Pig racing in Wiltshire this bank holiday
- Credit: Archant
Peter O’Sullevan would have loathed it! The village of Bishopstone in Wiltshire, already inundated with ley lines, watercress beds and old motorbikes, is presenting the third running of The Queen’s Pig Racing Handicap, yearling trials, on Sunday May 25
Initially established in the year of The Queen’s Jubilee in 2012 due to tremendous boredom with street fairs and village fetes, the ten racing pigs will be running the 1.5 furlongs between The Greens’ house (home of the VIP lawn and all-day, no-age-restrictions tote betting) and the Flanagans’ house in Cues Lane.
Three races are expected (if crowds can be controlled); 3.18pm, 4.04 pm, and 4.37pm. No race is likely to start on time. One hurdle is being erected for the final race.
Clerk of the course Tim Finney said: ‘We do not expect to start racing until everyone’s finished lunch. And please be aware that Tom Green, the Tote Master, is very slow at paying out your winnings, but he eventually does so.”
Pigs are from Helen Browning’s organic Eastbrook Farm, which runs through the village; and lunch, inside and in the garden, is provided by Helen Browning’s Royal Oak pub, which also happens to be in Cues Lane.
The pigs have been undergoing speed trials now for at least 10 days, according to trainer Clive Hill. They know how to chase a bucket of food. All have been bought by various generous locals, whose £35 goes to Injured Jockeys’ Fund, and Swindon Deaf Children’s group - and that money guarantees owners’ immortality, of course. Fastest so far are the oddly named ‘Crubeen’, Irish owned, and Pinewood Porker, sponsored by the local posh school.
For more information, visit: www.helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk