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The Weekly Blog

Here is the Forecast…

Here is the forecast for Scotland and the North of England:

It’s going to be shirt-sleeve order and summer-dresses in Scotland, where there’ll be a variety of outstanding outfits on show at the forthcoming Ladies Days at Perth (Thursday 17th May), Kelso (Sunday 27th May) and Musselburgh (Saturday 2nd June).

On each of those days there’ll be a 99% chance of chilled sparkling wine, with the smattering of Rosé.

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The Weekly Blog

The Honest Racecourse

When the Earl of Murray, the Regent of Scotland, died in Musselburgh in 1332, the next Regent offered to reward the local residents for the care that they’d given to his predecessor. The townsfolk declined the reward, claiming that they were only doing their duty, eliciting the comment that they were ‘a set of honest men’ – resulting in Musselburgh’s epithet ‘The Honest Toun’.

It’s an old toun too; the Romans built fortifications close to the River Esk, on an area that was probably populated more than two thousand years ago, presumably to keep the East Lothian councillors at bay.

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The Weekly Blog

Champions

Roy Castle, the presenter of the children’s TV show Record Breakers, used to sing: “If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the best, dedication is what it takes.”

However, according to Jordyn Smith, all you need to become a Junior World Champion in Taekwondo is red hair. The Falkirk based 17-year-old, who has just won a gold medal in Tunisia, was initially taken to Taekwondo training sessions at the age of four because her father was concerned that she might get picked on because of her hair colour.

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The Weekly Blog

Welcome Yin and A’

Kelso Racecourse is one of the most diverse venues in Britain – welcoming, as it does, visitors from Galashiels, Selkirk… and Hawick.

Normally, of course, people from the Border towns (or ‘toons’ as the local dialect terms them) wouldn’t spend much time associating with one another. Rivalry is intense and residents of Hawick have often been heard to argue that there’s only ever been one good thing to come out of Galashiels; it’s called the A7.

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The Weekly Blog

The Aintree Dream

Once experienced, no one ever forgets the Aintree Dream. I know because I had an Aintree Dream a couple of years ago – I was riding a big black horse for the Cartmel-based trainer Jimmy Moffatt, on which I soared over all the fences and finished second in the World’s greatest steeplechase.

The feeling of total exhilaration was like nothing else, until I realised that I was still wearing my pyjamas.

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The Weekly Blog

Midsomer Racing

I’ve been excitedly telling everyone, or at least anyone that will listen, that the ITV racing team will be in the Scottish Borders on Saturday in order to present coverage of the races from Kelso. Which is absolutely true, but also slightly confusing.

Because if you tune your telly to ITV on Saturday afternoon, expecting to see the horseracing, you’ll probably witness a murder. It’s the one where DCI Barnaby investigates the outspoken proprietor of Midsomer Life Magazine, after a dead body is found in Midsomer Sonning. I think I’ve seen it before and I don’t think there were any horses in it. Maybe one – but it wasn’t a Thoroughbred.

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The Weekly Blog

Keep the Faith

As April Fool stunts go, dying and then being discovered alive again is quite a biggie.

It certainly got people talking when John Darwin did it in 2002. He was the man who paddled out to sea from a beach near Hartlepool, sparking a large-scale search which eventually ended when they found his empty canoe. He reappeared five years later and received a six-year prison sentence for his trouble. Interestingly, his wife, who colluded but didn’t actually disappear, received a jail term which was three months longer than her husband’s.

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The Weekly Blog

Not So Smart

Readers of last week’s blog will have discovered, by now, that my Cheltenham Festival intelligence, gathered from a friendly time-traveller, was not quite so valuable as first imagined.

I’m fast beginning to wonder whether the late Professor Stephen Hawking wasn’t right after all – and that the physical transference of the human body through time isn’t possible, or at least not without losing all knowledge of the form-book.

Which means that, not only did I waste the price of a pint of beer on my time-travelling friend, but that we may also have to re-examine other theories put forward by the eminent physicist – not least his warning that Artificial Intelligence could pose one of the greatest threats to the future of mankind.

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Back to the Future

While Stephen Hawking was obviously quite a clever chap, I’m sorry to reveal that some of his theories were deeply flawed.

Take, for example, the party that he threw for time travellers in 2009. Apparently the world renowned physicist hosted a lavish event, complete with Champagne and canapés, before sending out an invitation which read: “You are cordially invited to a reception for time travellers hosted by Professor Stephen Hawking, to be held in the past, at the University of Cambridge Gonville & Caius College, Trinity Street, Cambridge.”

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Waiting Patiently

Good things come to those who wait. Which is why you’ll find the customary selection, a 33/1 dead-cert, at the very end of this week’s blog.

Patience should also be rewarded for all the people who were frustrated following the postponement of last weekend’s major events. And that’s not just Kelso’s Totepool Premier Hurdle Day, which has been rescheduled from last Saturday to Sunday 11th March… There was much rejoicing when it was announced that BOG Potato Day had also been saved, although that too has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon, on the other side of the town.

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