Kelso Racecourse History

The earliest evidence of racing in the vicinity of Kelso was in 1733 at Caverton Edge when a two day meeting took place on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th September 1733 as shown below by the extract from the Caledonian Mercury (shown courtesy of the British Newspaper Online). Later the Royal Caledonian Hunt Club, founded in 1777 at Hamilton, sponsored a meeting at Kelso in 1779 and continued to hold meetings in the town for the next 7 years before deserting Kelso in favour of Ayr in 1786. In 1793 a prestigious King’s Guineas race was contested at Kelso, but meetings became sporadic and it was almost 30 years before racing was staged at Blakelaw in 1821. A very rare racecard, together with results from the race, is shown below. This course did not prove to be suitable and within a year a foundation stone for a new grandstand was laid on 24th September 1822 at Berrymoss.  The classic grandstand, designed by York architect John Carr, was sponsored by the Duke of Roxburghe, and the new course and grandstand opened on Wednesday 16th April 1823. There was a successful period of racing between 1823 and 1832, after which attendances began to decline. The final meeting took place in 1847 when entries also dropped to an all-time low. In 1854 the Border Racing Club was formed, but regular meetings under the direction of the Border Hunt Steeplechases Group did not take place until 1883, lasting until 1911. By 1912 Kelso extended their programme of races to two meetings annually, continuing to be billed as ‘United Border Hunt races’ until 1951. The meetings were advertised as Kelso races for the first time in 1952, and the meeting has grown in popularity ever since. The principal race is the Grade 2 Premier Kelso Hurdle over 2 miles 2 furlongs which was first contested in 1990. Full results are shown below. Currently the course hosts 14 fixtures annually.

Although Kelso remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Berwick closed its gates for the final time in 1862.

The Northumbrian town of Berwick-upon-Tweed first held races in April 1684 when three races were contested for the Berwick £20 Town Plate, the £30 Town Plate and the Smaller Town Plate. A condition of entry was that horses had to be stabled in Berwick fourteen days prior to the races. A two day meeting took place on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th September 1770 when a Purse of Gold was offered each day. Race meetings were run intermittently for the next 90 years until a penultimate meeting was staged at Kimmergham Mains on Thursday 2nd May 1861. It was a splendid gathering with her Grace, the Duchess of Roxburgh, in attendance to witness Captain G Suttie’s Vintor win the Berwickshire Steeplechase.The final meeting, organised by the Berwickshire Hunt Committee, took place at Harcase Farm, near Duns, on Wednesday 2nd April 1862 when the Hunt Steeplechase proved to be particularly successful for Donald Campbell who occupied first and second with Flibbertygibbet and Telegraph. The later Scottish Grand National Hunt Steeplechase was won in impressive style by Mr J Usher’s Benvoirlich. In 1939 the Town Council drew up plans for racing to return to the area after a lapse of 77 years, but the project was rejected.
Thursday 2nd May 1861
Berwick Harriers Hunt Cup
1. Cahirmee, bay gelding owned by Mr T Calder
2. Brunette, bay mare owned by Captain G Suttie
3. King Arthur, aged horse owned by Mr R Calder

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1856 map shown below.
The front cover/ principal races from this rare racecard are provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection. The meeting was held at Blakelaw Edge on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th August 1821.

1 Hambletonian, bay colt by Haphazard owned by Sir Alexander Don
2. Carnival, bay colt by Young Whiskey owned by Mr Pringle
3. Salamanca, grey filly owned by Mr Baillie

1. Unnamed chestnut colt by Stamford owned by Mr R Bogue 2 1 1
2. The Sheriff, bay horse owned by Mr G Marshall 1 2 2

1. Unnamed bay filly by Viscount out of Penelope, owned by Mr Baillie
Walked Over

Kelso 1956a.JPG (12732 bytes)
1956 Ladies 1959 Ladies 1961 Ladies 1962 Ladies 1965 Ladies
1960 Ladies 1966 Ladies 1967 Ladies 1968 Gents 1969 Matched Pair
1970 Gents 1970 Ladies 1970 Gents 1976 Gents 1978 Gents
1979 Gents 1980 Gents 1981 Gents 1982 Gents 1985 Gents
1986 Gents 1987 Gents 1988 Gents 1989 Gents 1990 Gents

1990 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Ambuscade trained by George Moore and ridden by Mark Dwyer

1991 Gents 1992 Gents 1993 Gents 1994 Gents 1995 Gents

1991 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Abbot of Furness trained by Gordon W Richards and ridden by Neale Doughty
1992 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Preoblakensky trained by Gordon W Richards and ridden by Neale Doughty
1993 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Majed trained by Mary Reveley and ridden by Peter Niven
1994 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Morceli trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by James Moffatt
1995 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Wills Telmar trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by Neale Doughty

Kelso 1999.JPG (12137 bytes)
1996 Gents 1997 Gents 1998 Gents 1999 Gents 2000 Gents

1996 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Penny a Day trained by Mary Reveley and ridden by Peter Niven
1997 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Marello trained by Mary Reveley and ridden by Peter Niven
1998 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Leviticus trained by Tom Tate and ridden by Jason Callaghan
1999 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Crazy Horse trained by Len Lungo and ridden by Robbie Supple
2000 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Master Tern trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by Tony Dobbin

2001 Gents 2002 Gents 2003 Gents 2004 Gents 2005 Gents

2001 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was not contested
2002 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was not contested
2003 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Covent Garden trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by Graham Lee
2004 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Paddy the Piper trained by Len Lungo and ridden by Tony Dobbin
2005 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Mephisto trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by Warren Marston

kelso 2006p.JPG (36933 bytes)
2006 Gents 2007 Gents 2008 Gents 2009 Gents 2010 Gents

2006 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was not contested
2007 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Bywell Beau trained by George Charlton and ridden by Jan Faltejsek
2008 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Ignotus trained by Alan Swinbank and ridden by Mr Tom Greenall
2009 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Knockara Beau trained by George Charlton and ridden by Jan Faltejsek
2010 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Bygones of Brid trained by Karen McLintock and ridden by Graham Lee

 
2011 Gents 2012 Gents 2013 Gents 2014 Gents  

2011 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Bold Sir Brian trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Peter Buchanan
2012 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Tap Night trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Peter Buchanan
2013 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Mwaleshi trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Jonathan England
2014 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Clever Cookie trained by Peter Niven and ridden by Wilson Renwick
2015 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Glingerburn trained by Nicky Richards and ridden by Brian Harding
2016 The Premier Kelso Hurdle was won by Le Prezien trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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