Saturday telly slot for Kelso’s feature race

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CHANNEL Four will screen Kelso’s feature race on Saturday, when the Borders track hosts its second meeting of the season.

The TV station will show live coverage of the EDF/ER Fallogo Rig handicap chase, along with racing from Cheltenham and Catterick.

Gates open at 12.10pm, with racing preceded by the third running of the Borders Barmy Army pantomime horse race at 1.50pm, to raise funds for the BGH Macmillan Cancer Centre.

Racing comes under orders at 2.10pm with a maiden hurdle race sponsored by Edinburgh City Football Club.

In what looks a very competitive event, with a huge entry of 43, Donald McCain is represented by five horses, including winning point-to-pointer Bound For Glory. Hawick’s Alistair Whillans is double-handed with Gleann Na Ndochais and Crosstek, who was fourth in a bumper at Hexham last Saturday.

The main supporting contest on Saturday’s card is the Clifford and Martin Firth Memorial novice chase.

Run over two miles, six-and-a-half furlongs, for the prestigious Marshall trophy, the race is sponsored by the Firth family from Morecambe.

James Ewart could hold the key to this as the Langholm trainer has pencilled in Vosges, Bishops Heir and Beneficial Reform, the latter of whom was due to run at Hexham last weekend until travel problems intervened. Malcolm Jefferson has his horses in good order and he has already booked Harry Haynes for recent Perth scorer The Panama Kid.

The feature race on the card, broadcast at 3.25pm, is the EDF-ER Fallago Rig handicap chase sponsored by French energy giants EDF Energy Renewables.Chief executive Christian Egal will make the journey from France to present winning connections with their mementos after the race, which has attracted a typically competitive field.

Garleton, now with Maurice Barnes, has course and distance winning form in 2009, and Alexander Voy is set to try for his fifth win on the 10-year-old. Harry Flashman, trained near Hawick by Donald Whillans, has gained his three chase wins at Hexham, but boasts winning hurdle form at his local track.

In their seventh consecutive year of sponsorship James and Fiona Doyle stage a race in memory of James’s father, Peter – the fourth race on the card, off at 3.45pm. Willie Amos, based at Broadhaugh just south of Hawick, has pencilled in Also Jo for this, and also has Border Flora in the last race of the afternoon.

Fife jockey Lucy Alexander, who rode her first winner since turning professional at Carlisle recently, has been ‘jocked up’ on several horses, including Sydney Cover for her father Nick in this race.

Kevin and Ann Oliver of Haltwhistle sponsor the fifth race on the card, a novice hurdle, to celebrate the first birthday of their grandson, Cooper Burton. Sandy Thomson, whose yard is at Lambden near Greenlaw, has entered his home-bred mare Little Fifi in this and Any Given Moment in the last race. Ferdy Murphy may unveil an interesting newcomer in the shape of Jaws, who also holds an entry in the 2.10pm.

Brian Boyd of First Choice Fire Protection Services has stepped in to sponsor the final novice handicap chase of the day. Jedburgh trainer Harriet Graham will be hoping Soul Magic can make it five-in-a-row after four successive wins at Cartmel between June and August. Well Oiled, a close third at Kelso’s opening card of the autumn, is the only entry on the card for Kirk Yetholm’s Sandy Forster.

The meeting is rounded off with a race run as part of the Racing Excellence Initiative. The Betfair Training Series Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle is aimed at giving conditional jockeys race riding experience.

Sponsored by Betfair, who also support the Hands and Heels series as part of their involvement in developing young, potential jockeys, it is part of Betfair’s voluntary levy which is welcomed and appreciated by all racecourses. The race sees an entry for Overyou, a winner for Elliott Cooper at Hexham last Saturday. The former jockey, based just south of Carlisle, also has King Benny entered.

Lucinda Russell has one of the north’s biggest jumping strings and she could give Tanzanite Bay her handicap debut in this.

The racecourse is taking full advantage of its last meeting before the clocks change, with live music and a DJ scheduled to play until 10pm after racing in the Tweedie Stand bar.