Revived Nidderdale harness race cancelled

A lack of entries has forced organisers of the Nidderdale Harness Race to cancel the event
A lack of entries has forced organisers of the Nidderdale Harness Race to cancel the event

A lack of entries has forced organisers of the Nidderdale Harness Race to cancel the recently revived event for a third time running.

Due to take place this Sunday (June, 25) at Bewerley Park the decision was announced yesterday as only 20 entries were confirmed for the race.

Last year a thunderstorm forced an early finish to the race while in 2015 concerns over the condition of the ground again forced the race to be cancelled. The event has now not been held in its entirety since 2013 when it was re-introduced for the first time in 70 years.

Nidderdale Agricultural Show director and chairman of the Harness Racing Event, Trevor Stoney, gave thanks to the public for their continued support of the event while explaining problems had arisen in attracting riders.

Mr Stoney said: “The cash prize for a full afternoon is about £5,000 from us, but in York competitors are looking at something close to double that.

“It is out of our hands and we could not have done anything about it.

“However I would like to thank the public for coming out and supporting us, we are going to look forward and see what we can do, it is not likely to happen this year, but we shall have to see what will happen.”

Organisers had been working in conjunction with the Eden Valley Harness Racing Association to organise attracting racers.

However it is believed that as the sport is growing across the country other races are now offering larger cash prizes, proving a problem for this years event.

For a full day of racing six to eight horses were needed for nine sets of races, ending with a grand final.

Funds raised through the event were to be donated towards the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

After the last run in 2013 more than £2,000 was raised in support of the charity.

However concerns were raised that year over the condition of the track by riders, as a result organisers of the Nidderdale Show spent two years working to improve it.

Since this work was completed in 2015 a full run of the race has not been held.

Although remaining optimistic Mr Stoney explained the committee would be examining its future prospects.

Mr Stoney said: “I do not know what will happen in the future, the committee is a little deflated. We will have to look at all the pros and cons, this will be the third time it has been cancelled.”