Clydesdale horses will thunder down Exeter racetrack on Sunday (22 November). The annual race was launched in 2013 and takes place on Devon Day at the west country track.
Six Clydesdale geldings will be partnered with professional jockeys for this year’s two-furlong race. H&H columnist Richard Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies, Aidan Coleman, Nick Scholfield and Hadden Frost will be taking part.
The horses belong to Tim Ancrum and Aileen Ware of Adventure Clydesdales, which specialises in providing riding holidays across Dartmoor.
“I always get quite excited about it. It’s quite a sight, especially with National Hunt jockeys — they love it,” Tim told H&H.
“The race proves them to be a very good riding horse as well as a draught horse.
“Tom Parker has been the horse that has won the most races but Frankie Doodle and Collessie Reflection could give him a run for his money.”
Actor and British Horse Society president Martin Clunes has supported the race since it began.
“It’s really something to see them with their feathers flying,” he told H&H. “The jockeys look like tiny toys and all have smiles on their faces.
“The race is very popular and all sorts of people come to watch, including those who might not usually spend a day at the races.
“It would be so nice if they did at all the racecourses.”
Martin owns two Clydesdale geldings, Ronnie and Bruce. He bought the pair when they were six months old and they are now rising six.
“I’ve started dressage lessons with Bruce — I’ve agreed to do a display at Windsor for the British Horse Society,” he said.
“I’m also taking Ronnie on the Dartmoor Derby next year. They are so sure-footed and honest as the day is long.
“Tim is such a brilliant ambassador for the Clydesdale and is determined to prove their worth.”
The event raises funds for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT).
“We have the support of local bookmakers Dick Oliver, Dave Phillips and Jack Bevan who will all be running a book so that people can bet, with every single penny donated to DAAT,” said Daniel Thompson of Exeter racecourse.
Spectators will have the chance to loan a Clydesdale for the day and experience owning a “racehorse”.
For more information visitt: www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk