The Border Post | Horse Racing Blog | Cartmel | Kelso Racecourse

The Weekly Blog

Best Laid Plans

Apparently God planned to use wasps to pollinate all the flowers on Earth, but eventually he had to settle for plan Bee.

The very best laid plans can go awry and, unfortunately, this weekend that includes all our plans for racing at Kelso. Persistent rain throughout the week led to the track becoming waterlogged and Saturday’s meeting was abandoned following an inspection on Friday morning.

The loss of the meeting is particularly frustrating because the seven-race programme was set to be broadcast live by the ITV Racing team and featured two Go North Series Finals as well as the final of the Herring Queen Novice Hurdle Series for mares. And with the loss of those races, lots of other plans have been upset too…

Nine runners were due to contest the Jodami National Hunt Flat Race Final and a maximum field of sixteen were due to line up for the Cab On Target Final, a handicap hurdle over two-and-a-half miles, representing fifteen different trainers – all of whom had plotted their route to the final through a minimum of three qualifying events staged at racecourses located in the North of Britain. As one trainer commented “It’s like our own mini-Cheltenham Festival, it gives us all something to aim at.”

Unlike the two Go North Series finals, the qualifying races for the Herring Queen Final were staged at racecourses all over Britain and the £100,000 prize fund had attracted twelve declared runners from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In an open contest, the connections of each and every runner will have fancied their chance of lifting the pot and had made appropriate travel plans. Twenty-three of the seventy runners declared to race at Kelso on Saturday were intending to leave their yards on Friday and stay overnight in the Scottish Borders.

While the decision to abandon the races has spared many people and horses a wasted journey, some travel plans were already advanced. For example, the ITV studio, broadcast equipment and most of the production team had already reached Kelso, or were well on their way. On Saturday the ITV Racing team will cover racing from the all-weather tracks at Kempton and Chelmsford, but the presenters will be sat here in their trucks in the middle of Kelso Racecourse.

The remainder of the Go North Finals are due to take place at Musselburgh (on Friday evening) and Carlisle (on Sunday – where our selection is Jet Legs in the Monet’s Garden Final), we are currently in discussion as to whether there is a way to save some or all of the race finals that were scheduled at Kelso. We’ll see what happens over the weekend and discuss with the British Horseracing Authority early next week – in the hope that we can soon announce a plan B.