Kelso racecourse at centre of three-day sporting spectacular

The forthcoming Go North Weekend of racing provides another superb showcase event for Kelso as one of its principal venues.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:29 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:54 am
Vintage Clouds being ridden by Borders jockey Ryan Mania at the Cheltenham Festival last week (Photo by Tim Goode/pool/Getty Images)

The Borders track is hosting the midway stage of that three-part spectacular on Saturday.

Just five days after a cracking card on Monday, there is £136,000 up for grabs at the seven-race behind-closed-doors meeting.

That event – and the others at Carlisle on Friday and Musselburgh on Sunday – could also spell further success for participants such as Borders jockey Ryan Mania, whose opening-day success at Cheltenham last week was the talk of the festival.

Mania, from Galashiels, romped to a 28-1 victory on board Vintage Clouds in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

It was hailed as a magnificent accomplishment by the 31-year-old, catapulted to stardom in 2013 by piloting Auroras Encore to victory at Aintree’s Grand National only to announce his retirement as a jockey the year after because of weight issues and disenchantment with the sport.

He reappeared in October 2019 and, since then, has ridden fairly extenisvely for National hunt trainer Sandy Thomson, of Greenlaw, near Kelso.

Thomson said: “I am delighted for him. He gave it a great ride. He has come back and probably shown himself to be a better jockey than he was before he retired.”

Saturday’s programme at Kelso is supported by the British Horseracing Authority and sponsored by the Racing Post.

Jonathan Garratt, the course’s managing director, said: “The original plan was for spectators to be encouraged to stay in the region and visit all three racecourses.

“Sadly, that’s not possible because of Covid, but we’ve decided to retain the races because it will build anticipation for next year.”

Saltburn-by-the-Sea trainer Gillian Boanas has two exciting entries, Crixus’s Escape, in the Paxtons For Kverneland in the Borders Handicap Chase, and Sultans Pride, in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle, with both races carrying a guaranteed prize-pot of £35,000.

Potential rivals to Crixus’s Escape include the Nicky Richards-trained Chapel Style and Claud and Goldie, a local raider from Sandy Forster’s Yetholm stables, a winner at Kelso in February.

The other feature race is the £30,000 William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Handicap Hurdle.