THE thrills and spills of harness racing return to Bitterley this weekend with the stars of the circuit set to do battle across a number of events.

The Ludlow Trotting Association will host a major fixture this Saturday (July 13) at its Asbatch Farm base just off the A4117 Kidderminster Road, near the junction with the A49.

Harness racing is a form of horse racing in which the horses race at a specific gait, a trot or a pace, usually pulling a two-wheeled cart, called a sulky, which is occupied by a driver.

Stella Havard, of the event’s organising committee, said: “It’s a really exciting spectacle run on a half-mile track and the spectators are right next to the action.

“Men and women of all ages compete on an equal level – you can have a 70-year-old winning one race and a 16-year-old winning the next.

“And it’s a sport that is untainted by money – the people who compete are racing because they love their horses, who are often family pets.”

Following the huge success of last year’s meeting, the feature race on the card, the Free For All, has been awarded a prize money bonus from STAGBI, the breed society.

The popular fixture is being organised by top female driver, Melanie Langford, who is based locally, and is keen to further the sport in the region.

Langford is as talented in the saddle as she is on the sulky seat, and there will be a well-subscribed saddle race among the dozen or so events on the race card.

There will be a bar, bookmakers and catering, with racing beginning at 1.30pm, and entrance to the track costing £8 per person to include racecard, with free admission for under-16s and free parking.