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Instant Christmas Cheer

Sometimes we all need a little help to get into the Christmas spirit. With ten days to go, I’ve yet to post a card, wrap a present or switch on a sparkly chain of lights. Lucky, then, that last night I stopped at Asda, in Berwick-upon-Tweed, for a Festive Pot Noodle: just add boiling water for an instant Christmas.

At just £1 per pot (reduced from £1.30), the special edition “Pot Noel” is flavoured with stuffing and gravy – the perfect way, for anyone who’s been following this blog’s selections all year, to feed the family this Christmas.

This weekend’s selection is Bonttay in the 3.35pm at Cheltenham on Saturday, a race which features the winners of the last two runnings of our very own Herring Queen Mares Novice Hurdle Final. If Bonttay and Theatre Glory frank the Kelso form (the forecast being an even more profitable possibility) by finishing first and second at Cheltenham, consider stirring a spoonful of cranberry sauce into the noodles for added decadence.

For those with bigger budgets (who have ignored the majority of this year’s selections, tuning in only for winners like Corach Rambler in the Grand National), the town of Kelso offers alternative methods for getting into the Christmas spirit this weekend.

Santa will be calling at the Mayfield Garden Centre for breakfast on Saturday morning (and again later next week) between 8.30am and 10.00am. An adult portion of breakfast, including bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, etc, plus tea or coffee, will set you back £10.50. A child’s breakfast, including a gift from Santa and access to other fun activities, will cost £13.95.

All your favourite Kelso shops will be open on Sunday, when there’ll be added entertainment for children in the Square between 11.00am and 3.00pm. From Humes Outfitters to Swans Shoes, and from The Mole House to Country Corner, you can clear up all your Christmas gift conundrums in Kelso.

That said, there won’t be another racemeeting in Kelso until the Festive Fling Fixture on Friday 29th December (tickets available online). Which is why the Kelso team will be heading north, on Monday, for roast turkey with all the trimmings at Musselburgh’s Christmas Jumper Raceday.

Last year Brian Hughes was beaten a short-head in the final race of the day, having been hit by a mince pie jumping the second-last obstacle. Pitching forward on landing, he pulled down his goggles and rebalanced his horse – only to receive a lump of stilton in the eye as he approached the last. Wiping blue cheese from his face, he set off up the straight dodging half a dozen flying sausage rolls and a whole turkey crown as he went.

Dismounting in the Unsaddling Enclosure, Hughes was furious. He stormed into the Musselburgh Stewards’ Room and objected to the winner, “Never, in all my days riding,” he shouted, “have I been so badly hampered!”

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