What’s On This Week? Kelso takes centre stage

Features | 27th February 2023

The focus shifts to the Scottish borders this weekend with Kelso racecourse staging its biggest race meeting of the year.

There is £275,000 in prizemoney up for grabs on the seven-race card as one of Britain’s friendliest racecourses, Kelso,  celebrates the highlight of its season.

The historic Scottish track stages the Premier Novices’ Hurdle, the prestigious Morebattle Hurdle, as well as the Premier Chase.

There could be some Cheltenham clues at the fixture even at this late stage. Two years ago The Shunter landed the Morebattle Hurdle before going on to win The Plate over fences at the Festival.

The Premier Hurdle was also won by subsequent County Hurdle hero Master Tern – carrying the famous JP McManus colours – back in 2020.

This year, Kingwell Hurdle hero I Like To Move It, Grand National hope Le Milos, Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Ga Law and impressive Newbury scorer Zanza all figure among the day’s entries. The Shunter could also make a return to Kelso in the Premier Chase.

Runners go past the stand at Kelso
Runners in The bet365 Morebattle Hurdle passing The Kelso Grandstand

Taking A Stand

The racing will take place in front of one of the oldest and most charming grandstands. Dating back to 1822, it is a Listed building and contains many Georgian features with cosy fireplaces and stunning architecture.

It was designed by renowned architect John Carr and has done well to survive as long as it has. In 1913 a group of suffragettes tried to burn it down to highlight their cause.Now it is the impressive focal point of the racecourse and offers picturesque views across the track.

Ludlow Racecourse
Runners head back towards the stands at Ludlow Racecourse

Action South of The Border

Newbury hosts a two-day meeting on Friday and Saturday. The feature race is the BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup. The race is sponsored in recognition of the Marlborough-based charity that cares for retired racehorses.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has entered Espoir De Guye this week as he attempts to win the 2m4f chase for the tenth time. There is likely to be many familiar names on show in leg three of the Veterans’ Chase Series on the same card. Among the entries are big-race winners Cloth Cap, De Rasher Counter and Elegant Escape.

Doncaster also stages a two-day meeting. The highlight of Saturday’s card is the Grimthorpe Chase. There is also all-weather Flat action at Lingfield and Wolverhampton.

It’s not all about the weekend as there is plenty of good racing leading up to it. Ludlow holds its Forbra Gold Cup day on Thursday. Last year’s winner Java Point could attempt to keep the trophy at Tom George’s Cotswold yard. He is likely to face stiff competition from Dan Skelton’s hat-trick seeking Hidden Heroics and Paul Nicholls’ Jeremey Pass.

The excitement might be increasing to boiling point as the Cheltenham Festival gets ever-nearer but there is a huge amount of racing to look forward to this week.