Preparations are well underway for Kelso’s richest race of the Autumn, the £50,000 Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National, which will be staged on Sunday.

In order to provide fresh ground for the big race, the steeplechase fences have been moved sideways during the four week gap since the last race-meeting. The obstacles have been refurbished with fresh birch and the running-rail realigned.

Racehorse owner Jim Beaumont is hoping to lift the trophy for the fourth time in succession, having been successful with Neptune Equester in 2014 and 2015, as well as Harry The Viking in 2016.

Beaumont will be relying once again on Harry The Viking who is trained locally by Sandy Thomson.

The 2017 running of the race was abandoned due to heavy frost and officials at the track are hopeful that they’ll escape the cold weather this time around.

Jonathan Garratt, Managing Director of Kelso Races Ltd, said “We’ve an excellent covering of grass and we’ve purchased additional ground-cover sheets which help us to protect vulnerable areas from frost.”

£125,000 of prize money will be on offer across the seven race programme, which includes the £30,000 Scotty Brand Veterans Chase and the £15,000 Paris Pike Novices Chase.

The two races attract quality horses at opposite ends of their careers and are therefore particularly popular events for Kelso’s enthusiastic racegoers.

There’ll be a festive theme across the venue, as racegoers gather for a pre-Christmas celebration.

Visitors can expect to meet a giant Santa on stilts – with plenty of time to tell him what they’d like for Christmas. A jazz band will greet visitors at the entrance with traditional festive tunes.

The first race is due off at 12noon and the gates will be open from 10am.