ON Sunday (September 8), the mists lifted and a glorious day of sunshine welcomed the 17th annual Fintray Sheltie Stakes and Family Fun Day.
By the start time of 11am the crowds had gathered for very busy day.
The race day has become a firm favourite for everyone living in the village of Hatton of Fintray and the surrounding communities, and organisers welcomed back the Shelties from the Clothie Sheltand Pony Stud.
They remain the stars of the show as they took to the racecourse for their six races.
Alis Watson told the Herald, “We have to say a huge thank you to Mrs Brooker of Clothie Shetland Pony Stud and Mrs. Helen Thompson from Shetland who have provided the racing Shetland ponies since 1997. Some of the ponies and riders travel down from the Shetland Islands to compete from Mrs. Thompson’s Shetland Pony Stud too.
“The Sheltie Stakes was a very special day for our local riders, Molly Simpson (5) and Ashleigh Reid (6) as they were competing in the lead rein race. This was Molly’s second year and Ashleigh’s first. A very exciting weekend for them.”
Racing started with a classic carriage driving race. The highlight of which was driver Elinor Bosenquet completing the course with a very impressive team of four Shetland driving ponies.
This was followed by a keenly contested lead rein race for the very youngest riders. It is a fast and furious race as the handlers love to win with their young riders. Local Fintray racer Molly Simpson won the race.
Race 3 was for the more experienced riders and is aptly named the “Stampede” as it was a one circuit gallop. Race 3 was won by another local girl ,Wikka Attema.
Race 4 – the Heart of Glass, Sponsored by Jennifer Jane ,Stained Glass of Fintray tested the jockeys’ stamina with another speedy gallop to win the gold cup. This time won by Rebecca Fraser from Shetland. The ponies were given a well deserved rest over lunch time.
Two-legged competitors took over next, participating in the novelty race, this year sponsored by local company, Tor Ecosse.
The excitement mounted in the afternoon with races equivalent of the Grand National with race track jumps. Race 6 was a one and a half laps of the track, won by local girl, Wikka Attema.
The show culminated with the finale of the racing with a two and a half lap race over the jumps, this year won by Melody Goodlad of the Shetland Islands.
There were plenty of stalls to keep the young race goers amused, including ‘Splat the Rat’, Angry Birds, Fish Tricks, Flip-a-Frog and trendy face painting. There were lots of games for the youngsters from card games to hook-a-duck, the Coconut Shy, bash-the-can, “Beat The Goalie” and “Make a Badge”.
For the more energetic youngsters there was a bouncy castle and for those with head for heights a climbing wall, very kindly donated by Lochter Activity Centre.
Members of the Zumba Tonic Starz Troop entertained the audience with their energy and athletic movements. There was also plenty of music from “The Scatters”, a local band made up with a varied selection of instruments including the fiddle, a mandolin, whistles, guitar, banjo and a bodhran drum. They all members of S.C.A.T –Scottish Culture and Traditions.
There were refreshments at the barbecue, with burgers by Mr Dossett of Kintore, the Cream Tea Tent, Beer Tent and the primary school provided a soft drinks and ice cream stall.
Ali Watson added, “The event was the result of months of hard work so we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has pitched in their time and effort to help make Sunday such a success. Our special thanks go to Mrs Brooker and Mrs Thompson and their riders and extra special racing ponies.
“The advertising and sponsorship revenue received by Fintray Sheltie Stakes each year goes a long way to ensuring the continued success of the event. We would like to say a huge thank you to our local companies who pull out all the stops to donate their services and provide funding to make this show such a wonderful community event.
“We would also like to thank the Rotary Club of Blackburn and District who assisted the Sheltie Stakes. They were on hand on the days leading up to the event, helping set up the tents and they ran a stall on the day and also helped to tidy up after the event.
“Last but not least we have to thank the Sheltie Stakes Committee headed by Mrs. Ilene Fyfe. She is the lynch pin of this big event. She puts so much time and hard graft into making it such a unique event. Thank you to everyone who helped on the set-up day and also all day on the various stalls and food tents at the event.
Not many communities can throw a party like the Sheltie Stakes and raise money. We are very lucky to have such willing helpers from the village and surrounding areas.
The money raised is for Hatton of Fintray School and The Village Hall. Many projects are undertaken to improve the facilities at the school and the hall.”