Lingfield Park's famous Shire Horse Race will be given a special military twist when it returns to the racecourse later this month.
The gentle giants will once again thunder down the track, following last year’s award-winning inaugural race, but this time with shades of the Great War story, War Horse.
This year's event on Saturday, June 28, will help to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the importance Shires played in the conflict.
Hurst Green Shires, which is planning the ‘Showerking Flying Feathers Shire Horse Charge’ race with Lingfield Park, is this year teaming up with the Royal British Legion on Armed Forces Day at Lingfield Park, to mark the past and present work of serving armed personnel.
Jax Gardiner from Hurst Green Shires, said: “This couldn’t be more appropriate - that we are having the Shire Horse Race on June 28, Armed Forces Day, in the year that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
“The Shires played such a crucial role in this conflict and I have been working closely with the Army on how we can help to mark the commemorations this year.”
Hercules, one of Jax’s shires who will take part in the race, will demonstrate the importance of the breed during World War One by leading a March Past of current, former and future members of the Armed Forces.
Together with fellow Shire, Hector, he will pull a First World War military vehicle, followed by a parade consisting of an Army cadet band, Veterans and Standard Bearers, in front of the main grandstand at the course.
Jax said: “We have traced Hercules’ ancestry directly back to the original War Horses.
“One of his line was born in 1910 at Tandridge Court and in 1914 was requisitioned by the Army and ended up in France, so it is very apt that he should be heading up the parade on the day.”
Andrew Perkins, executive director of Lingfield Park Resort, said: “This will be a very poignant moment when we will all remember the remarkable work carried out by these horses and our soldiers during the First World War.”
He said: “Every year we welcome the Royal British Legion and its members to the course to mark this important day, and this year it will be even more important as we remember the role of the heavy horses too.
“Our first Shire Horse Race last year was a tremendous success with people travelling far and wide to see such a spectacle.
“This year, we are predicting an even bigger crowd as we link it to Armed Forces Day.”
As well as the Shire Horse race, there will be seven thoroughbred races on the all-weather and turf tracks, entertainment including live music, a carousel and a display by the Royal British Legion. Website: www.lingfieldpark.co.uk