Kelso racecourse is located in the market town by the same name within Roxburghshire County, Scotland. It is a National Hunt course owned by Kelso Races Ltd, with events televised on Racing UK.
Racing at Kelso was first recorded in 1734, when it set out as a site for flat racing. The race type continued until 1888, when the United Border Hunt became the first jump race to be introduced at the course. Flat racing ceased in the same period, and it has remained a jump races course to date.
In the course’s early days, races were moved to Balakelaw, but the decision proved unpopular as the new venue was far from town and also lacked grandstands. The result was a plunge in the number of racegoers, and a resultant dip in profits. The races were thus moved back to Berrymoss, and the race going trend shot up again, and has at this point grown into a culture.
Kelso is considered the Scottish home of National Hunt races. It is a peculiarly shaped course, forming a trapezium shape on the circuit, which has a straight starting run hanging out like a human arm. It is a left handed course whose two tracks consist of sharp bends that give races a start-stop kind of dash, requiring high levels of skill and concentration from the jockeys.
It is widely regarded as the friendliest course in Britain, and has scooped the Best Small Racecourse award of the Racegoers Club numerous times.
Road access is the easiest way to get to Kelso, seeing as the closes railway station is Berwick, 22 miles away.
It hosts thirteen fixtures in a season, between January and May. January, April and the final month of May carry the bulk of racing fixtures.
Morebattle Hurdle, Premier Kelso Hurdle and the King’s Own Challenge Cup are the most notable races run at Kelso. Trainers use races at in the first two months of the year to prepare for the Aintree National Hunt.