Category Archives: York

YORK RACECOURSE SEASON COMES TO A ROUSING CONCLUSION

York Racecourse concluded its 2018 season today after a hugely busy year which has seen a strong attendance, as over 350,000 racegoers witnessed 122 races over 18 fabulous days of racing action. Nearly 1,400 horses competed for a record of more than £8.2m prize money delivering an impressive average field size, which looks set to retain its position as the largest in British flat racing.

In other excitements this year, Macmillan Charity Raceday in June raised a record sum of well over £500,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities, making it the biggest charity raceday in British racing and Macmillan’s largest single fundraising event, having now raised over £8m during the last 48 years.

Showing the variety of its customer offer, York sold out in all enclosures, on Summer Music Saturday (30th June), when seven races including the innovative “jump jockeys Nunthorpe” plus a concert by Paloma Faith drew in the crowds.

The opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw the million pound Group 1 Juddmonte International rewarded by a stellar field with seven of the eight runners having previously won at the highest level, eventually headed by Roaring Lion, currently the highest rated colt in Europe for his connections, Qatar Racing and trainer, John Gosden.

The balance of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw an outstanding four days of racing action with Stradivarius taking the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup as the final leg in earning the £1m WH Stayers Bonus, supported by the same sponsors. Leading filly, Sea of Class took the Darley Yorkshire Oaks as part of her sparkling season, which culminated in a thrilling close up second to last year’s York heroine, Enable, in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, just last weekend. Arguably the most dramatic moments of the season unfolded in the photo finish that decided the Coolmore Nunthorpe as Bryan Smart’s Alpha Delphini shaded Mabs Cross, trained by Michael Dods, in a battle of northern handlers. The gracious losers had their reward, last weekend when winning the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye. Tet another highlight of a tremendous week, was seeing Mark Johnston becoming the winningmost British trainer of all time after a dramatic win by 25-1 outsider, Poet’s Society, in the Clipper Logistics Stakes under Frankie Dettori.

The total attendance for the year of 350,998 showed a modest increase on last year, reflecting the highs of Summer Music Saturday, the glorious distraction of the Football World Cup, the disruption caused by train strikes on several racedays and the ill luck of some disappointing weather during a generally pleasant summer.

A wider challenge in July was the disappointing abandonment of the Tom Jones concert after thunderstorms in the South East disrupted the travel plans of the Welsh singer.

The final day saw nearly 19,000 racegoers brave Storm Callum to watch Josephine Gordon partner Major Jumbo to success in the Coral Sprint Trophy, for Hambleton based trainer Kevin Ryan. Indeed northern stables achieved a clean sweep on the final day, with five different Yorkshire yards adding a double for Tom Dascombe, based over the Pennines.

Malton based, Richard Fahey was crowned as the Charles Clinkard York Top Trainer; his hugely impressive sixteen winners giving him a ninth title. So the wonderful Skeaping Bronze will be heading to a familiar mantelpiece. The conclusion of the season long contest to be top jockey at York saw Oisin Murphy win the Living North-sponsored race after seven victories.

The 2018 season saw the £5million refurbishment of the infield of the course, as the newly named Clocktower Enclosure saw two new toilet blocks, improved pathways and infrastructure, which helped boost summer attendance and improve the experience in this important picnic area.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse said “What a memorable season 2018 has been. The continued investment in prize money, the track and facilities has been rewarded with tremendous sporting action. Thanks must go to all the horseman and connections of the stars for bringing them to the Knavesmire. York racegoers are rightly lauded for their love of the sport and they have been treated to some of the very best horses ridden by the very best jockeys once again this year. The achievement of Richard Fahey in setting a record for seasonal winners at York, as well the history making victory for Mark Johnston are the headliners to the underlying strength of flat racing in Yorkshire and we are proud to be part of a part of that community.”

“It is only proper to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the permanent York Racecourse and York Racecourse Hospitality teams based at the racecourse, it is their efforts that have delivered such a memorable and successful season. The award winning experience for visitors to the Knavesmire is added to by the raceday team and our partners and suppliers who help provide the welcome. Some 2,000 people have given their time, talent and energy to make every York raceday so special.

“We remain hugely appreciative of the support of racegoers, boxholders, hospitality guests and sponsors, so very much hope they have enjoyed their own racedays at York in 2018 and will both look back on many happy memories, as well as look forward to many more!”

Head of Sponsorship and Marketing at York Racecourse, James Brennan, noted “The turn-out this year is a remarkable achievement. Competition for leisure spending is intense and we continue to strive to offer quality racing, value for money and a great day out. I am pleased our programme of entertainment, investment and innovation has been so well received. The performance of Paloma Faith as well as that by Boyzone will provide memories into the winter nights. Another record number of participants enjoying the Ebor Fashion Lawn, a Family Sunday with a record number of young racegoers and the Countryside Raceday in October, were all exciting aspects which combined with top-class racing, service and facilities to provide great entertainment. The 2018 attendance and ongoing commitment of the course to buying fresh, local produce further support the independent economic study that concluded the racecourse was worth over £60 million to the York economy per annum.”

Summarising the year, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, concluded “It has been an honour and privilege to be involved with such an exciting, enjoyable and successful season and I would like to thank everyone connected to York for their attendance, enthusiasm and support. Work will continue during the winter on both the race programme, facilities and innovations across the site to help us continue to attract horses and racegoers back to York for what already looks set to be an exciting 2019 season starting on Wednesday 15 May”

PROSCHEMA TO TACKLE £100,000 RACEBETS HANDICAP AT YORK

TRAINER Tom Dascombe sends three ‘live’ chances to York tomorrow on the opening afternoon of the racecourse’s seasonal finale.

Dascombe’s trio includes, Proschema,105-rated so topping the weights in the £100,000 RaceBets Handicap – the twenty-second contest of the York season to offer at least six figure prize money.

Running in the feature of a seven race card, Proschema will be making his second appearance of the season at York after finishing a very creditable third in the Sky Bet Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August.

The three-year-old colt has since finished eighth to Kew Gardens in the Group 1 William Hill St Leger at Doncaster.

Eased in grade for his latest assignment, Dascombe is hoping his charge can be very competitive over a course and distance – a mile and three-quarters – that he has previously shown a liking for.

Cheshire-based Dascombe said: “Proschema has run well at York before. I think this is a more realistic target, maybe, than the Leger. But we wanted to have a go and he ran really well. He probably ran the race of his life.

“We’re very excited, hoping that he can keep up his consistent level of form and give us one more good effort in what would be a real nice race to win before the end of the season.

“He goes on any ground but he handles soft where other horses don’t. So I think any rain will probably help us.”

Proschema, who runs in the colours of the Empire State Racing Partnership, is already under consideration for next year’s £1 million Sky Bet Ebor Handicap.

Dascombe confirmed: “Yes, that sort of race is his long-term target. He ran really well in the Melrose, 50 per cent of his ownership lives in York and it’s one of the reasons why we want to run there.”

Dascombe’s Manor House Stables will be represented by Blyton in the card-opening (2.05pm) TSG Keeping IT Real Nursery over five and a half furlongs. The two-year-old heads to York in good form, having won a similar race at Haydock two weeks ago.

He said: “A horse that he beat – that finished third – (She Can Boogie, also trained by Dascombe) won at Nottingham on Wednesday. So it sort of franked the form and he has got a great chance.”

Also in action at York for Dascombe will be Angel Alexander. He was second on his debut at Haydock last month and he’ll have his second career start in the British EBF supporting Racing To School Novice Stakes.

Dascombe, who is set to have runners at York on Saturday as well, added: “Angel Alexander is a really nice horse, who was beaten at Haydock by a horse with experience. He comes to York, so we are hoping it’s going to be a good couple of days.”

All 14 races from Friday and Saturday’s fixtures at York, which carry record prize money of almost £500,000, will be shown live on Racing UK. For on-course racegoers there is a dedicated ‘Racing UK Zone’ showing all the action from home and away – at Newmarket – on a giant screen that overlooks the Roberto Lawn.

FAHEY WILL SET A RECORD WHEN CLAIMING NINTH YORK CROWN

RICHARD Fahey is on the brink of landing the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York title for a record ninth time.

Musley Bank-based Fahey is also all set to claim the crown with a record number of winners for a single year.

York’s two-day seasonal finale begins on Friday and Fahey goes into it with 16 seasonal successes on the Knavesmire – already one more than the previous record, that he established in 2010. Consider also, that the yard has posted a further ten silver medal spots, as well as providing ten horses that finished in third place, so far this season.

Last year the York trainers’ title went down south to William Haggas, a Yorkshireman who trains in Newmarket.

When this season started Fahey was keen to bring the crown back to Malton and he signalled his intentions with a brilliant treble on the opening day of the curtain-raising Dante Festival.

Five doubles have followed, along with three single successes; with well known names like Mr Lupton adding to the tally in both May and July, as Fahey kept on extending his lead, which currently stands at seven from John Gosden.

“I wasn’t too happy when William won it last year. The difference was, this year, I set my stall out early – I didn’t want Haggas getting it again,” said Fahey with a chuckle.

“The thought at the beginning of the season was to try and get it put to bed. It doesn’t always happen that way, but luckily it did.

“There has been some good days this year but we never take York for granted – it’s a tough place to get a winner. But to get 16 is quite a lot, so the team have done well.”

His Musley Bank team may have not had top-class miler Ribchester among their number this year but horses such as Sands of Mali, Forest Ranger, Kimberella and Red Balloons have ensured plenty of big-race successes.

“We’ve had 170 winners, we shouldn’t complain,” assessed Fahey. “But we’ve missed the big horse Ribchester – we’re just trying to find another one.”

Fahey will be represented by a strong team over Friday and Saturday at York, including in the Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes and the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy- the twenty third contest at York to offer at least six figure prize money.

And, of course, his relentless desire for winners means that he’s hoping to add to that total of 16 before the curtain comes down on the Knavesmire, late on Saturday afternoon; so viewers on Racing UK may be treated to seeing the record extended as they complete their 100% coverage of action from the Knavesmire.

“There’s never any gimmes at York, so if we got one or two I’d be delighted,” said Fahey, who secured his first Top Trainer at York award, more than a decade ago, back in 2006.

“We’ve got two in the Rockingham – Cosmic Law and Space Traveller. You’d like to think they’ll be competitive.

“We’ve got George Bowen, Brian The Snail, Kimberella and Bengali Boys in the Sprint. I’d say they’ll all run if they get in.”

The first race of the meeting gets underway on Friday at 2.05pm. All 14 races from the two days, which carry record prize money of almost £500,000, will be shown live on Racing UK. For on-course race-goers there is a dedicated ‘Racing UK Zone’ showing all the action from home and away at Newmarket, on a giant screen that overlooks the Roberto Lawn.