Bouncing bunnies head for Harrogate

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THE Rabbit Grand National returns to Harrogate this month after attracting national media attention in its inaugural year.

Part of the Burgess Premier Small Animal Show, it is the UK’s only grand national for rabbits and last year proved one of the main attractions at the event.

More than 10 rabbits are expected to compete in the bunny-friendly version of horse racing - and organisers are also hoping to break some world records in the process.

Naomi Chatterley, marketing manager at Burgess Pet Care and Small Animal Show sponsor, said: “Rabbits are natural hoppers and, because of their agility, it’s natural and healthy for them to hop.

“Rabbit jumping is fun for owners and rabbits alike, but these rabbits have been specially trained for jumping and travelling.

“While we wouldn’t encourage just anyone to do this with their own pet rabbit, it does demonstrate to people who might be thinking of getting a pet rabbit just how much exercise and space they do actually need.”

Last year’s grand national was won by Swedish rabbit Cherie and Scandinavia is set to have a strong showing this year, including Matilda Hedlund, who is bringing her rabbit Dilba.

She said: “We are thrilled to be hopping back to Harrogate this year, and hope to retain the winner’s trophy for a second consecutive year.

“The sport originated in Sweden in the late 1970s, but it has grown significantly in Britain over the last few years. We expect some thumping competition this year!”

The 90th Burgess Premier Small Animal Show takes place at the Yorkshire Event Centre on Saturday, January 28 from 9am to 5.30pm and Sunday, January 29 from 9am to 4pm. The Rabbit Grand National takes place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on both days.

l For more information visit www.smallanimalshow.co.uk.