Alison Storey of York Racecourse wins tourism award for customer service

York Racecourse is delighted that  Alison Storey, the Chief Receptionist at the course, has won a Visit York Tourism Award.

Her success came in the Outstanding Customer Service Category where her work, as the first point of contact for many of the 350,000 visitors to the Knavesmire was recognised.

Presented at a glittering ceremony, in the National Railway museum, the evening was a celebration of the tourism industry in the city and surrounding area.

Only last week, York was voted as the Best Racecourse of the Year by the members of the Racegoers Club for the 4th time, another accolade where Alison will have played her part.

Speaking about her award, Alison said, “I’m flattered to have been the one collecting the award but it really is a team effort, so it is a team award. The evening passed in a blur so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the photographs as a reminder of a great evening.”

William Derby, Clerk of the Course and Chief Executive at York, said, “I am truly delighted for Alison, she is a popular member of the hard working team here at the Knavesmire and we so proud she has been recognised with such a prestigious award.  Unendingly helpful, welcoming and a friend to everyone, she embodies the essence of York Racecourse.  Alison has been a lynchpin of York Racecourse since 1999 and she and her colleagues are wonderful ambassadors for the course.  The Visit York team and their sponsors, such as Manchester Airport who backed this category, put in a huge amount of effort to make it a successful event.  It is great to have been a part of it, of course, made all the better by Alison picking up her award.  It adds to the positive mood ahead of the brand new raceday on Saturday 1st July.  We look forward to welcoming the horses, their connections, racegoers and Olly Murs; I think Alison will be busy again.”



Yorkshire folk are happy to admit they love a night out that doesn’t cost the earth!  Combine that with their love for racing and you have the perfect recipe for one fantastic evening of fun!  With the folk of South Yorkshire in mind – Doncaster Racecourse has announced the date of its Free Residents Evening.

 The Frenchgate Free Residents Evening will take place on Thursday 20th July and residents whose home address has a DN postcode will enjoy free tickets to the family enclosure for the evening.

“We want everyone in the Doncaster area to be able to experience the thrilling action and vibrant social scene at this famous racecourse and this annual event has proved to be hugely popular in previous years,” said Abby Chandler Head of Marketing Doncaster Racecourse. “It’s great to see people enjoying our hospitality and allows us to give a little something back to the local community of Doncaster.” 

During 2016 2.3m visitors flocked to Doncaster with over 300,000 visiting the racecourse highlighting the significant contribution it makes to the local tourism economy when it is open for only 36 racing days each year. 

“It is possible to upgrade these complementary tickets to other areas of the racecourse for those that may like to be able to access all areas,” said Abby. “Whichever part of the course you choose to watch the racing from you will enjoy a summer evening racing, perfect for racing enthusiasts or those wanting to try it out for the first time.” 

Tickets can be booked quoting the code JULYFREE. Upgrades cost £5.00 for the Grandstand Enclosure, £10.00 for the County Enclosure and £15.00 for the Premier Enclosure. Children under 18 are free when accompanied by an adult.

 Gates open at 4pm with the first race taking place at 5.40pm. The final race commences at 8.50pm.

To book tickets or to find our more information visit


As the jockeys take to their saddles to ride at Royal Ascot (or Ripon!) this week, most will be lucky enough to have ridden their fair share of winners in their careers. But as most jockeys and sportsmen/women alike will remember, nothing beats your first competitive win whatever sport they compete in.

It will certainly be a mixture of emotions for the apprentice jockeys due to ride at Ripon Races on Wednesday evening, as they are all in fact chasing their first ever winner in the ONLY race in British racing open only to jockeys who have yet to ride a winner.

The race is the all down to the work of North Yorkshire racing welfare legend Raye Wilkinson, who has been working in racing for over 50 years.

Wilkinson was previously a social worker in Catterick Garrison, but a chance meeting with Middleham trainer Ernie Weymes in 1966 led to his involvement in racing. He instantly fell in love with horse racing and has never looked back. By October of that year Wilkinson was a full-time worker for the Stable Lads Welfare Trust, and the office in Middleham was opened.

Raye has since moved on but still works in Middleham for Mark Johnston Racing as their dedicated welfare officer. He continues to support up and coming jockeys by creating the very unique race for Apprentice riders which takes place at Ripon on Wednesday evening, 21st June.

“If anything, I’ve left my mark by creating a welfare service, in 1978 I looked at racing from a stable lads’ point of view, and realised there was very little welfare cover for them,”

“I am so passionate about helping those working in racing from the ground up and this race is what that is all about, recognising those wonderful moments in a young jockeys career, however long that may be” said Wilkinson

The race which is the first race on Wednesday evenings card at Ripon, is this year titled to honour Rayes Dedication to the sport as ‘The Raye Wilkinson Apprentice Handicap’

Raye’s hard work has also been well recognised within the industry, having won the ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire ‘Lifetime achievement award’ back in 2010 and most recently being one three finalists for the Rory Macdonald Community award at the annual Godolphin Stable and Stud Awards in January 2015.

Wilkinson who has organised the race for seven years now, will never forget the day Oisin Murphy won the race back in 2013. Frustratingly Murphy who has since gone onto become one of the nation’s top flat jockeys, had a winner just three days before the race at Salisbury but conditions of the race meant that as the declaration dates had passed he still qualified to ride in the race.

Raye often refers to a fitting quote by Charles Trigg who rode an impressive 843 winners after his first ever winner in Newbury in 1905, and is best known for winning the Epsom Oaks aboard Rosedrop in 1910.

“Nobody but an apprentice who has done it will ever know what it means to ride his first winner. No words can explain it. You walk on air. You do not care what happens. You have done it. You have ridden a winner, and nothing can ever take that away from you” Charles Trigg, (1881 – 1945)

We look forward to seeing some more future stars start their careers with a first win in the saddle, what is sure is that it will be a day to remember for one happy jockey.

Closing details


Ripon Races are a flat turf racecourse, one of nine racecourses in Yorkshire. They hold 17 race meetings in 2017, from April to September with a variety of evening, weekend and family fun race days.


The race meeting on Wednesday 21st June starts with the first of six races at 6.50pm with entry from 4.50pm. The course will have live music on the bandstand from Leeds based acoustic duo ‘Strobe’.


As usual at Ripon, accompanied children under 18 years of age are admitted FREE of charge into all enclosures. Tickets can be pre-booked for discounts or adult admission is available on the gates from £7 per person in the Course Enclosure, £15 in the Paddock and £23 for the Club Enclosure.