The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC May competition voters’ comments
Clue no. 32: Partners of betters see first of local derby races abandoned (6)

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A clue to ELDERS.
5 comments refer to this clue (from 4 competitors, 0 others)
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Here is the text

Comments on the clue
1.Perhaps 'starts' would be better than 'first' to indicate three initial letters?
2.Good to see a misleading definition
3.You need "see firsts" in the plural. IMO, the definition needs to reference that elders partners betters in a saying, somehow.
4.Surface unconvincing, 47 works better
Comments on the competition
I liked the attempts at composite anagram & lit. clues, though most of these did not indicate this quite right. Clues that did include 1 and 60. The "Leeds" clues were generally very good, but especially 62 with its misleading definition.

Clues 32 and 47 used interesting syntactic definitions for "elders" as a word appearing in a saying along with the word "betters" but I feel they needed to indicate this better. In that saying, the elders are the betters. For both reasons, a definition like "betters, they say" would be fairer.

When referring to a word syntactically as a word or string of letters it is a single object and matching verbs should be conjugated in the third person singular. This is illustrated by the following (bad) joke:

Pupil: "I is —"
Teacher: "You can't say 'I is' — you need to use 'I am.'"
Pupil: (doubtfully) "I am a short word."