Kelso course welcomes back small crowd for season's last races

Annual members of Kelso Racecourse are being allowed to attend its final race meeting of the season this Sunday following approval by the relevant authorities.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 27th May 2021, 9:25 am

The meeting will be the first sporting event in the Borders to have a crowd present, albeit a very small one, for over a year.

No additional tickets will be sold for the race meeting, subject to a heavy restriction on numbers as part of a trial which could lead to larger crowds in the autumn.

Managing director Jonathan Garratt said: “We are relieved the local authority has approved access for our annual members, in addition to racehorse owners. Both groups have been incredibly patient and supportive throughout the long and highly restricted winter season.

“We very much hope that, following our summer break, we can open our gates to a wider audience and extend our usual warm welcome.”

Trainer Alison Hamilton, of the Dykes Farm House yard in Denholm, is looking for a big run from her stable star Skyhill before he gets turned out to grass for the summer. The two-time Kelso course winner, who won four races on the trot a couple of seasons back, is set to be ridden by the trainer’s nephew, Jamie Hamilton, in the Racing TV Supports Racing Handicap Hurdle.

Skyhill is one of 19 entries in the near 3m 2f event and possible opposition includes course and distance winners Court Baloo and Dequall, trained locally by Alistair Whillans and Stuart Coltherd respectively.

Do Not Disturb is another returning Kelso scorer and Rose Dobbin’s charge is among nine entries for the Subscribe To Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase over 2m 7f. Craig Nichol has again been booked for the ride after steering his partner recently to a handsome six and a half length victory.

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning pilot Paddy Brennan has been jocked up on Valentino Dancer by Fergal O’Brien in the William Hill Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle. O’Brien enjoyed a personal-best 104 winners last season, when both his runners at Kelso were successful. His overall course strike-rate of 45 per cent is his highest on any jumps track in Britain.