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Kiplingcotes Derby watched by record crowd
THE oldest horse race in England took place again today in East Yorkshire, watched by a record crowd of up to 1,000 spectators.
Organisers said the Kiplingcotes Derby, which is staged near Market Weighton, was a great success, and said they were determined to keep the tradition alive in future despite rising health and safety costs.
Susan Hillaby, clerk of the course, said 13 horses and riders took part in the four and a half mile flat race along farm lanes and tracks, in cold but sunny conditions.
She said the Derby, watched by between 800 and 1,000 people, had been won by Carolyn Bales, from Malton, riding a horse callled Woteva.
The race is believed to have taken place every March since 1519, with a tradition that if is not run one year, it must never be run again. Organisers ensured it still went ahead with one horse during the Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001.
Reports have suggested the race might not be able to continue in future because of increased costs for things such as signs, liability insurance and stewards.
But the clerk said there had been many offers of support, and every effort would be made to keep the race going, although she would welcome new sponsors coming forward.
She said about 400 people had been transported out to watch the race today on a free shuttle bus service from Market Weighton.