When: 8th April 2017
Where: The BIG Sheep, Abbotsham Rd, Bideford, North Devon EX39 5AP
£: Admission costs £13.95 for adults, £13.95 for children, £6 for children (under 3ft in height), and babies under 12 months go free
What is it?
The BIG Sheep in North Devon will be holding their annual Sheep Grand National on Saturday 8th April. So whilst most people are glued to the more famous Grand National on television, visitors to the family attraction will be cheering on an altogether different animal.
Visitors to the BIG Sheep will be able to place their bets on six of the region’s top show jumping sheep. All the sheep and their jockeys have been in secret training for almost six months and the ‘Sheepstakes’ promise to have all the pace, excitement and adrenaline rush of watching the Grand National live.
This year’s line-up will be:
Alderknitty, ridden by Bob Chump (owner, Jenny Knitman). Alderknitty has emerged as the bookies’ favourite in the Sheepstakes after a promising season, and waltzing home in this race last year.
Sheargar, ridden by Woolly Carson (owner, Lord L ewe-can). Sheargar ran a cracking race to take second place to Alderknitty in last year’s Sheepstakes. Sheargar has been in fine form this season and could leave Alderknitty following in his shadow.
Little Pullover, ridden by R. Ramcombe (owner, HRH The Q-ewe-en). Little Pullover is the oldest sheep running and loves tackling the fences. The 10-year-old could still go well despite his advancing years, but this is a tough call.
Golden Fleece, ridden by P Earl (owner, Harris Tweed Esq). Golden Fleece has been a little disappointing this season, winning only one of his five starts, and he was well beaten in last year’s Sheepstakes. He now has something to prove but could be this year’s big surprise.
Woolly Jumper, ridden by P. Scrabimore (owner, P. Ringles). Woolly jumps very well and he has proven stamina, so it would be no surprise to see him run well. With luck on his side, he looks sure to mount a very big challenge.
Red Ram, ridden by Jester Piglet (owner, Jenny Knitman). Red Ram has not been disgraced on his three outings this season, and could sneak into a place if jumping adequately.
The betting forecast is Aldernitty 7-2, Sheargar 11-2, Little Pullover 9-1, Golden Fleece 12-1, Woolly Jumper 20-1, and Red Ram 66-1.
Bets can be placed prior to the 3.45pm wacky race and everyone placing a bet on the Sheepstakes will be issued with their own named Sheep Badge, which they can take home to remind them of their day out.
The BIG Sheep’s Grand National Sheepstake is now one of the great spectacles in the international sporting calendar and last year telephone bets were received from France, Wales and Brighton.