ORGANISERS hope horse racing fans won’t get the hump when they see camels taking part in the Cotley Point-to-Point this month.
Four camels are set to come thundering down the finishing straight, ridden by jockeys wearing flowing Lawrence of Arabia style regalia, all in aid of the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance charity.
Final preparations are being made for the annual event, which is in its 61st year, and despite last month’s deluge organisers are confident that they can avoid a repeat of the 2012 meeting which had to be cancelled at the last minute because of bad weather.
Tom Eames, event chairman, said: “We’ve got four camel races, each with four camels competing, and we’ve been inundated with riders willing to raise sponsorship in order to be jockeys and from businesses wanting to sponsor the camels.
“Riding the camels is thrilling, even if I wasn’t sure who was in control, me or the camel, and several other organisers have held camel racing with enormous success.
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to come point-to-point racing as it’s a great sport which people of all ages can enjoy.”
Camels will run on the flat over a shorter distance of around one furlong at 11.30am, 12 noon, 12.30pm and 1pm, and Tom said if it is a success they will consider including it in next year’s event.
Normal racing will resume after the camel races with the first of six races at 1.30pm and the last at 4.30pm.
There are nine fences measuring 4ft 3ins, including an open ditch, all jumped twice.
Between 2.40pm and 3.20pm the famous lemon and white Cotley hounds will parade.
Organisers hope to raise more than £4,000 from the racing, which takes place on Sunday, March 30, at Cotley Farm, near Chard.
Tickets cost £20 per car (£10 for those with just one person), and there will be a bar, a barbecue, trade stands, a bouncy castle, a Tote and assorted bookmakers.