Traditional equine spectacle set for Pateley Bridge return

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A traditional countryside sport is making a comeback in Nidderdale, decades after wartime intervened and it was lost as a regular fixture on the rural calendar.

Trotting races - or harness racing - are being reinstated at Pateley Bridge’s showground later this month to revive a sporting spectacle that has not taken place “properly” in the North Yorkshire market town since 1938.

A full card of 10 races on a newly updated grass track is being readied for the fixture on Sunday, June 25, organised by Nidderdale Agricultural Society in association with Eden Valley Harness Racing Association.

Tickets will be available on the gate on the day priced £10 and all profits from the event will be donated to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

John Fort, the Society’s press officer, said there had been previous attempts to restore trotting at Pateley, as he explained why the Society was keen to host the event.

“There have been a couple of attempts in the last two years to resurrect it,” Mr Fort said. “Last year an almighty thunderstorm put paid to it and the year before I don’t think anyone was happy with it other than the winner.

“We thought it would be a very good attraction for the area. We have 1940s weekends and different things like that and this seems to be an idea that everyone likes, and it’s for a good cause as well. In Nidderdale we rely on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance so it’s important to support them.

“We have a full race card, there is some good prize money as well and some good sponsors on board too, and the society has worked hard to make the track up to the right standard.”

Mr Fort hopes hundreds of people will go along to watch the action, adding: “It’s a good afternoon’s entertainment in a lovely part of the world and at this moment in time the track is absolutely pristine.”