A Barton woman has won the historic Kiplingcotes Derby but vowed her horse would never compete again after a “terrifying” victory.
Visibly shaken Sam Osborne said her ex-race horse ‘Mr P’ bolted shortly after setting off and she lost control.
“It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life. Being let loose on a horse that’s bolting as fast as it can - I’ve never been so scared,” said Sam.
“It is very tough. I’m not going that again with Mr P - no way,” she added.
Retaining second place on last year was Richard Mumford with his horse ‘Willie’ - his partner Tracey Corrigan stormed to top position at last year’s event, but picked up the wooden spoon this year.
At the race on Thursday (March 17), Richard said: “If you win it’s great but we look forward to it. It’s an old race, it’s a hard course and there’s nothing nice about it. You don’t know what’s going to turn up on the day either.”
The course itself spans a gruelling four and a half mile stretch across rugged tracks and country lanes.
The race’s archaic rules dictate that riders only need turn up on the day and weigh-in by 11am.
At 11.30am the clerk reads the rules and all competitors walk their horses from the finish line to the start, and the race begins at 12am.
As it approaches its 500th anniversary, the Kiplingcotes Derby remains entrenched in tradition and, despite some financial worries over its future, is more attended by spectators than ever before.
The sense of tradition and commitment to preserving the ancient spectacle’s existence is embraced by no-one more than trustee Guy Stephenson.
He said: “It’s been going non-stop every year for nearly 500 years. “It’s a struggle keeping it going at the moment. Health and safety are the biggest problems. The course is rough this time and in a couple of places it’s very rough.
“It’s more popular than ever. It’s the history behind it and we’ve had a lot publicity recently. It’s getting costly to run now it’s costing £250 for insurance, £300 for the ambulance and we don’t charge anyone to come in to we’ve got to get it all on sponsor money.”
Guy, who has had an involvement in the race for around 80 years, added: “We have just go to try and keep it going so we get to the 500th in two years after this.”