Racing returns to Kelso on Sunday with a very competitive seven race card and also plays host to the track’s fifth annual Countryside Race Day.
With the first race off at 12.15pm gates open early at 10am to give race goers a chance to sample a wide range of supporting events and attractions adding to a great day.
Kelso is thrilled to be staging their second foxhound show, which has again been well supported by local packs from the Scottish Borders and surrounding North Northumberland area, all competing for the John Manners Championship Trophy. Won last year by the Jedforest Hunt who are back to try and regain their title, however there is fierce competition from The Percy Hunt, Berwickshire Hunt and Duke of Buccleuch.
Countryside Day also features ferret racing, The Border Hound Trailing Association, Drakes of Hazard display team and a birds of prey demonstration taking place throughout the afternoon.
The feature race of the day commemorates the magnificent contribution Reg and Betty Tweedie made to Kelso racecourse.
Reg Tweedie a chariman and patron of the course was instrumental in putting Kelso firmly on the map of the National Hunt racing scene. They are fondly remembered in the fourth race of the day which is kindly sponsored by David Stevenson of Ashleybank Investments.
Horses trained by Donald McCain are a regular sight to borders racegoers and Alderley Rover should give a good account of himself after two solid efforts over fences already this autumn. John Wade has seen his colours successful on several occasions recently and narrow Hexham chase debut winner Club Class could go close again.
The second race on the card a Beginners Chase sees Alfie Flits, third in the Grade 2 Premier Kelso Novices’ Hurdle in 2009, as an interesting chasing recruit. Alan Swinbank’s charge is rated 139 over hurdles. Blackpool Billy, who carries the colours of Trevor Hemmings, has been off the track since his chasing debut over two years ago but remains well-regarded by Ferdy Murphy
New sponsors involved on Countryside Day are Cleland’s Garage from Galashiels. Clelands are one of the leading Jaguar and Volvo dealerships in the UK. Nicky Richards has also entered Glingerbank at Aintree and Musselburgh, but his charge has won over hurdles and fences at Kelso this month in the past. Role On showed terrific form over fences with the Greystoke trainer two season’s ago and, now with Rose Dobbin, is on the comeback trail after 18 months off.
The Coppola Family have been great supporters of the Border Track, once again they have generously sponsored the Novice Hurdle and have been rewarded by a particularly competitive event. Winning Irish pointer Davy Boy Legend, a close seventh in the Charlie Brown United Border Open Hunters’ Chase at Kelso in May, could make his hurdling debut for Dalkeith permit-holder Josette Ross. Funky Munky has some decent form on the Flat and is sure to have been well-schooled for his hurdling debut by bang-in-form Hawick trainer Alistair Whillans.
Ron and Mary Mitchell are celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary by sponsoring the fifth race on the card, the two mile Handicap Hurdle.
The final race on the card has some shrewd stables are represented in what is shaping up to be yet another hot Kelso bumper.