Category Archives: Thirsk

Training for Go Racing in Yorkshire Ladies’ Days

Glamour, sophistication and socialising are all synonymous with a day at the races, but it is ramped up when it comes to Ladies Day.

Each of the nine racecourses in Yorkshire will be offering superb prizes for their Best Dressed Lady. The first competition is at Wetherby on Thursday, May 30 and they continue across Yorkshire throughout the summer before the final Ladies Day at Doncaster on Friday, September 13.

These are exciting days when everyone gets the chance to dress to impress and, uniquely in Yorkshire, all nine winners are invited to attend a Grand Final at Doncaster on Saturday, October 26 where they and their guest will be wined and dined in a private box for the day as well as having the chance to be crowned Go Racing In Yorkshire’s Best Dressed Lady 2019.

In addition to the title, the winner will take home a diamond ring worth £2,000 from, a two-night spa break at the Best Western Mount Pleasant Hotel and a £500 clothing voucher from new sponsor, Incognito.

So just what do you wear for Ladies Day? For Malton racehorse trainer Ruth Jefferson, choosing an outfit on a normal race day is fairly standard.

“I had 15 pairs of the same brand of black trousers at the last count,” said Ruth, when asked how she plans what to wear for the races. “Being practical is a must, there’s no point wearing a skirt that’s too tight for me to leg the jockey up!”

However, when it comes to special occasions like Ladies Day, Ruth who took over the training licence from her late father Malcolm, admits she needs a bit of help.

After an invite to Royal Ascot last year was followed up with a social media post along the lines of, “Can I wear trousers to Royal Ascot? Mum says no but I haven’t got a dress,” it was evident a spot of shopping was required!

Like all trainers, Ruth puts the needs of the horses and staff before herself and while she likes to keep an eye on the fashion scene, having the time to follow it up comes way down the ‘to do’ list.

“I need to be smart yet comfortable and able to work. It’s a balance between being able to be hands on with the horses but presentable to the owners and in the racecourse enclosures. I only wear white trousers if we’re running a grey!” Ruth added.

Just what to wear is an age-old problem for female racegoers, but fashion boutique, Incognito can certainly come up with the answer. The business which is now based in Bawtry has been in existence for over 30 years and has a keen racing clientele.

“Doncaster racecourse is just up the road and both my sister and I are regular attendees” said Jackie Reynolds, joint partner.

“We stock collections from very well-known designer brands, plus we are always careful to guide clients as we know that friends will be attending the same social events and don’t want to be wearing the same dress as someone else. Our personal service also helps to mitigate any fashion faux pas!” she added.

The boutique has a range of styles for all tastes and the sisters have an eye for knowing what will suit clients as soon as they walk through the door. With so much variety and expert guidance, finding the perfect outfit for Ladies Day will not be a problem.

Jackie and her sister Bernie took on the challenge of kitting out Ruth in garments that are both practical and stylish and did so with fantastic results.

“I live in jodhpurs and a fleece, so it’s really nice to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I’ve worn things at Incognito that I wouldn’t normally pick up in a shop and I’m pleasantly surprised by the outcome!” said Ruth, who also put herself in the hands of students from the White Rose College of Beauty for her hair and make-up.

“I definitely look younger and must try harder on a daily basis,” she joked when she saw the final result.

However, it wasn’t all about work as Jackie and Bernie prepared a glamorous look for Ruth and her mum Sue in readiness for their annual trip to York’s Ebor meeting in August, when Ladies Day is on Thursday, August 22.

“We’ve always loved going to York,” said Sue, “it’s a fantastic racecourse and it comes at a time when we are less busy at home so can relax and enjoy ourselves among colleagues and friends”.

While the outfits are the main focus of attention it is the accessories that enhance the detail. The winner of the Best Dressed Lady Final will have the perfect accompaniment as she sports a glistening 1920’s vintage ring made of 18 carat white gold from

The two-stone twist crown is set with oval, cushion-shaped, rose-cut diamonds of the period and the total diamond weight is approximately 0.70 carats with a value of £2,000!

The winner will be able to tie in their trip to Incognito with a two night stay in a Spa Suite at the Best Western Mount Pleasant Hotel, a stay which includes champagne and home-made chocolates produced by the hotel’s own chocolatier on arrival, dinner with wine in the newly-refurbished Brassiere Artisan from the Table D’Hote menu, a full English breakfast on both days as well as a luxury fruit basket and Espa gift bag.

Helen McIlroy, of the Mount Pleasant Hotel said, “Given our proximity to Doncaster Racecourse we regularly have owners and trainers staying with us for the races or the sales and like to offer them some high-end luxury, whether their visit is for pleasure or for work purposes. It’s fitting that we should be able to offer something similar to Go Racing In Yorkshire’s Best Dressed Lady.”


An historic Helmsley-based stud farm, once owned by horse racing legend Sir Henry Cecil, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Thirsk Racecourse to back Thirsk’s most prestigious race, the Thirsk Hunt Cup, until at least 2021.
Set in 220 acres above Helmsley, Cliff Stud specialises in foaling, and with its immaculately maintained paddocks and accommodation it can accommodate up to 65 horses at any one time. The Stud also boasts two beautifully appointed holiday cottages, which are named after Cecil and his most famous horse, Frankel.
Yorkshire businessman Paul Sutherland, who acquired Cliff Stud in 2017, said: “Thirsk Racecourse and Cliff Stud both have a deep-rooted history in horse racing. The Hambleton district and surrounding area has an incredible racing heritage, with many thriving training yards. At Cliff Stud we place owners and trainers at the heart of our business and we are very proud to be sponsoring a local, historic and high-profile race such as the Thirsk Hunt Cup.”
The Thirsk Hunt Cup began in 1859, with the intention of bringing together the Country’s leading hunters, with the very first winner taking home the princely sum of thirty sovereigns. These days the race is a very competitive flat, handicap contest over a distance of one mile. The next renewal is on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Thirsk Racecourse’s Clerk of the Course, James Sanderson, said: “The Thirsk Hunt Cup is Thirsk Racecourse’s most famous race and so we are thrilled that Cliff Stud, a venue equally synonymous with Yorkshire racing, will be sponsoring the race for the next three years. With their generous support, we will see the race’s prize money grow to at least £50,000 by 2021.”
Sanderson added: “This deal will ensure that The Cliff Stud Thirsk Hunt Cup Meeting will continue to be one of the most popular race days in the region and what is good for the Racecourse is also good to for the local economy, as we attract 55,000+ visitors a year. We are very grateful to Paul and all his team at Cliff Stud for their generous sponsorship.”
Thirsk stages 16 days of competitive flat racing in 2019, from the opening meeting on Saturday 13th April, until the season-finale on Monday 16th September.


AN EXCITING season for Thirsk reaches its climax on Saturday (September 8) with three of Yorkshire’s finest in an exciting tussle to be top trainer at the track this season.

It promises to be a thrilling sub-plot to the final day of Thirsk’s season as Richard Fahey, David O’Meara and Tim Easterby go head-to-head in a shoot-out to claim top honours for the year.

Fahey leads the way with eight winners this season and launches a five-horse raid on the last day card, although two of them, Grise Lightning and Queen Penn will be chasing the same pot in the feature race of the day, the Moody Construction Fillies Handicap.

Of the pair, the consistent Queen Penn seems to have the best chance even though she has yet to win this season. However, she gets a lot of weight here and ran an eye-catching race when third to Bedouin’s Story over course and distance less than three weeks ago.

“I am hoping for the best with all my runners, but as far as winning the title is concerned, I think I could be in trouble” joked Fahey with typical understatement, even though four of his eight winners came in the opening three meetings of Thirsk’s season.

Fahey, who has been far and away the most successful trainer at Thirsk in recent seasons, also runs Irreverent in the Jenny Roberts Millinery-EBF Novice Stakes, Firewater in the Barkers Of Northallerton Nursery Handicap and Accessor in the British Stallion Studs EBF Handicap.

O’Meara, who sits one behind Fahey on seven winners for the season, will have Mutadaffeq leading his small team when the five-year-old goes in the Calverts Carpets Hambleton Cup Handicap.

The five-year-old is at the top of the handicap, but is far from out of It on form and he usually runs well at Thirsk. He won his only start on the course in 2017 and though he has not won from two previous outings this year his second to Bayshore Freeway under 10st 2lbs in June was a high quality effort.

Whether Tim Easterby can come through and pip them both from his starting point of six winners is a moot point, but the Great Habton trainer fields a strong team of nine horses spread over five races with trainer’s wife Sarah quipping: “We are really going for it!”

Leading the charge is dual winner Angels in the Moody Construction Fillies Handicap, which will be the mount of David Allan, who is also on board Regal Mirage, one of two runners for the yard in the Calverts Carpets Hambleton Cup on the back of a recent battling performance when winning at Beverley.

Gates open at 11am ahead of the first race at 2pm.