Groundstaff on winner at Kelso

Brian Meikle, Head Groundsman and Hazel Peplinski, Clerk of the Course
Brian Meikle, Head Groundsman and Hazel Peplinski, Clerk of the Course

The ground staff at Kelso Racecourse are to be awarded with the British Horse Racing Authorities’ highest possible accolade.

The ‘Groundstaff of the Year’ award will be presented to Kelso’s head groundsman, Brian Meikle, at Sunday’s race meeting.

Brian said: “I am incredibly proud to have won this award, but it is very much a team effort and I am very grateful to Logan Knox, David Greer and our two hard working helpers, Ally Neil and Connor Armstrong, not forgetting my hardworking wife, Gillian, who is very much part of the team.”

Sunday (December 8) sees the return of the Scottish Borders National Day, attracting horses from all over the UK in the foremost steeplechase of the year in the Borders. It is one of the highlights of the year for Kelso and is only possible as a result of the exceptional standard of the course.

Keeping the ground in tip top condition for such an important day of racing takes a huge amount of effort from all the groundstaff. Together with considerable investment in machinery, drainage and irrigation, coupled with a huge improvement in grass choice and a scientific application of fertilisers, Kelso is up there with the best in the country.

Brian explained what it takes to ensure that the course is in optimum condition for such an important race day: “We have kept a fresh piece of track especially for the day, and also added an extra section to the inside of all of the fences to ensure a perfect jumping track for the horses.

“All of the bends and approaches to fences will be on fresh ground and this will make a huge difference on the day. The ground is in great condition and ideal for this time of year.

“We are seeing a marked difference in the ground from this time last year, and we hope to attract some top class horses for the Scottish Borders National on Sunday.”

Kelso Racecourse has been operating on the present site since 1822.