THE largest crowd of the season is expected at Kelso Racecourse on Sunday when the Borders track hosts their annual Ladies Day event.

Gates open at 12 noon for the event which draws racegoers from across the region, many of whom will be hoping to be spotted by the judges of the best-dressed contests where the prizes have a collective value of thousands of pounds.

Finalists for the fashion awards will be presented with a rosette which entitles them to participate in the finals – with the Best Hat being selected after the first race, while the Best Dressed Woman, the Best Dressed Man and the Best Dressed Couple will be judged following the second, third and fourth races, respectively.

The competition on the track is expected to be every bit as hot as the fashion competition in the enclosures, with every race exceeding £10,000 in value.

The most valuable event on the seven-race programme is the £18,000 Ayton Castle Handicap Steeplechase in which Peter Bowen could hold the key. The Haverfordwest trainer is triple-handed at the entry stage with Alf ‘N’ Dor, Potters Story and Viens Chercher.

The top-rated entry is the Nicky Richards trained Cultram Abbey, twice a winner at Kelso this season.

David Pipe, who enjoyed his first ever winner as a trainer at Kelso, in May 2006 with Standin Obligaton, has entered recent Ludlow winner Teaser for the third race - a £16,000 Handicap Hurdle sponsored by the Coppola family. The youngest horse in the race at four years old, Teaser will face stiff competition from the Keith Dalgleish trained course-winner Mirsaale and James Ewart’s Lycidas.

The £12,000 Corinthian Spirit Grassroots Hunterchase has new conditions this year, ensuring that the runners have qualified by running at a northern region point-to-point or hunterchase. The objective is to provide an end-of-season focus for everyone engaged in the amateur side of the sport.

Cave Hunter, trained near Hawick by Wendy Hamilton, landed this valuable prize in 2015 & 2016 and heads a tremendous entry. Also entered are Shimla Dawn and Damiens Dilemma, third and fourth last year, while Yorkshire raider Streets Of Milan, trained by former jump jockey Chris Pimlott, won last year’s Heart Of All England Hunters’ Chase at Hexham. Mr Mercurial, a recent winner at Perth, has run with credit all season and will be ridden enthusiastically by owner-trainer Will Ramsey.

Gloucestershire trainer Tom George won the hunterchase 12 months ago.

While unlikely to have a horse qualified under the new conditions, he’s entered Forgot To Ask in the Elliot Henderson & Son Novices Handicap Chase who could go well following surgery to improve his breathing mid-season. Selkirk trainer Stuart Coltherd has two entries including Mrs Vonn who won at her local track last month.

The final race on Ladies Day is, appropriately enough, a £12,000 National Hunt Flat Race restricted to mares, sponsored by Five Star Taxis. There are entries from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales and last year’s winning trainer Nicky Richards has a choice of three entries comprising Headscarf Lil, Highland Gold and Kitty Hall.

Win, lose or draw in the style stakes, every racegoer will be hoping to find a winner like Placedela Concorde in the first race a year ago – who paid a dividend of £107 on the Tote.

Following racing, DJ Ewen Cameron will entertain racegoers in the Parade Ring prior to live music, a little later, from Craig McMorrow in the Pavilion Marquee.