Kelso Racecourse

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Coordinates: 55°36′49.01″N2°25′52.02″W / 55.6136139°N 2.4311167°W / 55.6136139; -2.4311167


Kelso Racecourse - - 2305106.jpg
Location Kelso, Scotland
Owned byKelso Races Ltd.
Date opened1822
Screened on Racing TV
Course type National Hunt
Notable races Premier Kelso Hurdle
Official website

Kelso Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Kelso, Scotland. The official website describes the course as Britain's Friendliest Racecourse. It was voted the Best Small Course in Scotland and the North of England in 2007, 2012 and 2014 by the Racegoers Club. [1]


The first recorded race meeting in Kelso took place at Caverton Edge in 1734. Races were also later held at Blakelaw. The foundation stone of the stand at the current racetrack at Berrymoss was laid on the 12 July 1822. It was initially known as the Duke's Course. [2]

On the 19 May 1913 Edith Hudson, Arabella Scott, Agnes and Elizabeth Thomson were arrested for trying to set alight to Kelso Racecourse. [3] They were all imprisoned at Calton jail and went on hunger strike together. [4] [5] Scott was released under the Cat and Mouse Act on 24 May from Calton jail. [4]

Kelso was a flat racing track until 1888, when the United Border Hunt moved to the course. Since then, Kelso has run exclusively under National Hunt rules. [6]


Kelso consists of two sharp, left-handed tracks - a chase track of 1 mile 600 yards and a hurdle course of 1 mile 330 yards. The course also has a punishing uphill run-in of 2 furlongs. [7]


The classical style grandstand building was erected in 1822, though it was designed in 1778 by York-based architect John Carr (1723–1807). The building, incorporating a private viewing area for the races' patron the Duke of Roxburghe, remains largely unchanged since its construction. In 2011 it was protected by Historic Environment Scotland as a category A listed building, as "the finest example of its building type in Scotland and a particularly rare and important survival in a wider UK context." [8]

Notable races

MonthDOWRace NameTypeGradeDistanceAge/Sex
FebruaryThursday Morebattle Hurdle HurdleConditions2m 2f 4yo +
MarchSaturday Premier Kelso Hurdle HurdleConditions2m 2f 4yo +

One notable steeplechase is the King's Own Challenge Cup, named after the King's Own Scottish Borderers who were based nearby. [7]

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  1. Racegoers Club Awards Archived 2013-04-13 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Haig, James (1825), A Topographical and Historical Account of the Town of Kelso, and of the Town and Castle of Roxburgh, Edinburgh: John Fairbairn, p.  137 .
  3. "Scotland's forgotten sisters" . Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  4. 1 2 Leneman, Leah (1993). Martyrs in our midst:Dundee, Perth and the forcible feeding of suffragettes. University of Stirling Library: Abertay Historical Society. pp. 21–26.
  5. "Two million reasons why women should always use their vote". Scotsman. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  6. "Kelso Racecourse". 2006. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  7. 1 2 White, John (2003). Racecourses. London: Collins. p. 98. ISBN   0-00-716655-9.
  8. Historic Environment Scotland. "Kelso Racecourse, Grandstand  (Category A) (LB51742)" . Retrieved 22 March 2019.