Greenwich pantomime horse race

How To Win A Pantomime Horse Race

Carly Dexter-Fry – assistant manager at the Greenwich Pelton Arms and front-end of the 2011 winning entry – offers her five tips to the Daily Telegraph for those hoping to take home the top prize:

1. “You have to trust your partner. The person at the back can’t see where they’re going at all, so they have to know you’ll lead them in the right direction. I was at the back for a while but I couldn’t deal with it.

2. “You do get seriously sweaty. Take all your layers off. Even though it’s only mid-December you should only be wearing a t-shirt.

3. “You’ll probably be drinking all the way round, so it’s good to work in a pub. You’ll have a good alcohol tolerance.

4. “There’s no need to do any training. I play football anyway though, which probably helped.

5. “On the morning of the race I just ate a banana, but you should probably have porridge – or a sugar lump or something.”


John McCririck Returns For London’s Greatest Horse Race!

Pundit for Panto!

Place your bets now as John McCririck hosts the 5th annual London Pantomime Horse Race!


At 11.00am on Sunday 14th December, in a place not so far away called Greenwich, you will find the daftest charity event in London.

Over 40 Panto horses (not to mention the odd cow and zebra) will take part in this fantastically silly, fun-packed comedy race all in the name of raising money for Demelza Children’s Hospice and featuring an impressive line-up of celebrity guests and performers!


Legendary television horse racing pundit John McCririck will be donning his infamous deer-stalker, providing some commentary and giving expert tips on who to back in the field before starting the race.

When interviewed about his return to the microphone, John McCririck commented; “Yes, I have broadcast from The Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival and The Epsom Derby, but the crowning jewel in my 33-year career will definitely be the London Pantomime Horse Race!”

Now in its 5th year, this increasingly popular event has been billed as the ‘Sci-Fi Edition’.

Led by the Black Knight’s Drum and Bugle Corp, a battalion of 50 Stormtroopers (from UK Garrison), along with Darth Vader and R2D2 will march from Greenwich’s Cutty Sark to Devonport House ahead of the opening ceremony.


Former ‘Grange Hill’ star Erkan Mustafa (Roland Browning) will be mingling with the crowds as a roving reporter.

Celebrity surprise guests are expected – previously the event has attracted celebrity support from the likes of Arthur Smith, Harry Hill, and Bill Bailey.

Thousands of supporters will line the streets to cheer on their favourite four-footed contestants to festive glory!

David Grant, the mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich poses with a pantomime horse ahead of the 5th Annual London Pantomime Horse Race. Photo by Brian Aldrich.
David Grant, the mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich poses with a pantomime horse ahead of the 5th Annual London Pantomime Horse Race.
Photo by Brian Aldrich.

Once the winner is crowned, comedian & actor Stephen Frost (‘BlackAdder’ ,‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’) will host the After Race Christmas Party at The Greenwich Tavern, with appearances from Madness tribute band ‘Toot’n’Skamen’, and cover band headliners ‘The Manzarek Doors.’

There will also be an set from ‘The Star Wars Canteena Band’.

Mark Biddiss, founder of the event, describes the free annual event as “unashamedly daft but gloriously funny to witness”.

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Race Training Begins…

Most racers turn up on the day and work out their horse manoeuvres by trial and error – but for some it’s never too early to start their training for the big day.

Photographer Tim Anderson snapped a herd of super keen ponies this morning as they cantered and pranced alongside The Thames and up to the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.



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2013 Race Highlights

Comedian Harry Hill threw his support behind this year’s event, as well as other celebs including Jamie Oliver and Arthur Smith -with Cheryl Baker appearing at the ceremony and tribute acts Freddie Mercury and The Counterfeit Beatles performing.


Costumed competitors and The King’s Troop took part in a pre-race ceremony at Devonport House with the race kicking off from King William Walk, followed by an after party at the Greenwich Tavern.

Greenwich Panto Horse

Event organiser Mark Biddiss said: “The fantastically silly race is very much a must-see event. Namely for the absurd sight of galloping pantomime horses, along with people dressed up as various fruit and vegetables. ”

Lots of media turned up – even Chinese State Television sent a crew to report on the event.

‘Brian Nay’ made a special guest appearance at the Balcony of Devonport House, Greenwich, to perform ‘God save the Queen’ in front of a huge crown.

‘The Queen’ also showed up on the Balcony along with ‘Freddie Mercury’. Footage also features a grumpy looking Court Jester, played by the brilliant comedian ‘Arthur Smith’ .

Comedian Arthur Smith AKA The Grumpy Jester.


Her Majesty The Queen (kind of) addresses the crowd at the pre race ceremony.


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‘Nay the Horse be with you’ says Sky News weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar.


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"A fantastically silly must-see event"