Long-eared steeds will be tackling the opening race at Hurworth point-to-point on 18 March.

For the first time the event will feature a donkey derby in a bid to “revitalise” the 2017 meeting.

Six donkeys and their jockeys will take part in the race.

“The flag will be raised in front of the last jump on the point-to-point course, and the race will be over approximately one-and-a-half furlongs, up the steeply inclining finishing chute and over the line,” event organiser, Nicola Naughton told H&H.

“It is set to be a very competitive affair as the jockeys are taking it pretty seriously in the quest to be crowned Hurworth Hunt donkey champion.”

The jockeys are regular Hurworth Hunt mounted followers, including 18-year-olds Phillipa Atkinson, amateur whip, and Kate Lowcock, whose father is field master.

Archie Frank, a 15-year-old pony racer, will also be taking part alongside 24-year-old apprentice flat jockey Gemma Tutty.

Showjumping sisters Tara, 16, and Zaila Barker, 14, complete the line-up.

The donkeys, Mini Me, Paddy, Sonic, Maisie, Big Jack and Woody, and are also “very keen”.

“The reason we chose to run the race was to revitalise the point-to-point this year in order to attract greater crowds and add to the family fun factor of the whole day,” added Ms Sutcliffe.


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“It is nice to offer something different and we hope that is a successful day.

“There is also a Cheltenham Festival-style shopping village on offer this year.”

The donkey derby will start at 12pm at Skutterskelfe, Hutton Rudby, TS15 0JL, by permission of Mr & Mrs Colin Tunnicliffe.