Jimmy and Tony Lawrence talked the leaders of the Sutton at Hone Scout Group into running a race night for us at the WI Hall at East Farleigh.
The club ran a race night some years ago, with videos of horse races and a chance to bet or buy a share in a horse. It was quite fun, but nothing compared to this year's event!
This was live racing, the horses were tied to a piece of string and a handle wound to make them move forward. There were 8 horses and 8 volunteers from the members present to wind the handles (jockeys). The jockeys changed for each race. Bets of 20p were placed and odds announced for each horse just before racing commenced. Winnings were anything from 30p for the favourite to £2 for the outsider.
The Hannigan family produced some wins, as did Julie Lawrence and Joe Cowaard, but the surprise outsider of the evening was our Treasurer Mike Durrant, who won two races. He tells me it is due to using a manual baler on his father's boat which built up his speed and upper arm strength.
The first half was flat racing, followed by an interval for pig racing. This was done slightly differently and over a much shorter course. It caused much hilarity as well as shouted encouragement from the audience.
The final races were over hurdles, with disqualification for any fallers and a handicap system for the younger jockeys.
The evening was such fun, that we are hoping to get the Scout leaders back again next winter for more racing. They have suggested a larger hall to give the horses more room and hopefully more members will come along and join in the fun. This was a cheap evening out and a lot of fun.
Thanks to the Lawrence family for organising this event and especially to the Sutton at Hone Scout leaders for their hard work.
Katy Turner - Mistura
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