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Place your bets please…. for the Isle of Wight Grand National

Place your bets please…. for the Isle of Wight Grand National

This year’s Isle of Wight Grand National and Ashey Scurry falls on Sunday 25th March 2012 and, as usual, is to be held at West Ashey Farm, near Ryde. This is a very popular event for all ages on the Isle of Wight and attracts jockeys, riders and spectators from the mainland as well as Islandwide.

This is the closest event that the Island has to a point to point and it is held on the former site of Ashey Racecourse (by kind permission of Mr Alan Aylett) that closed after the stand burned down in 1923. In those days the horses and riders would have arrived by train and there is still a popular park and ride service for spectators on the vintage trains of the IW Steam Railway from Havenstreet to Ashey.

Gates open at 10.30am and there are hot and cold refreshments including a hog roast, a bar and a few trade stands along with the Countrywatch stand from the police. The horses parade in the paddock before each event and although there is no on-site betting permitted there is a sweepstake.

Races kick off at noon with Island Webservices Puffing Billy Stakes for riders of 15 years and under and horses 14.00hh and under. Then at 12.40om the Elite Spas Puffed Out Billy Stakes is open to all, with fences two feet high.

Next there will be a parade of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds and a presentation to the Air Ambulance who will be bringing an ambulance to the scurry (if possible). This parade is open to all, the £10 registration fee goes to the Air Ambulance and it is non-competitive.

At 1.40pm it is the FH Winter Ashey Scurry Open Race with fences of approximately two feet six inches. The H Y Duke and Sons of Dorchester Junior Scurry follows at 2pm and is open to riders aged 16 and under on the day of the event.

But the highlight of the day is the Creasey, Biles and King Isle of Wight Grand National at 2.40pm run over two laps of the Grand National course and open to riders aged 16 and over on the day.

Entry fees are £10 per class and the closing date for entries is Monday March 19th 2012. Horses and ponies may only compete in one class but may also participate in the Parade of Hounds. Entrance fee on the day for spectators is £5 with under 14s free.