THE Grand National came to North Yorkshire on Saturday – but there were no jockeys or horses in sight.

Instead, Harrogate played host to altogether smaller contestants, as crowds gathered for the UK’s first Rabbit Grand National.

There were thirteen prize bunnies, some flown in especially from Sweden, which took part in a timed race based on horse jumping and designed to be rabbit-friendly.

First away was Jasper, a Blue Dutch, aiming to beat a world record jump set 13 years ago by Danish cotton-tail Tosen, who hopped over an amazing one-metre hurdle.

Jasper cleared the first two jumps, but had four faults at the third. Owner Emma Lassey said: “I love him anyway. It’s all about him having fun.”

The event, ultimately won by a rabbit called Cheri, was a new feature of the Burgess Premier small animal show, which has been held since 1921.

Naomi Chatterley of Burgess said: “Rabbits are natural hoppers of course and because of their agility, they love it.”

She said the rabbits were trained, and such events should not be tried at home.