Ripon Racecourse has introduced a ‘Green Scheme’ in time for the start of the 2019 season, offering discounted entry to cyclists and public transport users with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of racedays at Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse.
From the first meeting on Thursday 18th April cyclists will receive a £5 discount token for the Club or Paddock Enclosure when parking up at the bike racks provided. National Cycle Network and Cycle routes to the course, along with full details of how to collect and redeem the discount token, can be found on the Ripon Races website at https://ripon-races.co.uk/green-scheme/.
In addition, a £5 discount will also be given to racegoers who travel to Ripon from Leeds or Harrogate by bus on the raceday, with a shuttle bus also provided by the racecourse from the centre of Ripon to the track. Full details of how to take advantage of this discount can also be found at https://ripon-races.co.uk/green-scheme/
Jonathan Mullin, Marketing Manager of Ripon Racecourse said:
“The Climate Coalition’s #ShowTheLove campaign throughout February really hit home with us. We are ‘Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse’ and it is vital that we play our part both in terms of raising awareness of climate change but most importantly by becoming ‘greener’ ourselves.
“We thought introducing and incentivising the option of cycling to the races would be a good start, especially given the popularity of cycling in Yorkshire.
“We also realise that the lack of a train station in Ripon often leaves our racegoers feeling that they have little choice but to drive. We wanted to make the option of public transport more appealing, especially from Harrogate which is our nearest train station. We hope that a discount for bus users encourages racegoers to leave the car at home and makes the connection to the trainline more viable”.
There’s a quick turnaround in the race meetings at Pontefract with the second meeting of the season taking place on Monday 15th April when the equine equivalent of the London Marathon, the Pontefract Marathon, is one of the highlights on a 7 race card.
The first two year race of the season at Pontefract is The Farmer Copleys GFF Farm Shop of the Year 2019 EBF Novice Stakes. The race title celebrates the new partnership between the Racecourse and award winning local Farm Shop Farmer Copleys, who will be supplying a luxury Yorkshire hamper to the winning connections in every race at Pontefract in 2019. The race went the way of John Quinn’s ‘Carey Street’ in 2018. Trainer John Quinn will be hosting Pontefract Annual Badge Holders on the yearly stable visit later in the season.
There’s £25k up for grabs in the RIU Hotels and Resorts Handicap. The race was fought out by Foolaad and El Astronaute last year with the former just getting the better of the argument. It’s a race that always throws up future winners and is one to keep an eye on. RIU Hotels and Resorts will be back at Pontefract later in the year when they sponsor the Best Dressed Lady competition in August. This year, the winning lady will win an all inclusive holiday to Jamaica!
The ‘Into The Sky’ Pontefract Marathon Handicap – run over 2m5½ furlongs – is the longest flat race handicap run in the country and forms the second leg of the Stayers Championship. Micky Hammond has been farming the series in recent years and he has several horses in mind for the 2019 Championship. The ‘Into The Sky’ Company are a group of young adults with learning difficulties who currently use the Racecourse every Friday for their music and drama rehearsals.
The 6f Maiden has thrown up some decent winners in the past and David O’Meara has won divisions of the race in the last two years with Black Isle Boy in 2017 and Three Saints Bay in 2018. Trainers love to target races that they’ve been successful in in the past and any representative from the O’Meara yard should be noted. This race is run in honour of long standing member of staff, Richard Pemberton, who has worked at the track for 30 years, including a spell as Head Groundsman. We hope that he has a very long and happy retirement.
Napoleons Casino Bradford return to Pontefract for the third year with a programme of another 5 sponsored races at the track in 2019. While the Golden Horseracing Club sponsor two races on the card promoting racehorse ownership with their fantastic club.
The Racecourse are continuing their Postcode Lottery promotion in 2019 and those living in York can pick up a free ticket for this meeting if they register before the day. All postcodes throughout Yorkshire will be able to get tickets to specific meetings throughout the year.
There’s never been a better reason to go racing more often!
LAST SEASON’S champion two-year-old, Too Darn Hot, is the stand-out name in an intriguing 89-strong entry for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes – the May 17 feature race of York’s curtain-raising three-day festival.
The colt’s trainer John Gosden has a fine recent record in the famous mile and a quarter Group 2 race, landing three of the last four renewals, including the 2015 running with subsequent Investec Derby hero, Golden Horn. The unbeaten Too Darn Hot is one of 14 entries made by the 2018 leading trainer for this year’s £165,000 contest on the Knavesmire.
Master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, has won the Epsom Blue Riband four times in the last seven years and has made 24 entries in the York showpiece – a race that many people identify as the key trial for the Classic showdown. They include Group 1 winner, Magna Grecia, as well as the hugely promising Japan, who won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his third and final outing when aged two.
Charlie Hills has made an entry for Phoenix Of Spain, who won the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes on the Knavesmire before succumbing by a head to Magna Grecia at Doncaster.
Tom Dascombe could be represented by Royal Ascot winner, Arthur Kitt, who finished runner-up to Too Darn Hot in the Solario Stakes at Sandown prior to running fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston won this race in 2017 with Permian. A year later he saddled runner-up Dee Ex Bee and has made seven entries for this spring’s renewal.
Plans remains fluid for the septet at this stage, but they include the 110-rated Arctic Sound, who has won four of his six starts – including a Newmarket Group 3 – and Living Legend, who struck in a Kempton novice in the manner of a progressive performer last Saturday.
Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father, assessed: “Living Legend probably deserves to be in the race least (of the Johnston entries) at the moment, given he was allocated a mark of 86 by the handicapper on Tuesday morning and he will have to improve a huge amount to be up to that level.
“That said, he’s an unexposed, exciting horse and one we’ve really been looking forward to. He wintered well and we thought he was capable of a good performance at Kempton, which he delivered.
“We’re nowhere near the bottom of him yet and he could still be anything, so he deserves those lofty entries. There is an argument that he should be running in a handicap off that mark in the near future, but he produced an impressive performance.”
Regarding Arctic Sound, he continued: “We’re not entirely sure what his optimum trip will be and he’s entered in pretty much every Guineas in Europe – the English, Irish, French and German.
“We’ll probably go down that route to begin with, but if you’d have asked me towards the middle of last summer, I would have expected him to improve when he was upped in trip.
“We thought he would go and win the Stonehenge (in which he finished last of six runners) at Salisbury and that was his most disappointing run, but he was very impressive back to seven furlongs at Doncaster and Newmarket. He’ll start back over a mile and then he has the option of going up in trip if he needs to.”
The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May inclusively