The Grand National is coming to Frome! 22/06/2012

By Larissa Chapman

General news

22 June 2012 16:56

THE GRAND NATIONAL is coming to Frome Show this year – the Shetlands Grand National that is.

The race is open to riders between nine and 13 years of age and will take place in the Main Ring at the West Woodlands Showfield, with riders jumping a number of miniature hurdles in each of the two lap heats for a place in the final to decide the winner.

It’s just one of the new competitions which have been introduced to the equestrian classes for the 2012 show – it takes place on Saturday, September 8th – and which, says Horse Section Chairman Pam Norris, will bring a whole new range of exciting entertainment choices to the Main Ring programme.

“It’s the first time Frome has played host to the Shetlands Grand National but it’s not the only first this year,” she said. “We’re also running a competition for scurries, lightweight two-man traps pulled by two ponies which will be racing against the clock for a place in a final.

“If you’ve never seen scurries racing, you’re in for a real treat.”

The Shetlands Grand National is not the only link with the “real” race. Jenny Pitman, who, in 1983 became the first woman to train a Grand National winner when Corbiere took the honours, will be the conformation judge in the “Racehorse to Ride” class while former Champion Jockey Graham Thorner, who rode Well to Do to victory in the 1972 race, will judge the horses’s rideability in the same class, which is sponsored by top flat race trainer, Paul Nicholls.

And completing to the list of celebrity judges will be Jennie Loriston Clarke who has represented Great Britain in four Olympic Games and is now an FEI International Dressage and International Three Day Event judge. She’ll be casting a highly experienced eye over the entries in the Mountain and Moorlands class.

 “This year’s equestrian and Main Ring programme is the most exciting we’ve had for a long time,” said Pam. “As well as the Shetlands Grand National and the scurry racing, there’s BSJA show jumping, carriage driving, a visit from the Wiltshire and Infantry Beagles and, of course, the Grand Parade.

“It’s going to be flat out in the Main Ring from 8.00am till after 6.00pm when the final show jumping classes come to an end and there’ll also be plenty going on in the show rings all day, too.”

Horse section schedules are available from show secretary Brenda Scott, 01373 463600,, or from the show website,