Until last week Equinoctial, who sprung a 250-1 shock in a novices’ hurdle at Kelso on 21st November 1990, was the biggest-priced winner in Britain and Ireland since records began.
But that statistic changed at Leopardstown on Thursday when He Knows No Fear made history when scoring at the massive odds of 300-1.
Mind you that victory was on the Flat so Kelso can still claim the all-time record for the biggest winning SP over jumps!
Meanwhile a restructured management team is preparing for the resumption of racing at the borders venue on 16th September following the appointment of Matthew Taylor as clerk of the course and the promotion of two other members of staff within the team.
Matthew, who qualified as a clerk at Perth, will inherit a strong groundstaff team from Anthea Morshead, who took the decision in March to concentrate on her roles as clerk at Cartmel and racing manager & raceday clerk at York.
Kelso managing director Jonathan Garratt, who will be overseeing his fourth season at the borders track, paid tribute to Morshead saying: “We will miss Anthea tremendously. She has undertaken two lengthy stints as clerk at Kelso and has guided the team to some fabulous heights, including when Kelso won the Jumps Track Groundstaff Award last year. She leaves with our very best wishes as we owe her a huge debt of thanks for the great legacy that she leaves behind.
“There haven’t been many occasions in the last ten years, at any of the racedays that I have been involved with, when I haven’t walked the track with Anthea beforehand. It’ll feel very strange. It won’t be at all easy to fill her shoes, although Matthew undertook some of his training with Anthea and has undoubtedly been well drilled to take us forward.”
Matthew Taylor said: “Kelso has such a rich history of national hunt racing. I am looking forward to getting started in September and to all of the big races to come: the Borders National in December and races like the Morebattle and Premier Hurdle. It’s great to be involved with Scottish Racing all year round and to have an opportunity to contribute to the further growth of the sport.”
Revealing other developments, Garratt said: “We are a small team, but we have some exceptionally committed individuals with a great deal of experience. Brian Meikle, our highly respected head groundsman, will be reducing his hours a little this winter after twenty-five years of service and will therefore be supported by Connor Armstrong who has been promoted to the new position of deputy head groundsman.
“Connor, who already has eight years under his belt as a groundsman at the racecourse, will have a great opportunity to grow and develop under Brian’s expert eye and this will bring further strength in depth to the team.
“Our regular customers will be aware that Trish Spours has been integral to the administrative operation at Kelso for many years and she will fulfil another new role as assistant manager.”
The first of Kelso’s autumn fixtures is scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening 16th September. Discussions are continuing between Scottish Racing and the Scottish Government with respect to guidelines for admitting members of the public to the races.
Best wishes to go to Thomas Willmott who suffered some painful injuries in a spill at Perth on Tuesday night.
Thomas broke his collarbone, shoulder blade and three ribs when Emirat De Catana came down at the last fence when holding every chance in the novices’ handicap chase.
Thomas, who is based with Lucinda Russell, hopes to be back in the saddle as soon as possible and is likely to spend some of his recuperation at Jack Berry House in Malton.
After a busy spell, there is no racing in Scotland this week although I see Keith Dalgleish, Iain Jardine and Jim Goldie have entries at the likes of Catterick, Beverley, York and Chester.
Racing north of the border gets back underway on Monday, August 24th at Ayr where 207 entries, including recent Stewards’ Cup hero Summerghand, have been received next month’s QTS Ayr Gold Cup.
Don’t forget to check out our Twitter feed (@ScottishRacing) and www.scottishracing.co.uk for all the latest news.