Kelso Races

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KELSO RACES. Scottish, Slow Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. See also "Welcome (The)," "Western Lilt (A)," "Come in the Evening," "Spotted Cow (The)," "Goat's Horn (The)," "Goats' Horns (The)," "Galway Tom (1)," "Galloway Tom (2)," "Galway Town," "Thrush's Nest (The)," "Little Yellow Boy (The)," "Buachaillín Buí (An)," "Lark in the Morning (1) (The)." There is an interesting broadside document entitled "List of the Nobility and Gentry Who appeared at the Balls at Kelso Races, October 1783." Arranged alphabetically, the list was published by a local Kelso printer. Horse racing in the Kelso area-a Borders region of Scotland-dates to 1751, it wasn't until the 1760's that the Kelso races became firmly established. Sir Alexander Don's horse, "Cheviot" won a famous race there in 1765. The famous Caledonian Hunt was formed in Kelso in 1777. A Colonel Thornton of Yorkshire, a visitor to the town in 1786, gave this description:

A charming scene of confusion; cooks, ladies' servants, waitresses all running against each other, being the time of the Kelso Races. The company is composed of gentlemen of the Turf on both sides of the Tweed with families and friends and also members of the Caledonian Hunt. Foxhounds and harriers hunt alternately in the mornings. There is also a concert and races and next night the gentlemen of the Hunt give a handsome ball. After the lades retired therefrom, the gentlemen formed a party to drink healths and when I got up at 8 they were still drinking and meant to sit till hounds went out. This meeting, I heard, is most expensive of any. An English Steward was obliged to pay 10 guineas for his room, though only there 5 nights.

Kelso Races continues to be the 'home of Scottish Borders racing' and has enjoyed the patronage, past and present, of the Dukes of Roxburghe.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Carlin (Gow Collection), 1986; No. 338. Gow (Beauties of Niel Gow, Book I), p. 15. Gow (The First Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1784 (revised 1801); p. 33.

Recorded sources:




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