The oldest horse race in England originated from the reign of Henry VIII and it is not uncommon for runners to win more prizes than winners.
Kiplingcotes Derby, which takes place every year near Market Weighton village in East Yorkshire, this year is the 500th birthday with a famous event, most memorable.
With only “a few carriages carrying tea” being convenient, this race has less in common with the Grand National than some of the quaint folk festivals in rural England.
Kiplingcotes allow any horse to attend and compete, without the need for a championship trophy. Purebred and “backyard” horses are lined up next to horse carriages and smaller horses belong to local children.
Most guests are amateurs bring “festive atmosphere”. The winner of the race earns a £ 50 prize, while the runner-up gets the remaining money, made up of the participants’ entrance fees (minus a little for the cost). In busy years, including last year when there are too many race horses to compete, the silver medalist can take home the most prize money.
The winner of that 500th race, Tracey Corrigan, could continue to challenge the most recorded victories, with 10 wins from Ken Homes, who also became the oldest driver, at age 74. But the records of the winners are not smooth with gaps in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Much of what we know, comes from an ancient document that gave the year the opening race was 1519, ten years after Henry VIII was crowned. The race was just for fun, because of a competition among local landlords.
It shows the original rules, including adding weight to the saddle of any racer, weighing less than 10 stones (64kg) to establish a level playing field.
On the day of the race, rivals meet at the finish line and consider. A single bookmaker, Chris Johnson, has been in the race for years and judges their eyesight when they show up. However, it is best not to run if you weigh a few pounds.
Then ride slowly back to the original post, before spinning and racing to finish. At the completion, they meet the audience, the numbers are in the hundreds and sometimes they come from far away places.
According to ancient rules, if the race didn’t go on for a year, the tradition was over. So even in those years, when the race was flooded or snowed, a local resident pulled a horse around, so that the 500-year competition still exists.