Four Shires, Four Clydesdales, Two furlongs … One Winner!

Shire vs Clydesdale

It’s a head-to-head like no other – as Lingfield Park stages the latest instalment of the award-winning Shire Horse Race.

This year the two-furlong race will be a battle between two Heavy Horse breeds – the Shire and the Clydesdale.

The ‘Showerking Flying Feathers Heavy Horses Stakes’ on Saturday June 6, will once again show off the versatility of these gentle giants as they thunder two furlongs down the track.

Jacquie Gardiner, from Hurst Green Shires, organisers of the race, said ‘This race is about, yet again, proving the versatility of these great horses along with highlighting their endangerment as breeds. We are determined to show that these fantastic horses have a place in the 21st century. This year’s theme of Shire vs Clyde showcases the differences in these two types and introduces a bit of friendly rivalry between the breeds.’

The history of the Shire and Clydesdale is intertwined. The Clydesdale was developed for use from the Scottish borders and upwards and the Shire was for Middle England but both became very popular as working horses for industry and agriculture. Their slightly different build made them suited to the different types of ground they were working with.  With the onset of the Great War, huge numbers were requisitioned from around the country to serve in the army. This and the subsequent mechanisation of farming left the breeds at critical numbers in the 1970s. A breeding program and some very determined farmers and producers saved these beautiful animals for future generations but they remain endangered.

Top National Hunt jockeys will be saddling up to try and win the coveted title in a race which earned national recognition when it was launched in 2013. Judges praised the innovation of the event as they awarded the Surrey racecourse overall winners of the Events category at the annual Racecourse Association Showcase & Awards.

Andrew Perkins, Executive Director of Lingfield Park Resort, said he was delighted to welcome back Hurst Green Shires, sponsors, Showerking and all the heavy horse fans: ‘I’m thrilled we are once again able to stage this fabulous race.

‘The fact that there is even more of a competitive twist this year with the Shires v. the Clydesdales, will make it even more exciting.’

Julie Reilly of sponsors Showerking said: “We are pleased to support this race for the third year running. We are very grateful to the owners of these animals for making this event possible – there is nothing more thrilling than watching those feathers fly down the track.  There will be plenty of opportunity for the public to meet the contestants after the race and we’re looking forward to showing them off”

As well as the Shire Horse race there will be seven thoroughbred races on the all-weather and turf tracks and a host of entertainment for the family at this Countryside Day.

Jazz musicians from neighbouring Notre Dame School will be on hand to show off their skills, while children will be kept busy meeting small petting animals from Godstone Farm, all eight competing heavy horses and two miniature Shetlands who will be adding to the multi-equestrian feel of the day.

For more information contact: Deborah Hay, PR & Partnerships Manager, Lingfield Park Resort. E-mail: dhay@lingfieldpark.co.uk, Julie Reilly from Showerking: email@showerking.co.uk or Hurst Green Shires: jax@hurstgreenshires.com

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