Kelso Racecourse Guide

The Track at Kelso
The Track at Kelso (Walter Baxter /

Kelso Racecourse, one of just two jumps only courses in Scotland, finds itself situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders. It boast some tremendous views of the surrounding green countryside and has a great reputation amongst local racegoers.

A Sunday Times survey voted it to be ‘Britain’s Friendliest Racecourse’ and it’s a reputation it carries with great pride. The title is one Kelso very much deserves and it’s a fantastic place to bring the whole family to watch some racing in a very relaxed, almost tranquil, environment.

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The Course

The layout at Kelso isn’t the most typical of British racecourses, as there are two distinctly different tracks, one for hurdles and one for steeplechases. The hurdles course is around a furlong shorter and while both are sharp, it’s the hurdles course that is the sharper of the two. The left-handed course on the whole offers a stiff test, but one that must be considered a fair one too.

Hurdles are far from easy at Kelso but it’s the fences course that poses the biggest challenge, with chases having a relatively high causality rate. Some of the eight fences per circuit are quite closely spaced to one another and because it’s a course that requires such stamina, you get a lot of tired legs unsuccessfully jumping them. This is especially true in the winter when the going can turn very soft after adverse weather conditions that are common in the area.

Major Races

Kelso’s sole race of graded quality, the Grade 2 Premier Kelso Hurdle, which is run over a distance of approximately two miles and two furlongs is its biggest race. It has held Grade 2 status since 2003 and is a place where keen novice hurdlers have regularly come for some valuable jumping practice in late February/early March.

The big hurdles race features alongside the Premier Chase which enjoyed its inaugural run in 2009. The Premier Chase is a Listed affair, a little over two miles and seven furlongs in length, having being upped a furlong in 2013. It has been able to attract some top names in its short history, such as Grand National champion Many Clouds who won the 2016 renewal.

A mention must also go to the Morebattle Hurdle, a conditions hurdles race which takes place in February. Jinxy Jack is well remembered in the race having won it on four occasions between 1990 and 1993 but it is 2012 champion Simonsig who’s the most famous name to have won the race.


Kelso Racecourse Grandstand
Kelso Racecourse Grandstand (Walter Baxter /

There are 14 racedays a year at Kelso between September and May with many falling on the weekend.

Useful Info

Dress Code

Kelso has no dress code to speak of although you will find that most people tend to dress in a smart casual fashion. Dressing up, especially on Ladies Day is most welcome but there is absolutely nothing wrong with opting for more practical clothing that offers more protection against the Scottish weather.

Ticket Prices

Paddock entry at Kelso generally varies between £13 to £20 but savings can be made when buying tickets in advance. Early bird tickets, purchased at least a month before the meeting gives you a £5 discount. After this cut-off, you will still be able to get a £3 discount providing you book at least 24 hours before the first race.

There are no reductions on the day except for students under 22 years of age and senior citizens (aged 65+) who can claim a £3 off ticket at the turnstiles. Non-members can also purchase Members Enclosure tickets for a more premium experience.

On the day prices for the Members Enclosure vary between £16 and £25 but the same early booking discounts of £5/£3 apply to these too.


A year’s membership is priced at £85 for youths aged 18-24, £115 for the over 65s and £135 for any adults aged in between. With this you will receive exclusive Cunningham Room access, 20% off Hamilton and Pavilion hospitality packages, a quarterly newsletter, preferential bookings for members’ trips out and entry to over 40 race days at other racecourse across the UK.

Getting There

Driving has always been the easiest way to get to Kelso but since the Borders Railway opened in 2015, there is now another option. Racegoers will need to get the train to Tweedbank Station and if doing so it’s best to purchase a Track2Track ticket (£18-25 or £13-20 with early bird discount). The ticket includes entry and covers the cost of the bus travel to and from the station to the course.


Free parking is provided in the field to the west of the main entrance.


Finish Line
Finish Line (Richard Webb /

Racing has taken place at several sites around Kelso, which has been an area keen on racing for many centuries. Things began at Caverton Edge in 1734 before moving to Blakelaw and then to Berrymoss, its current home, in 1822, where it was originally known as the Duke’s Course.

National Hunt

Like several other courses to offer National Hunt racing today, Kelso began as a flat only course and it stayed that way until 1888. Things changed when the United Border Hunt moved to the course and from that moment on Kelso has always held races under National Hunt rules.


The grandstand that was built when the course moved to Berrymoss in 1822, based on a 1778 design by famous architect John Carr, still stands today. It has stood the test of time well, surviving a planned arson attack by the Suffragettes, and still resembles the building it was two centuries ago. It’s now been protected by Historic Scotland and made a category A listed building for being such a fine and rare example of its type of building in Scotland.