A PANTOMIME horse race took an unexpected turn, as did one of the competitors.

The St Teresa’s Hospice Charity Race Day held at Catterick Racecourse on Wednesday featured an event in aid of the Darlington-based charity, with North-East firms dressing up as panto animals and racing down the course’s final furlong.

Despite good to firm going, the Lookers Volkswagen Darlington team encountered difficulties a few lengths into the race, suddenly veering off-course and crashing into the track's plastic fencing.

The jockeys of the aptly-named Wonky Donkey were unharmed, but any hope they had of winning vanished as a rival Catterick Garrison team took advantage of the chaos to sprint to victory.

Fundraising manager, John Paul Stabler, said: “Our annual panto horse race is always exciting, but I think this year’s takes the sugar lump.

“Every single panto animal really gave it everything they had. In the case of Wonky Donkey, they maybe gave it a bit too much."

Those interested in next year's race can call the hospice on 01325-254321.