Davina McCall challenges novice to take on pros in Shire horse race

  • A novice rider is challenging professional jockeys at Lingfield Park’s annual Shire horse race on 9 April for a television documentary.

    TV presenter Davina McCall challenged James — who will not be named fully until the programme is aired — to take part in the Flying Feathers shire race.

    The 28-year-old complete novice has been given riding tuition in the lead up to the race, held on the same day at the Grand National at Aintree.

    “When Davina initially told me, there was not one part of me that actually believed this could be possible,” said James.

    “I can’t wait to see James race at Lingfield, he is the bravest man ever,” said Davina McCall.

    “He has come so far, I’m so very proud of him.”

    Lingfield Park’s clerk of the course, Ed Arkell said before taking part James will have to pass an assessment of competence conducted by an instructor from either the British Racing School or the Northern Racing College.

    The TV programme featuring the race will be broadcast on Channel 4.

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    There are seven races at Lingfield on the 9 April with the Shoewerking Flying Feathers Grander National scheduled for 1pm.

    The racing shires are provided by Hurst Green Shires run by Jax Gardiner at Westerham in Kent.

    “This race is a wonderful opportunity to highlight this amazing breed and show how versatile they are, but the safety of all the riders and the horses is paramount,” said Ms Gardiner.

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