The Duke is aiming for victory on home turf

The Duke aims to put pre-race favourite Kingsley in his place
The Duke aims to put pre-race favourite Kingsley in his place

Hamilton Park Racecourse mascot The Duke has been training hard as he prepares to take part in a special race this week.

The seven-and-half-foot horse – complete with monocle, top hat and tails – will take on 11 mascots from football club’s across the country, including Motherwell’s own Claret the bear, over 1/2 furlong at Friday’s Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell Racenight.

Partick Thistle mascot Kingsley is the firm favourite with the bookies with Ladbrokes offering odds of 2/1 for Kingsley while The Duke is 4/1.

If you fancy a punt on outsider Claret you’ll get 12/1 with Lanarkshire rival Hammy the Hamster of Hamilton Accies at 10/1, while the Old Firm duo of Hoopy the Huddle Hound and Broxi Bear are locked at 6/1.

The rest of the odds are: Deewok (Dundee) 10/1, Terry The Terror (Dundee United) 10/1, Nutz The Killie Squirrel (Kilmarnock) 12/1, Nessie (Inverness Caledonian Thistle) 12/1, Rossco The Staggie (Ross County) 14/1 and Roary Rover (Raith Rovers) 14/1.

Hamilton Park chief executive Vivien Kyles said: “Kingsley might be favourite with the bookies, but this is home ground for the dapper Duke and he’ll be keen to put on a good show.

“That said he hasn’t been taking anything for granted. He’s been out doing laps of the track in preparation for the event and has been putting in some work with the best trainers. He’ll be on top form.”

David Macdonald of Ladbrokes added: “We’re thrilled to bring the mascot race back. At first we thought Kingsley might have scared off the competition, but there are plenty of rivals looking to give him a run for his money so at this stage it’s too close to call.”

Racegoers are in for a treat on the last evening meeting of the season with a high-octane set from legendary DJ George Bowie with his GBXperience.

On the track, punters can look forward to the Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell Handicap Stakes (Class 3) and its £26,000 prize pot.

The race’s trophy is believed to be the oldest sporting trophy in existence, having being gifted to the people of Lanark by King William ‘The Lion’ in 1165.

Gates open at 3.30pm, with the mascots due on track before the real action gets underway at 5.20pm, for more information visit Hamilton Park