ONE of the best-known racing correspondents is about to celebrate his 80th birthday at where else than Kelso Races.

On Wednesday Kelso Racecourse will welcome the veteran broadcaster and journalist John Budden.

The fifth race on the programme, The John Budden Handicap Steeplechase, has been sponsored by his family and friends to honour one of northern racing’s greatest supporters.

A jack of all trades, John Budden has worked in the racing media for more than 50 years.

As a journalist he wrote his first article for The Cumberland News in the autumn of 1966.

He was Borderers Gossip for the Racing and Football Outlook and both a feature writer and race reporter for The Sporting Life until its closure in 1997.

John told us: "Kelso has always held a special place in my racing life - for generations the heart of the Border National Hunt action - and now thanks to the alterations to the layout of the track, the generous prize money and the modernisation of the paddock area, a magnet for powerful southern stables. I am delighted to be associated with this thriving venue."

John also covered the northern racing scene for Border Television and, as a racecourse commentator, he was a frequent ‘caller’ at Kelso and at meetings throughout Scotland and the North of England.

More recently his voice, which will be instantly recognisable to many racegoers, has been heard on the internet broadcasting as a pundit for William Hill Racing Radio.

Kelso Races Managing Director Jonathan Garratt added: “I’ve only known John for 20 years or so – a mere blink in the panoply of John’s career.

"He’s forgotten more than most people will ever know about horseracing.

"John has been a constant presence on the northern racing circuit and has always been incredibly friendly and helpful. It’ll be a delight to celebrate with him on Wednesday.”