Richard Gauthier Collection

Kelso Racecourse

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.

Kelso 1999.JPG (12137 bytes)
kelso 2006p.JPG (36933 bytes)