RIDERS from Ryedale have taken part in what is thought to be the oldest annual horse race in the English sporting calendar.

The Kiplingcotes Derby, run at Kiplingcotes in the East Riding, reputedly began in 1519 and takes place on the third Thursday in March each year.

This year was the 500th event.

Among the runners were a contingent from MBF Liveries in Appleton-le-Moors. Riders Charlotte Dring from Rosedale Abbey, Janet Bargh, also from Rosedale, Brian Hyland from Cropton and yard owner Diana Feaster all took part in the race.

“We all completed the course and it was a fabulous experience,” said Charlotte.

“The conditions of the verges were amazing - they had been well kept and perfect for the race. The weather was perfect too, such bright sunshine, and the spectators made the race even more incredible.

"We all felt a surge of energy and competitiveness. Just to complete the race was good enough for us all - especially me as I need my horse for other events so I didn’t push him too much.

“It was our first time doing the race. Janet is 50 next week so it was on hers and all our bucket lists before then really. It worked out well timing wise!

“It honestly was one of the best moments, I got such a rush of adrenaline and felt amazing coming over the finish. I’ve never done anything like it before.”

The first ever Kiplingcotes Derby was held while Henry VIII was still on the throne. The four-mile course winds through the Yorkshire Wolds, taking in farm lanes, tracks and public roads. According to the rules, the derby must run every year, otherwise it will be cancelled forever.

This year’s race had a record field of 36 entrants. It was won by Tracey Corrigan from Scarborough.