New team at the helm as Kelso gets ready to race

Animore wins the SPG Fire & Security Ltd Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Race at Kelso in DecemberAnimore wins the SPG Fire & Security Ltd Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Race at Kelso in December
Animore wins the SPG Fire & Security Ltd Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Race at Kelso in December
A restructured management team is preparing for the resumption of racing at Kelso Racecourse in mid-September, following the appointment of Matthew Taylor as clerk of the course and the promotion of two other members of staff within the team.

Matthew Taylor, who qualified as a clerk of the course at Perth Racecourse, will inherit a strong groundstaff team from Anthea Morshead, who took the decision in March to concentrate on her roles as clerk of the course at Cartmel, and racing manager and raceday clerk of the course at York Racecourse.

Managing director Jonathan Garratt, who will be overseeing his fourth season at the Borders track, paid tribute to Antha, saying: “We will miss her tremendously. She has undertaken two lengthy stints as clerk of the course at Kelso and has guided the team to some fabulous heights, including when Kelso won the Jumps Track Groundstaff Award last year.

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“She leaves with our very best wishes, as we owe her a huge debt of thanks for the great legacy she leaves behind.

“There haven’t been many occasions in the last 10 years, at any of the racedays that I have been involved with, when I haven’t walked the track with Anthea beforehand. It’ll feel very strange. It won’t be at all easy to fill her shoes, although Matthew undertook some of his training with Anthea and has undoubtedly been well drilled to take us forward.”

Matthew Taylor said: “Kelso has such a rich history of National Hunt racing. I am looking forward to getting started in September and to all of the big races to come – the Borders National in December and races like the Morebattle and the Premier Hurdle in March. It’s great to be involved with Scottish Racing all year round and to have an opportunity to contribute to the further growth of the sport.”

Outlining other developments, Mr Garratt said: “We are a small team but we have some exceptionally committed individuals with a great deal of experience. Brian Meikle, our highly respected head groundsman, will be reducing his hours a little this winter after 25 years of service and will, therefore, be supported by Connor Armstrong, who has been promoted to the new position of deputy head groundsman.

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“Connor, who already has eight years under his belt as a groundsman at the racecourse, will have a great opportunity to grow and develop under Brian’s expert eye and this will bring further strength in depth to the team.

“Our regular customers will be aware that Trish Spours has been integral to the administrative operation at Kelso Racecourse for many years and she will fulfil another new role as assistant manager.”

The first of Kelso’s autumn fixtures is scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening, September 16. Discussions are continuing between Scottish Racing, the BHA and the Scottish Government with respect to guidelines for admitting members of the public to the races.

Mr Garratt said: “We are optimistic that there could be some pilot events with crowds in Scotland in the near future and that we may be permitted to have a limited crowd at Kelso when we reopen.”

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Autumn fixtures 2020 – Wednesday, September 16; Sunday, October 4, Saturday, October 24; Saturday, November 7; Sunday, December 6 and Tueday, December 29.

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