Gates will open at 12.15pm and the first race off is due at 2.15pm.
It’s the perfect chance to get dressed up to the nines and enjoy a day out with your friends and family.
A. Hume of Kelso will be on hand to pick the Best Dressed Lady and Best Dressed Couple, with £150 worth of A. Hume vouchers for each winner.
Karen Reid, of Karen Reid Designs, will be on the lookout for the Best Hat, with the chance to win your own bespoke KRD creation worth up to £300.
Tickets can be booked online now at www.kelso-races.co.uk.