Kiplingcotes Derby

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Kiplingcotes Finishing Post

Kiplingcotes Derby is widely accepted to be the oldest annual horse race in the English sporting calendar. It reputedly began in 1519 and takes place on the third Thursday in March, often in exceptionally adverse weather conditions. The 499th race was due to take place on 15 March 2018 but was cancelled due to dangerous conditions (a waterlogged course with deep water-filled wheel ruts).[1]

The Kiplingcotes (also spelt Kipling Cotes) race is the oldest in England, having taken place every year since 1519. It is run every spring. One quirk of the ancient rules means the second place rider often receives more in prize money than the winner. It is not run over a typical modern racecourse. A clerk is paid 5 shillings (25p) annually for maintaining it.


Kiplingcotes is a small hamlet close to Market Weighton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The Derby starts near to the former Kiplingcotes railway station and finishes at Londesborough Wold Farm.


Number Year Date Ref
490th 2009 19 March [2]
491st 2010 18 March [3]
492nd 2011 17 March [4]
493rd 2012 15 March [5]
494th 2013 21 March [6]
495th 2014 20 March [7]
496th 2015 19 March [8]
497th 2016 17 March [9]
498th 2017 16 March


499th 2018 15 March [Note 1][1]


  • The course takes in four miles of arduous farm track and field.
  • Riders must weigh in at ten stones (excluding saddle).
  • Horses of any age can be ridden.
  • All those wishing to enter must gather by the starting post by 11 a.m. on the morning of the Derby.
  • The winner receives the sum of £50, but the rider finishing second receives the remainder of the total of the entry fees.
  • The rules also state that if the race is not run one year, then it must never be run again.

During the harsh winter of 1947, no one was daring enough to take part, and so one local farmer took it upon himself to lead a lone horse around the course, ensuring that the historic race would survive.[11] During the 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis the race was once again reduced to one horse and rider.[12] In 2018 the race was cancelled after the course was waterlogged, and a single horse was led round the course.[1]


  1. ^ A horse was walked round the course to preserve the race.


  1. ^ a b c "Famous Kiplingcotes Derby is abandoned due to waterlogged course". Pocklington News. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Maisey triumphs at Kiplingcotes Derby - England's oldest horse race". Beverley Guardian. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "The 'Local' Race - The Kiplingcotes Derby. The 491st Race, 18th March 2010". Wicstun. 24 March 2010. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "The 'Local' Race - The Kiplingcotes Derby. The 492nd Race, 17th March 2011". Wicstun. 20 March 2011. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "The 'Local' Race - The Kiplingcotes Derby. The 493rd Race, 15th March 2012". Wicstun. 19 March 2012. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "The 'Local' Race - The Kiplingcotes Derby. The 494th Race, 21st March 2013". Wicstun. 21 March 2013. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "The 'Local' Race - The Kiplingcotes Derby. The 495th Race, 20th March 2014". Wicstun. 27 March 2014. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "England's oldest horse race gallops through Yorkshire". Country Life. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Kiplingcotes Derby winner 'never been so scared'". BBC News. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Under starter's orders... for UK's oldest horse race". ITV News. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  11. ^ Ellerington, Alison (1989). The Kiplingcotes Derby. Hyperion Books. ISBN 978-0-948929-32-8. 
  12. ^ Ross, Alex (20 March 2015). "Double joy for Kiplingcoates Derby couple". Gazette & Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°54′27″N 0°37′27″W / 53.9074°N 0.6243°W / 53.9074; -0.6243