Kelso course leading from the front as curtain rises on 2020
The first race meeting of 2020 takes place at Kelso Racecourse this Sunday, when the Borders track takes centre stage as the lead fixture of the day.
Early Bird tickets can be purchased online until 2pm tomorrow (Friday), while children aged 17 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a responsible adult.
The feature race is a £20,000 handicap hurdle which has attracted entries from far and wide, including the Tim Vaughan-trained Tight Call, from Wales, and the David Pipe-trained Golden Jeffrey, from Devon, who won his Bumper at Kelso back in May 2017.
Elvis Mail is likely to represent a strong home-team according to his in-form trainer, Nick Alexander. The Kinneston trainer’s daughter Lucy will be in the saddle and, while he didn’t give his true running at Newbury in November, he has won twice previously at Kelso.
Donald McCain has two entries – Chti Balko and Fin And Game.
The first race on the programme, at 12.20pm, is the EBF National Hunt Novices Hurdle. Favourites have a great record in this race, having won three of the last four runnings, and Kiltealy could enhance that trend further.
He’s a rare entry for Lambourn trainer Jamie Snowden, who has been successful with one of his three previous runners at the track. Adrian Heskin has been booked for the ride.
Greenlaw handler Sandy Thomson was successful with Dimple in the William Hill Bookmakers Handicap Chase last year and has pencilled in Aloomomo for the same race.
Owned by the Large G&T Partnership, Aloomomo was an encouraging fifth at Doncaster last month on his first run for Sandy, having been off the track for 20 months.
Among 25 entries for the two-mile, at 1.25pm, Jabbaar stands out for the Carrutherstown-based Iain Jardine. He was an impressive hurdles debut winner at Sedgefield on Boxing Day, having been a smart horse on the Flat with five wins to his name.
David and Nicky Robinson saw their colours carried to victory in the Racing TV Handicap Chase last year by Chidswell and the Lake District owners are set to be represented by Chapel Stile, a narrow winner at Carlisle before Christmas, in the same race.
Strong opposition could come from Claud And Goldie, who took Kelso’s £40,000 Veterans’ Chase in December in dramatic style with a storming finish for the Sandy Forster team and winning owners The Borders Racers.
Knockoura, trained by Maurice Barnes, is on a hat-trick after scoring at Ayr and Bangor, while Lucinda Russell’s Looks Like Murt was travelling like a winner when falling at Newcastle recently.
Ex-jump jockey Darragh Bourke is Scotland’s newest training recruit. The Dumfriesshire trainer is represented by Gallahers Cross in the final race of the day, dropping back to this two-mile trip as he bids for his first win.
The gates open 10.30am for the seven-race programme.
The first race is due off at 12.20pm and the final race at 3.35pm.