Hawick-born handler Keith Dalgleish won the feature £15,000 Bannerman Burke Law handicap hurdle race with Mirsale when Kelso’s new season came under orders on Wednesday.
Before a bumper crowd, the gelding posted a fourth success over hurdles in the hands of Jedburgh jockey Callum Bewley.
“He’s a class horse,” said owner Jimmy Fyffe, who has the Fighting Fifth in his sights. He also hopes to revert to the Flat and take his chance in the Cesarewitch.
There was another good prize-pot in the £12,000 Belhaven Saltire Lager handicap chase. Sudski Star likes the Borders track and romped home to take the spoils for Melrose owner and racecourse director Geoff Adam.
Trained at Jedburgh by Harriet Graham, he enjoyed an eight-length success over favourite Martiloo.
“He jumped beautifully,” said Harriet. “He’d lost his confidence over fences so we switched him back to hurdles – and he’s bounced back.”
Hawick jockey Jamie Hamilton posted a comfortable success aboard the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Sweet Holly in the opening Edinburgh Gin novices’ hurdle race.
Longest-priced winner of the afternoon was Endeavor, who stayed on gamely for a 14-1 win in the EPDS Racing Welfare BTO Series handicap hurdle race.
In the colours of East Lothian owner Margaret Coppola and Penrith trainer Dianne Sayer, the 12-year- old has a good record at the track.
Red Giant justified favouritism to land the Tweed Salmon Fishers handicap chase for trainer Jennie Candish.
Six went to post in the concluding Radio Borders Cash for Kids bumper, where Ey Up Rocky got the verdict in a photo finish.
Under a fine ride by Richard Johnson, he held favourite Senor Lombardy by a head.
Racing was preceded by Woody’s Inspirational Ladies race – the brainchild of former GMTV presenter Woody Morris, who aims to raise £100,000 for Radio Borders Cash for Kids.
Having never been on a horse before, Woody endured seven months of arduous training to take part, and her 11 rivals included former Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania.
Winning the race was “a dream come true” for Steve Dickson from Kelso, riding a horse owned by Hawick’s Oliver Hogg.
“I used to ride out for Dick Allan and I’ve been riding out at Rose Dobbin’s for six years now,” said Steve, who has a roofing business.
“I’ve been in training for this and been biking every night,” he added, having raised over £2 000.
Jo Luton rode prolific winner Lie Forrit to finish runner-up, with Poppi Shepherd third.
The meeting was the first under new racecourse managing director Jonathan Garratt, who took over the reins from Richard Landale, and racing returns to Kelso on Sunday, October 8. Results:
4.30pm – 1 Sweet Holly (J. Hamilton) 2-1 fav, 2 Man Look 11-2, 3 Mizen Master 11-4. Ten ran (M. Jefferson, Malton).
5pm – 1 Red Giant (S. Quinlan) 6-5 fav, 2 Leanna Ban 17-2, 3 Cooper’s Friend 10-1. Eight ran (J. Candish, Staffs).
5.30pm – 1 Endeavor (B. Hughes) 14-1, 2 Make it Happen 16-1, 3 Snowed In 10-1. Sixteen ran (D. Sayer, Penrith).
6pm – 1 Sudski Star (T. Dowson) 13-2, 2 Martiloo 5-2 fav, 3 Indian Voyage 7-1. Eight ran (H. Graham, Jedburgh).
6.30pm –1 Mirsaale (C. Bewley) 3-1, 2 Beeno 7-2, 3 Prince Khurram 7-2. Five ran (K. Dalgleish, Carluke).
7pm – 1 Ey Up Rocky (R. Johnson) 5-1, 2 Senor Lombardy 1-3 fav, 3 Aye Right 12-1. Six ran (M. Hammond, Middleham).