Rivalries to fore as principals race at Kelso

Competing in the Principals race at Kelso, Natasha Gray from Yetholm, Chris Rogerson from Lauder and Nicolle Burns from Duns.
Competing in the Principals race at Kelso, Natasha Gray from Yetholm, Chris Rogerson from Lauder and Nicolle Burns from Duns.

They might have ridden together in solidarity over the summer, but any pleasantries shown then were firmly pushed to the side at the weekend.

Borders common riding principals were in firm racing fettle as they took to the field for the opening race at Kelso Racecourse on Sunday.

Jedburgh Callant Nick Arnold having a bet on his favourite principal at Kelso, with Marie Gallagher, Chloe Wight and Carol Marshall.

Jedburgh Callant Nick Arnold having a bet on his favourite principal at Kelso, with Marie Gallagher, Chloe Wight and Carol Marshall.

The 15th annual principals’ race boasted a field of 14 jockeys for a day, including Lauder Cornet Chris Rogerson, Yetholm Bari Manushi Natasha Gray, Peebles Cornet’s Lass Loryn Pateron and Duns Reiver’s Lass Nicolle Burns.

They were up against their counterparts from Musselburgh, West Linton, Sanguhar, Lanark, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Biggar, Lockerbie and Berwick.

They battled it out on the flat, decked in their town-sponsored jockey colours, over a one-furlong sprint after high winds put paid at the last minute to the traditional four-furlong race, held annually since 2004.

It was Annan Cornet’s Lass Niamh Dobie who triumphed on Cha Cha Cha, followed by Edinburgh principal Gary Ulke on Jive and Lockerbie lass Krystal Anderson on Samba.

Yetholm's Bari Manushi Natasha Gray.

Yetholm's Bari Manushi Natasha Gray.

And while there may have been a drop in numbers of principals on the course, there were plenty outwith the saddle with a number of town’s nominated representatives supporting their counterparts from the sidelines.

Thomas Wilmott, Selkirk attendant, Alex Mundell Gala Braw Lass 2016 and Abbie Frankland Gala Braw Lass 2015 at the races.

Thomas Wilmott, Selkirk attendant, Alex Mundell Gala Braw Lass 2016 and Abbie Frankland Gala Braw Lass 2015 at the races.