Kelso to break £1m prize-money mark and welcome ITV in 2018
Kelso has pushed its annual prize-money past the £1 million mark for the first time for 2018 in a year in which they will also welcome the ITV team to the track for the first time in April.
The independent course in the Scottish Borders course is outperforming the BHA framework by some way, with the average prize across the 98 races scheduled next year rising to £12,200, compared to £10,000 from one less fixture this year.
The £1.2m-plus prize-money across 15 racedays, including a new meeting on January 25, is a 26 per cent increase on this year's budget and managing director Jonathan Garratt is keen to cater for all racing clans.
Garratt, who moved from Cartmel to his new job in September, said: "We maintain prize-money above the national average to attract travellers to the Scottish Borders.
"We are a limited company and don't pay any dividend, with any surplus going into prize-money. We need competitive racing to build the industry.
"We have put more money into our better races but we run hunter chases for £4,500 when we could run them for £1,500, and are putting more into our novice hurdles, which don't benefit from the appearance money scheme.
"Our bumpers are worth £3,500 or more and have been above the minimum as every spare penny goes into prize-money, for which we have a very positive reputation."
Kelso has long been rewarded with big names being attracted going back to Gold Cup winner Jodami, The Grey Monk and more recently Many Clouds, plus some of the Paul Nicholls-trained Grade 1 performers.
Kelso is keen to showcase its attraction and, helped by the BHA, has boosted the April 7 meeting to offer prize-money of £166,000.
Garratt added: "This fixture usually sits between Cheltenham and Aintree but this year it steps out of March into April and will be ITV's main meeting, with the team broadcasting from the course for the first time."
The meeting will feature a £50,000 chase and two more for £40,000 each.
Kelso is also planning to start updating its facilities at the end of the season in May.
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