Hunt regulars will be trying a different challenge next month — a race on the flat at Lingfield Park Racecourse.
The inaugural “Hunter’s Challenge” on 3 June is for amateur riders and horses who have hunted last season. Run over a mile on the all-weather track, the race is part of Lingfield’s Countryside Day, to raise money for the Countryside Alliance.
Riders from six local hunts are taking part, including H&H’s head of news, Abigail Butcher — a regular with the Kent & Surrey Bloodhounds — and Danny Eades, amateur whipper-in with the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent.
This is Abi’s third charity race, and she is competing on her own Hawkstar Express (Porky — pictured), a horse she raced at Goodwood in October 2008 in aid of Spinal Research.
“Porky came out of training with James Boyle in January 2009, and we’ve been doing some careful re-training since then — including a few days out with the bloodhounds over the winter — so I’m hoping his return to the track doesn’t confuse him,” said Abi.
“But despite training quite hard over the past few weeks, he’s still as chilled as anything and is loving it!”
The pair are hoping to improve on their third placing at Goodwood.
Also racing on Thursday, 3 June are: Michael McLoughlin (Highway Robbery) from the Mid Surrey Drag, Suzie Russell (Kayf Zsar) from the Southdown and Eridge, Libby Lawson (Ivory Fair) from the East Kent, Frances Beach (Kilkenny Sheriff) from the Ashford Valley and Kass Court (Maid of Arc), Amanda Soper (L’Etang Bleu) and Valerie Evans (Classic Pirouette) — all from the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent.
The Hunter’s Challenge will be started by Bob Champion, who will be at Lingfield as part of his 60:60 Challenge — to visit 60 racecourses in 60 consecutive days.
The Countryside Day will also feature hound parades, terrier and ferret racing — plus a full day’s racecard. Tickets start at £13, visit www.lingfield-racecourse.co.uk
H&H has a tickets to give away to the event — click here for more details.