Offering a total prize pot of £96,500, and featuring the prestigious Premier Hurdle, racegoers can look forward to a competitive afternoon’s racing at Kelso on Saturday.
The feature Premier Hurdle – the first of two Totepool sponsored races on the card – has attracted entries from champion trainer Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Venetia Williams, Dan Skelton and Donald McCain.
One horse targeted at the Grade 2 race is the Karl Burke-trained filly Intense Tango, the winner of a similar event at Doncaster last time. Nicky Richards has also pencilled in his recent Morebattle Hurdle hero Glingerburn.
Local interest lies with Seldom Inn from Sandy Thomson’s in-form Greenlaw stable, and Shades of Midnight, a winner last time out for Hawick handler Donald Whillans.
The totepool Premier chase attracts Grand National entry Baileys Concerto, who has won five times this term. Carlito Brigante, who would be a first Grand National runner for Karen McLintock, hasn’t raced since his long distance chase success at Kelso in October.
The Cyril Alexander Memorial novice chase is a regular feature of the fixture. Aye Well has been in great form for Selkirk trainer Stuart Coltherd and bids for a hat-trick following easy wins at Wetherby and Ayr. Cango scored nicely at Ayr last month for his Northumberland trainer Michael Smith.
Terry Frame is also a regular supporter and the Kelso joiner sponsors the opening novice hurdle race. John Quinn enjoys sending his Malton raiders to the Borders and Arthurs Secret was a comfortable winner at Musselburgh last week. Recent Newcastle winner Doctor Phoenix, also an entry in the Premier Hurdle, would be a rare Kelso runner for ex-jockey David Dennis.
Another regular sponsor is Garry Mansell of Premier Traffic Management, who support a competitive 2m 5f handicap chase. Douglas Julian, also an entry in the last, was a first winner under Rules for new Galashiels trainer Katie Scott, when landing the hunters’ chase at the previous meeting. Lucinda Russell’s Present Lodger bids to extend his winning sequence to four, after strikes at Musselburgh, Newcastle and Ayr.
Robin Lees generously sponsors the three-mile handicap chase, under the Newcastle Arms in Coldstream. The Thompson family from Alnwick are well represented - Victor double-handed with Señor Alco and Tommy Steel, while son Mark may saddle War On.
Award winning North Berwick butcher John Anderson continues his sponsorship, backing a potentially competitive hunter chase. Bollin Fiona has been second on three of her four starts this season for her Hawick trainer Donald Whillans. Dun To Perfection, trained at Otterburn by Susan Corbett, has been second and third on his two previous visits to Kelso.
Gates open at noon, with the first race under orders at 1.55pm.