Organisers of the World Hen Racing Championship were stunned to find competitors falling fowl of gamesmanship in a bid to encourage their birds over the line.
The race, which takes place at the Barley Mow Inn in Bonsall, sees chickens compete in a tradition dating back over 100 years.
National press accused villagers of training their hens and contestants were seen banging tins and garden forks and talking in strange tongues.
Save The NHS, an ex-battery hen owned by councillor Andrew Botham, set a new record of 3.8 seconds, while the overall winner was three-year-old Road Runner.
Landlady Colette Dewhurst said: “Some of the local lads have grown up with hen racing and have become, shall we say, very ‘entrepreneurial’ about it!”