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The Weekly Blog

Past & Future

The past is another country, sometimes it’s nice to pop over for a visit.

For a start, it’s always sunny there. An autumnal haze pervades all recollection beneath the shaded canopy in memory lane. The past is warm: even freezing days of winter jump racing are suffused in a warm glow that obliterates all memory of frostbitten fingers and chilblains on toes.

The horses, in the past, were bigger, bolder and faster; they jumped better, and the jockeys were braver. The bookies gave higher odds and took larger bets. The beer was cheaper, tasted better and the queues for the loos were shorter – despite the crowds being the biggest ever seen.

All this will become evident to those attending the Racing Reminiscence event, on Sunday afternoon, in the Tweedie Grandstand at Kelso Racecourse, when we shall be sharing many hundreds of photographs taken by the late Eric Bryce. A keen sports photographer whose activity spanned several decades, Eric Bryce contributed photographs to many local publications – mainly depicting horseracing, car racing and rugby. The photographs, generously donated to the racecourse, include images of many local point-to-points, as well as horseracing fixtures at Kelso, from the 1960s onwards.

Portrait of Freddie

We’ve yet to identify many of the individuals, equine or human, shown in the images – so we’d be grateful for all the assistance that visitors can give us. There will be tea, coffee and biscuits. There will also be a good chance that anyone who finds a photo of themselves, or a family member, will be able to take a copy of the photo away with them at the end of their visit.

The event has been scheduled to coincide with Kelso’s annual Pony Racing Taster Day, which takes place on the track between 12.30pm and 4.00pm, when children will be able to gain valuable experience of riding their ponies at racing pace in front of the stands. Harry Cobden, last season’s champion jump jockey (and the partner of Saturday’s selection – Soir De Gala in the final race at Worcester), is a graduate of the national series of pony racing events which has earned an impressive track record for developing young talent and engaging the next generation of riders.

Children will be able to try out the mechanical equisizer as staff from the Pony Racing Authority and the Scottish Racing Academy provide coaching advice to wannabe jockeys.

Anyone can rock up and watch. Both events are free to access and very informal. We hope to bring the generations together, like a cross-border agreement for free movement between countries of different eras, merging the rosy nostalgia of the past with the exciting potential of the future…

Please come and join us.