Picture gallery: Big crowd turns out to see camel racing at Fakenham Racecourse

It may not quite have had the intensity of a certain horse race 24 hours earlier.

The field for the 4.45pm Battle of The Pub Camels at Fakenham was also somewhat smaller than the 4.15pm John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

And the result of the one furlong Norfolk chase was known a lot quicker than the Merseyside four mile four furlong steeplechase.

However, the large crowd which bathed in the perfect spring sunshine enjoyed every minute of the fun as jockeys wearing an array of fancy dress costumes bravely got on board the camels and reached speeds of up to 30mph in the mad dash to the finishing line.

Wonder Woman - aka 23-year-old Kerry Sumner representing the Crown at Gayton - clinched the champion's trophy as she rode Sahara to victory.

The winning camel is a five-year-old rare Pintado dromedary and the only one of her type in the country.

'I'm very happy,' said Kerry modestly, as she clutched her champagne and trophy after beating off Alex Vaughn-Jones in the run off.

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Alex - dress as a king and representing the King's Arms, Blakeney - was on Ruby, which was the winning mount for both he and Kerry in their heats.

But Ruby's luck run out and she also created plenty of laughs among the big crowd as she got up to a few naughty tricks on the course.

Kerry, who worked at the Crown for four years and lives just outside Gayton, said: 'I still thought I could win on Sahara even though Ruby had won both the heats. I just kept kicking and got Sahara running.'

Crown landlady Felicity Atherton was delighted with the pub's success.

'It is wonderful. Kerry rode a brilliant race. It is an excellent event and lovely to do something that creates a bit of good news for pubs rather than budgets and prices increases and closures.'

The event was organised by Pippa Case, who won the inaugural race last year for the Crown at East Rudham, and she hopes last year's total of �3000 will be bettered this year for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

'We wanted to do something to raise money, which spectators would enjoy and have some fun,' said Mrs Case, who had her own simple advice for riding a camel. 'Hold on really tight and hope the camel gets to the winning line first!'

Her brother Toby Sexton took over the reins from her but was beaten in to second in his heat.

The fun race came at the end of an afternoon of amateur horse racing and the other jockeys taking part on the camels were Dan Watt (The Hunny Bell, Hunworth), Simon Wilson Stephens (The Dabbling Duck, Great Massingham), Zoe Fuller (The Hoste Arms, Burnham Market), Emma Plumbe (The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster) and Caroline Cooke (The Stiffkey Red Lion).

The four camels racing are all owned by Joseph's Amazing Camels from Warwickshire and they also take part in polo and star in films and TV shows.

'They are the most wonderful animals and have incredible memories and brains,' said Joseph Fossett, who was been involved with camels for more than 30 years.

'They really enjoy racing and are so nice to work with.'

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