The “Grand National” is to be switched to Kempton Park racecourse for the first time next May.
However Sunbury racegoers will not be seeing the likes of Don’t Push It and Ballabriggs soaring over fences but instead a field of brightly coloured mascots jostling for victory.
First run in 1999 at Huntingdon racecourse, the madcap Mascot Grand National features up to 100 mascots as they race over the final furlong of the turf track, complete with small hurdles.
Kempton Park’s Amy Starkey said: “We’re delighted to be bringing the Mascot Grand National to Kempton Park and it will be bigger and more exciting than ever before.
“We hope to attract new mascots to the event from all over the south of England.
“The mascots are really enthusiastic about it too because it’s an occasion when they can all gather, raise money for charity and meet their fans.
“The football mascots are especially passionate about it.”
Scheduled for 7 May 2012 the race has not been without its controversies over the years with accusations of gamesmanship, attempted betting coups involving a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and “ringers” being involved.
In 2001 Freddie the Fox was first past the post however he was disqualified after it was revealed he was actually Matthew Douglas — a semi finalist at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
Two-years later a £10,000 betting coup was foiled when the foot fell off “Sedge the Field Mouse” who was actually Commonwealth Games gold medal winning sprinter Allyn Condon.