Picture gallery: Frankie Dettori picks Great Yarmouth winners

With their bright coats gleaming at Great Yarmouth racecourse, they were all declared throughbred winners by top jockey Frankie Dettori - who could not wait to leap on the back of one of them.

However, it was left to the cheers of the packed crowd at yesterday's Easter family fun day race meeting to determine the winner of the most unusual 'race' in the course's history.

Art students from schools and colleges across East Anglia have spent months lovingly refurbishing, painting and naming 30 wooden horses off the century-old carousel at Pleasurewood Hills theme park in Lowestoft.

All their hard work culminated in yesterday afternoon's appearance in the parade ring for an eagerly-waited contest with Channel 4 racing commentator Derek Thompson delivering the form.

Describing the artists' efforts as 'brilliant - so successful', he presented a special winners' trophy to students from King Edward V1 School in Bury St Edmunds whose horse Jubilee was judged victorious by dint of the loudest cheers.

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Runners-up in a 'race' at first declared a dead heat by Frankie were Great Yarmouth College art and design students Lorna Pickering, 17, and Rea Garforth, 16, and their steed Herbert, sporting bright blue and mauve colours.#

Alexis Camelin, general manager at Pleasurewood Hills, said: 'After a decade of service and an estimated two million riders since the last overhaul, the horses were in need of a facelift. It has been great getting the students involved in our first project of this kind.'

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The horses were removed from the carousel in January and delivered to the students who were given a free rein to use creativity.

Pleasurewood Hills spokesman Denise Thompson said: 'When the carousel was built in 1901 all the horses looked the same. Now they have all been designed differently and the result's great. I can't wait to see them back on the carousel with people riding them on Friday.'

She said 26 of the 30 horses had been on show at the race meeting and they were a fantastic draw with children.

'More than 600 members of the public took part in a vote to decide the top 10 that would go in the parade ring,' she said.

Racecourse manager Glenn Tubby said: 'People might say some horses are slow but we have never had wooden ones before. This has got to be a first for a UK racecourse.'

Polly Sizer, 14, of Thetford Grammar School, whose horse Faye made the final 10, said it was great their work was going to be enjoyed by thousands of visitors to Pleasurewood Hills.

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