The three-mile feature race could mark the seasonal debut of Grand National winner One for Arthur, who took this valuable race in 2016 on his way to glory at Aintree the following spring.
Borders-owned Arthur was fourth to Mysteree 12 months ago, while third-placed Amalfi Doug, trained by Keith Dalgleish, is another notable entry.
One for Arthur’s trainer Lucinda Russell is also represented by Big River, a six-time winner at Kelso and one of nine previous course winners engaged in a strong-looking feature at the five-day stage.
Nicky Richards is double-handed as well, with Chidswell and his 2019 Scottish National winner Takingrisks.
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The top-rated horse, on a BHA mark of 155, is Truckers Lodge, an impressive winner of this year’s Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter for 11-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
Greystoke-based Richards said: “The target last season for Takingrisks was Aintree but, obviously, that didn’t happen. We gave him a spin at Ayr racecourse a couple of weeks ago and he has won at Kelso a couple of times previously, so it’s a good starting point.”
While last year’s winner was sent off at 10-1, the four previous scorers were all well-backed favourites.
The maiden hurdle, the first race on the programme, is always hotly contested.
Entries include potential runners from some of the UK’s leading trainers including Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton, Tom George and Donald McCain, who has five horses pencilled in from his Cheshire stable.
Lucinda Russell could be double-handed with Spark of Madness and Bollingerandkrug, who looks to have a bright future.
Rose Dobbin is another to have two entries in a race which could easily be run as two divisions, including the promising Trooper Turnbull and Style Nelson.
Begoodtoyourself, bang in contention when falling two out on his chasing debut at Sedgefield last month, could be a first-ever runner at Kelso for his Lancashire trainer Christopher Kellett.
He’s entered in the three-mile novices’ handicap steeplechase at 1.25pm.
The largest entry, with 44 horses, is the William Hill handicap hurdle at 2.33pm.
The race has been won by a northern or Scottish trainer for the past 10 years and Keith Dalgleish, Alistair Whillans and Lucinda Russell have all at least one entry apiece.
The first of seven races is currently set to get under way at 12.50pm although, with 172 horses entered in total, the addition of an eighth race does appear likely.
Members of the public are not currently permitted to attend the races but all action will be broadcast live on the Racing TV subscription channel.