Next year’s Waterloo Cup has been brought forward so it can take place before the Hunting Act comes in to force. The event, which usually takes place on the last weekend of February, will now be held on 14 – 16 February, just a few days before the ban comes into force on 18 February.

Every year around 10,000 spectators turn up to the Waterloo Cup, which takes place at Atcar in Merseyside. Its many supporters are hoping that this year’s event, the 158th, will not be the last.

“We believe this will be a temporary ban, so the Waterloo Cup will happen again,” says a spokesperson from the Countryside Alliance. “The event is of huge economic importance to the local region and is supported by the local community. However, it is such a large organised event that there is no way it will happen while the ban is in place.”

The Countryside Alliance said that it supports the organisers’ decision to change the date of the annual event.

“We believe the organisers are reacting in a reasonable way to an unjust law which was forced through in such a disgraceful manner.”

Charles Blanning from the National Coursing Club said: “This is the best way to allow supporters to enjoy the event one more time. This will certainly be the last one if the ban stands, but I believe the appeal against the use of the Parliament Act has good grounds.”

Record numbers are expected at this year’s event, which will include a parade of previous winners to celebrate the Cup’s history.