England’s oldest horse race

In 1519, the first Kiplingcotes Derby (widely accepted to be the oldest annual horse race in the English sporting calendar) took place, just under a mile away from Kipling House Barn.

Today should have been the 501st running of the iconic race that takes place annually on the third Thursday of March, but it has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, as it was in 2020.

The rules state that if the race is not run one year, then it must never be run again, so this year a horse and rider will walk the course once more to preserve the race.

One quirk of the ancient rules means that the second-placed rider often receives more in prize money than the winner. The winner receives the sum of £50, but the rider finishing second receives the remainder of the total of the entry fees.

It’s one of the great pieces of history that we’re lucky to have on our doorstep.

Image courtesy of Ian Lavender, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9119330

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