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The Weekly Blog

Happy Days

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clearer again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again


I didn’t actually hear any Kelso Annual Members singing the lyrics of Jack Yellen’s 1929 song as they came through the gate on Sunday, but they might have been – such was the wave of manifest joy that broke upon the racecourse as we were finally permitted to admit a small crowd of racegoers.

Having been adopted as Franklin D Roosevelt’s presidential campaign song in 1932, the lyrics were adapted shortly afterwards when prohibition laws were repealed: ‘Happy days are beer again’.

Indeed, there were a few beers drunk at the racecourse – a few gins and whiskies too, all served to the table in accordance with the Government’s current hospitality rules. But mainly, it seemed, the spectators were content to drink in the happy atmosphere.

There’s always an element of trepidation on raceday morning: Will anyone turn up? Will they be in good spirits? Will the regulars mind if their normal bar isn’t open or might they be grumpy that they can’t stand in their usual viewing position?

We needn’t have been concerned: racegoers at Kelso (just as they have been throughout England and Scotland) were jubilant at the prospect of returning to the races. Today it was announced that soon racegoers in Wales will be allowed to go racing too.

We’ve seen joy, felicity and many other very happy girls at the races – all obliged to give their names for track and trace purposes.

There has been joviality, cheeriness, exhilaration, elation, euphoria, bliss and gleeful celebrations – every form of gladness you can possibly imagine, except in the betting ring where the bookmakers wept at the damage inflicted on their wallets by punters who’d backed Noel Kelly’s two winners from over the Irish Sea. Wailing and gnashing of teeth doesn’t quite cover it… But they’ll probably have recovered by the time we race again in September.

For now, despite further relaxation to the lockdown rules in the Scottish Borders, the track has been put to bed. The steeplechase fences are being dismantled and brought into the yard for replenishing with fresh birch. The running rail will be washed and stacked, the starter’s rostrum stored away.

For jump racing fans who are left just a little bit cold by the World’s greatest Flat race on Saturday (our selection for the Derby is the favourite Bolshoi Ballet), there is the ‘bet365 Sam Morshead Perth Gold Cup’ on Sunday, when this blog’s money will be on Soupy Soups – who loves Perth Racecourse almost as much as the most ardent of Annual Members.

Altogether now:

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days,
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days,
The weekend comes, the racegoer hums,
Ready to go racing with you!

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