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Commonwealth Games 2002

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  Monday, 6 May, 2002, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Gators aid charity funds
Sports betting website Blue Square is to hold a seres of alligator races for charity
Alligators can be quick - or they can just do nothing
Snappy they may be, but that generally refers to their teeth-encrusted snouts.

Alligators are not widely know for their fast response times to the starter's gun.

But now one company is hoping a batch of the South American reptiles will feel the need for speed.

Six alligators - measuring between 18 inches and two feet in length - will step onto the track in numbered vests on Tuesday to take part in a series of races for charity that will be broadcast live on the internet.

The event organisers are hoping the reptiles show the same predatory instincts for racing as they would chasing prey in the wild.

Sometimes they love it, sometimes they don't move at all
Ed Pownell
Blue Square

"When they (alligators) get going they really go," said Ed Pownell, a spokesman for the sports betting website Blue Square.

"But it's just a question of whether they go.

"Sometimes they love it, sometimes they don't move at all."

All contenders are priced at 9/2 but if none has crossed the finish line within three minutes the winner will be the closest one to it.

The event, at Ealing Studios in west London, is to be broadcast on

Last year the company held a hamster race and the year before that it was snails.

Exotic breeds

But Pownell laughed off suggestions that children could try and copy the event at home.

"You have to have a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence to hold alligators so they won't be able to get one of those," he said.

Blue Square are expecting to take 1,000 a day in bets - double that taken when the company put hamster wheels inside dragster cars in aid of Comic Relief last year.

Animal Allsorts, which supplies exotic breeds for filming and is the owner of the reptiles, said they are all novices.

"This is their first time out. I hope it all goes very well," said qualified handler Dave Broadbridge.

All proceeds will go to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

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