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Ancient White Horse acquires a jockey ahead of Cheltenham

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An ancient white horse acquired an unexpected rider earlier this week courtesy of bookmakers Paddy Power.

Yesterday morning (Thursday 8 March) visitors to the 3,000-year-old Uffington White Horse were in for a shock, when they saw the horse was now complete with a jockey.

The stunt was organised by Paddy Power for publicity in the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival next week (13-16 March).

According to the firm, a team spent six hours “under the cover of darkness” installing the rider.

They used more than 200m of canvas, pre-cut into five separate pieces to create a 110ft tall and 200ft wide jockey.

It was pinned to the ground 5ft from the original chalk markings, using over 500 tiny tent pegs to ensure that the original site remained undisturbed.

However, the National Trust, which owns the site, was not amused and Paddy Power was rapidly ordered to remove the installation.

“Funnily enough the idea for our Uffington Rider came from a Tweet from one of our customers,” said a spokesman for Paddy Power.

“He was responding to our ‘We Hear You’ campaign asking if we had any mischief planned for Cheltenham in the wake of our giant Hollywood sign [which was installed on Cleeve Hill above the racecourse] a few years ago.

“We simply couldn’t resist the challenge and had to dig really deep to come up with something to literally measure up to the giant sign. I think we’ve achieved this.”

Paddy Power has offered a donation to the National Trust.

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk