Billed as the oldest horse race in England and thought by organisers to be one of the world’s longest-running, the Kiplingcotes Derby takes place over a testing four-and-a-half-mile linear course beginning at an old stone post on a grass verge in Etton and finishing with a straight gallop to the winning post on Londesborough Wold.
The Derby, which is always held on the third Thursday in March, saw 14 horses declared before the 11am cut-off point before the race began in earnest at 12 noon prompt.
Twice-winner Tracey Corrigan and her horse, Bob, set off as odds-on favourite with on-course bookie Chris Johnson and it was a victory for the punters as Tracey was first past the post to claim a hat-trick having previously won the Derby in 2014 and 2015.
Closely behind Tracey in second-place was Emma Sanderson on Trumpstoo, whilst Nicky Burrows completed the top three on her mount, Charlie.
The race was not without drama though as Two Pancakes and jockey Bryan Rawnstron fell threequarters of a mile before the finish, with the loose horse charging through the crowd. Fortunately, both horse and jockey and the spectators escaped unscathed
After all the horses had completed the course, Tracey, who hails from Sawdon near Scarborough, was presented with the Kiplingcotes Derby trophy, £50 prize money, a horse rug, kindly donated by The Ship Inn, Dunswell and an East Yorkshire flag courtesy of the Yorkshire Riding Society.
A quirk of the race is that, depending on the number of entries, the runner-up may earn a greater amount of prize money and this was the case in 2017 as Emma emerged with £56 (£4 for every horse that runs).
Many of the entrants arrive with little idea of what the Kiplingcotes course will hold and like first-timer Cassy Room, they are just happy to finish the arduous race. “It’s the first-time I’ve entered the race, so I’m not sure what to expect,” admitted Cassy prior to the race
“I decided to enter as I have a hunter who is fullyfit and thought it was worth giving it a go. I would just like to finish the race, that would be great.”
Amongst the interested observers at the finishing line was Peter Anderson. Peter knew more than most the difficulties the riders faced throughout the four-and-a-half-miles having taken part in the race 18 years ago, and said he would love a repeat performance. “When I took part all those years ago, I hadn’t even seen the course or walked it, it was a lastminute job,” he said.
“A friend of mine at the army camp said that he had a thoroughbred horse but he couldn’t ride it, so would I. So, I rode it and I came fourth out of 20. I never took part again, but I’d love another go at it now that I know the course.”
Organisers of the Kiplingcotes Derby, including current Trustees Guy Stephenson, Philip Guest and Mr W Bethell as well as Honorary Trustee, Lord Manton, have worked hard to keep the race’s tradition doing, especially throughout some difficult times over the years.
However, the Derby is currently as popular as it has ever been in modern times and after another successful running, Mr Stephenson told the Wolds Weekly that it is important to maintain this in readiness for the 500th anniversary in 2019. “We’ve had a very good day, a successful day,” he said.
“The people have turned out in good numbers. “One jockey fell off, but he’s alright. The trouble was, his horse came flying through the crowd and nearly scattered everybody. That was the only danger problem we had, but apart from that, everything has gone alright.
“We’ve kept the tradition going for another year. We haven’t got anything planned as yet for the 500th anniversary, but we will have. We’re going to get another book printed.
“The only problem with trying to do something are the crowds. As we have seen today (Thursday), we’ve had a fair old crowd here and we can’t cope with many more that that really on a safety level.
We could cope with them, but not in terms of safety, so we have got to be careful about that and with it being the 500th running, we shall probably have horses coming from all over the place. Whether we shall have to restrict horse numbers, we don’t know yet, but we may have to.
“We’ll have to plan ahead, but we’ve got to get there yet!”
Driffield & Wolds Weekly Photo Gallery
The 498th Kiplingcotes Derby – Pictures by Mike Hopps