FoOTBALL mascots of all shapes and sizes came to do battle at Doncaster Racecourse - and fur flew and heads rolled in a crazy and colourful spectacle.
Dogs, lions, elephants, birds and scores of other assorted furry friends were at Town Moor for the fundraising 100m final - but Olympic champ Usain Bolt need not worry just yet.
Mascots from more than 20 different clubs lined up in the centre of the course for yesterday afternoon’s wacky race with supporters cheering on their favourites from the stands.
But there was no success for South Yorkshire mascots taking part with Doncaster Rovers’ Donny Dog, Rotherham United’s Miller Bear and Sheffield United’s Captain Blade all missing out on the winners’ podium.
The honours went instead to York City mascot Yorkie Lion who romped home ahead of Oldham’s Chaddy Owl and Billy Brewer of Burton Albion, who all saw off the challenge of last year’s victor, Notts County’s Mr Magpie.
But Bramall Lane favourite Captain Blade was shown the red card for dirty tricks - after starting his race just ten metres from the finish line - and also attempting to nobble MK Dons cow mascots Donny and Mooie by pouring water in their shoes as they lined up ahead of the start.
Several competitors took a tumble on the turf and feet and heads were lost as mascots fought tooth and nail to reach the line first with Channel Four racing presenter Derek Thompson commentating on the zany scenes.
A deflated Donny Dog said afterwards: “I feel woof. I couldn’t get hold of the lead but at least I wasn’t at the tail end. I hope I’ve given some of the others paws for thought though!”
Winner Yorkie admitted he’d been in training for months ahead of the challenge, organised by The Football League and to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK.
As he was presented with a medal and a bottle of champagne, he said: “I always knew I’d win. I didn’t fear anyone - I’m a lion after all!”
The race also attracted mascots from Leicester City, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, Derby County, Brighton and Hove Albion, Hartlepool United, Bradford City, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town, Oxford United, Peterborough United, Tranmere Rovers and Coventry City.
Claire Walsh of Prostate Cancer UK said: “We were thrilled so many mascots unleashed their competitive side to take part in the race. Every penny raised by fans will help us support more of the 250,000 men living with prostate cancer in the UK.”
To add your support and make a £3 donation, text PROSTATE9 and your favourite mascot’s name (ie Donny Dog) to 70004.