New horse-racing season at Kelso starts with charity event
Managing director Jonathan Garratt is expecting the coming season to be the Berrymoss track’s busiest since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in April 2022, saying: “Each of the last two seasons has been affected by the pandemic to some degree but we’re seeing a significant upturn in ticket sales this year.
“Hospitality packages for a couple of our busiest days are already close to being sold and there’s a really strong recovery in group bookings.
“While we’re awaiting publication of the 2024 fixture list by the British Horseracing Authority, we know that two of our spring fixtures have been selected for premier status and that means both Morebattle Hurdle day and the Go North Finals Day will receive significant uplifts in prize money.”
Next month’s Edinburgh Gin Handicap Chase is also increasing in value, to £50,000, and Perth and Kinross trainer Lucinda Russell is lining up an entry for Corach Rambler, this year’s Aintree Grand National winner.
“Having won the Grand National and back-to-back renewals of the Ultima Handicap Chase, the plan is for Corach Rambler to step out of handicap company this season in the hope that he can develop into a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender,” said the 57-year-old.
“Whilst obviously still a long way off, an early-season target we have in mind is the grade-one Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday, November 25.
“We’d probably look to get a run into him beforehand and the Edinburgh Gin Handicap Chase at Kelso on Saturday, October 28, is a race that will certainly come into consideration. It would fit in perfectly from a timing perspective.
“It's a race we love to support, having won it with One for Arthur back in 2016.
“Michael Scudamore, who is set to join me on my training licence in the coming months, has also won it twice in the last ten years, so it is a race the yard has a bit of history in.”
That race could also be on the agenda, as an early-season warm-up, for North Yorkshire handler Patrick Neville’s 2023 Cheltenham Festival-winning novice chaser the Real Whacker and March’s Kelso Premier Chase winner, Empire Steel, trained by Sandy Thomson near Greenlaw.
Next week’s meeting, a charity evening in aid of the Galashiels-based Borders Carers Centre, features six races starting at 4.25pm.
Tickets cost from £12 online in advance or £21 on the day. For details, go to https://www.kelso-races.co.uk/