Drama at Longnor Races

Longnor races, Bethany Smith with a handfull of rosettes from the gymkhana
Longnor races, Bethany Smith with a handfull of rosettes from the gymkhana

THERE was a controversial end to the harness racing at Longnor Races last week when the final race had to be declared void.

The problem, after an afternoon of hotly contested heats, arose following confusion halfway through the race regarding the lap scoring.

Longnor Races, action from the final of the Longnor Sports Handicap, Golden High in the centre

Longnor Races, action from the final of the Longnor Sports Handicap, Golden High in the centre

Unfortunately the bell was rung too soon (after the second lap not the third lap), which meant that the race was not completed.

A re-run of the race was not possible as by law the horses can only race twice during the day and this would have meant them racing for a third time.

Heidi Bradbury, Secretary of the Longnor Sports Committee, said: “There was a hiccup in the final and we ended up voiding it on the day.

“Unfortunately not everything goes according to plan.”

Longnor Races, Golden High crosses the finishing line in the third heat of the Longnor Sports Handicap,

Longnor Races, Golden High crosses the finishing line in the third heat of the Longnor Sports Handicap,

It is believed to be the first time in the popular event’s 107-year history there was no overall winner of the harness race.

The day had attracted large crowds to Waterhouse Farm in Longnor where the event has always been held.

“We had a good turnout and the weather was good as we managed to avoid the rain,” said Heidi. “Generally everyone seemed to have a good day.”

The mix of gymkhana, harness racing and motorcycle grass track racing together with the fell race ensured there was something for everyone.

Longnor Races, start of the "dream mile" childrens race

Longnor Races, start of the "dream mile" childrens race

The busy programme had got under way soon after noon with the gymkhana.

Among the noteable winners was Lucy Riley with her pony Lady. The 33-year-old pony won the award for being the best turned out in the gymkhana.

The event, which attracts hundreds of visitors to the village, also featured motorcycle races and the popular fell race.

This year a presentation was made on behalf of the Longnor Sports Committee to land owner Gilbert Shirley in recognition of the support of his family over the years in allowing the event to be held on their fields.

Longnor Races will take place in 2012 on Thursday September 6.