Saddling up for historic horse race

Tracey Corrigan passes the finish line first on her horse Willy during last year's Kiplingcotes Derby.

Tracey Corrigan passes the finish line first on her horse Willy during last year's Kiplingcotes Derby.

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Riders are saddling up to compete in the oldest flat horse race in England.

The historic Kiplingcotes Derby, which takes place near Market Weighton, will be held next Thursday (19 March).

The horses taking part in the 496th Kiplingcotes Derby will assemble near the winning post at Londesborough Wold Farm, north of Market Weighton, by 12noon before cantering out to the start near the village of Etton. The race itself must be run by 2pm. It covers a distance of four miles over farm lanes and tracks.

Anne Stephenson, wife of Kiplingcotes Derby trustee Guy Stephenson, said: “It’s getting more difficult to organise. It’s the same with all these village shows. A lot of them have had to finish because of all the red tape involved.

“A lot of people don’t want it [Kiplingcotes] to finish. It’s only a few years until it’s 500th anniversary. We don’t want it to finish because it’s part of history.”

The race, which dates back to 1519, traditionally takes place on the third Thursday of March. Its rules state if the race is not run one year, it must never be run again.

Langlands Garden Centre in Shiptonthorpe will have a park and ride service on the day of the race. The bus will set off from Langlands at 9.45am and take people to the heart of the event in reserved seating and then bring them back after the race. Tickets, costing £2.50, need to be bought in advance at the garden centre.