Category Archives: Ripon


The expertise and dedication of the grounds team at Ripon Racecourse has been recognised by this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards with the team winning the John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year Award.

The four-strong grounds team at Ripon Racecourse work consistently to produce a racing surface that is fast, good/good to firm for every race, whether by irrigation or drainage management. The site hosts 17 days of racing each season – with a turnaround of nine-15 days between each fixture and an average of 65 runners for each meeting (over 1,000 runners every year).

Head Groundsman Carl Tonks said “I’m very grateful and proud of our team’s hard work and dedication throughout the year. To be recognised with the elite of the Groundscare industry is truly an honour and a privilege.”

As part of this expert care, independent agronomy reports in recent years has shown that the turf management process has improved.

In addition to the track, the team also maintains 210 acres of open space, car parks, woodland, lakes and buildings, which accommodate varied use, including:

Over 50 outside events such as

  • caravan rallies, car shows, beer festivals, car boot sales and dog shows;
  • Weddings, conferences and trade shows;
  • On the lake – fishing, diving, canoeing, jet skiing, triathlon training; and
  • Pigeon race liberations.

Organised by the IOG – the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities – the annual awards embrace categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment.

The awards highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level. They are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.

Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “With a record number of entries, this year’s awards continue to demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level. 

“Winning an award is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces – which enables more games to take place – goes largely unnoticed.”

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Ripon Races hit the #TopSpot with RCA Showcase award shortlist

Ripon Racecourse is delighted to announce they have been named as a Finalist for the prestigious Showcase & Awards, hosted by the Racecourse Association (RCA).

The Showcase & Awards is the marquee event of British racecourses that annually celebrates first class customer experience in partnership with Moët Hennessy and Racing Post.

Ripon Racecourse has been listed as a Finalist in the #TopSpot category. From the five Finalists the winner will be revealed at the Showcase & Awards ceremony on 16 November at Newbury Racecourse. 

The #TopSpot Award is looking for standalone initiatives, large or small, that enrich the racecourse brand and/or raceday experience for customers. To enter racecourses had to tweet an image using #TopSpot and a brief description.

Ripon Racecourse particularly impressed the judges through their Heck Pop-Up BBQ initiative which has seen the Racecourse working with Theakston Brewery and Heck Food to bring together the best of Yorkshire produce with the ‘BBQ n Beer Fest’ season finale.

Erin Boswell, Marketing Manager at Ripon Racecourse, said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted in such a competitive category. The annual RCA Showcase awards is something all Racecourses engage in and we are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the fifth year in a row. Both Theakston’s and Heck are big local brands that are at the top of their game and are on our doorstep. We offering racegoers a wonderful upgrade option to showcase what amazing produce we have here in Yorkshire. It was also a great way to celebrate a successful season and initiative to offer our racegoers some added value to our season finale”

Stephen Atkin, RCA Chief Executive, said, “I am delighted for Ripon Racecourse for their success in being named a Finalist at the 2017 Showcase & Awards.

“It is a highlight of our year to see all of the quality Showcase Awards submissions go before the judges to measure the impact and growth of the initiatives that our racecourses have delivered and clearly Ripon have enjoyed an excellent year.

“I extend my congratulations to the team for their hard work in securing this achievement and wish them the best of luck for the ceremony at Newbury on Thursday 16th November where we’ll see if they can join our esteemed list of winners.”

 #TopSpot Finalists

 Beverley—The Bark D’Triomphe

Hamilton Park—Winners Wall

Newbury—Newbury Poppy Appeal

Pontefract—The Wall of Fame

Ripon—Heck! Pop-up BBQ


It’s a well-known fact that Yorkshire’s well established for its wonderful produce along with being blessed with some of the country’s finest Horse Racing.

Ripon Races have taken the saying ‘Love thy neighbour’ to another level and have teamed for the second year with Masham based brewers Theakston’s and Bedale based Heck Food for a BBQ n Beer festival to end their 2017 season.

The meeting which takes place on Saturday 30th September is the fourth annual event put on by Theakstons at the Racecourse, the pop-up Beer Festival with a full range of seasonal and new ales from Theakstons is in addition to the permanent ‘Theakston Terrace Bar’ that was installed as part of the 2013 winter renovations.

Heck and Theakstons will both be on course as part of the BBQ n Beer festival, along with Leeds acoustic duo ‘Strobe’ who will be performing throughout the afternoon in the dedicated chill out area.

The trio have teamed up to offer racegoers the ultimate BBQ package with entry, a Heck BBQ meal and a pint of Yorkshire’s finest Theakston Ale and can be pre-booked on the Ripon Races website.

Victoria Bramley, Marketing Manager of Theakston Brewery said “We are greatly looking forward to the fourth Annual Theakston Pop-Up beer festival at Ripon Races and to what is fast becoming the must-go-to event in the Ripon social calendar. This year’s will be even bigger and better with a record number of nine of our famous Masham brewed ales on the bar and, in attendance with us for the second year running are the wonderful Heck whose sausages complements our beer perfectly!”

James Hutchinson, Managing Director of Ripon Races said “We are thrilled to continue our great working relationship with Theakston’s and showcase the best of Yorkshire BBQ with Heck joining the team. It’s amazing to think we have come to the end of what has been a fantastic season here at Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse’

Racing highlights of the day include the Class 2 ‘Ripon Cathedral City of The Dales Handicap Stakes’, a £25,000 contest for 3 year olds and upwards over six furlongs, ‘The Noel Hetherton Memorial Handicap Stakes’ a £10,000 five furlong sprint which remembers the former patron of the Racecourse who sadly passed away in 2015. 

The raceday also marks a special end to the season as the Racecourse pays tribute to their Groundstaff team with an official thank you.

The final race of the season has been fittingly named ‘The Thank You To Our Groundstaff Maiden Stakes’ as a tribute to the team behind ‘Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse’s award winning surroundings.

The team are celebrating the recent news of being named as one of three Racecourses in the final shortlist of the IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year. Ripon will go up against teams from Sandown and Nottingham and will represent the Racecourse at the annual awards dinner where the winners will be announced.

Racing on Saturday 30th September starts at 2pm with gates open for entry at 11.30am before Ripon close their gates until April 2018.