A NEW record could be set at today's World Pie Eating Championship after organisers decided to re-introduce gravy to the competition.

The contest, which is in its fifteenth year, is being held at Harry's Bar, in Wallgate, Wigan.

The organisers will provide competitors with a "control gravy" in a gravy boat edged with barbed wire to stop them from drinking it.

Tony Callaghan, owner of Harry's Bar, said: "The lubricative advantage of a top quality gravy served at optimum temperature accompanying a racing pie cannot be underestimated.

"We will be following the guidelines laid down by The Hindley Green Index, the recognised standard for measurement of a gravy slump in championship pie eating circles.

"This is the measurement of the spread of gravy across a dinner plate when poured from a gravy boat held precisely four inches above the plate."

The gravy can take as much as one and a half seconds off the time it takes to eat a regulation pie.

In addition to the re-introduction of gravy, the vegetarian option has been axed, after just one year.

Mr Callaghan said the inclusion of a vegetarian pie in last year's contest had been a backward step for the competition as it reduced its credibility.

The championship will be a one pie sprint, as last year, rather than a quantity contest.

All the pies in the contest must conform to strict guidelines. When cooked the pie must be 12cm in diameter and 3.5cm deep. This year they will be supplied by Wigan Pies.