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Racehorse Trainer, Karl Burke feels there’s no better place to live and work than in Yorkshire as he prepares for the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival which begins this Saturday 20th July.

Discussing his love for Yorkshire in an interview with Great British Racing, the 56-year-old said: “First and foremost it’s a beautiful place to live. I’ve always been somebody who wanted the workplace to be separate from the living place and here you get the best of both worlds – a great place to work in and a great place to live in.”

Burke is based at Spigot Lodge in Leyburn and has been there ever since he moved to Yorkshire from Newmarket back in 2001. One of the biggest wins of his career to date came at York Racecourse when Libertarian stormed to victory in the 2013 Dante Stakes at the huge price of 33/1.

As a day that still lives as Karl’s fondest memory of racing in Yorkshire, he said: “That was pretty special. At the time it was the first Yorkshire-trained winner in the race for 70 odd years, that was a great thrill.”

Discussing the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, Burke said: “It’s a great concept. A great advert for Yorkshire, advertising not only the tracks, but the trainers, the facilities that we’ve all got as well as Yorkshire in general.

“We’ve got a couple of horses that could be competitive in the two-year-old races during the festival – Seize The Time is a nice filly. Divinity will do very well, she’s already won at Ripon earlier this year and if there’s one of those Handicaps at Ripon and she turns up there, she’ll be very competitive.”

On the fixtures he’s most looking forward to during the festival, he said: “The obvious one is York. It’s a fantastic track, great facilities for Owners and Trainers and fantastic prize money. I equally enjoy those meetings at Thirsk and Ripon – They’re so close and that makes it a pleasure to go to.”

The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival takes place from Saturday 20th July – Sunday 28th July, featuring 10 race meetings across eight racecourses in Yorkshire:

  • Saturday 20th July – Ripon
  • Saturday 20th July (Evening) – Doncaster
  • Sunday 21st July – Redcar
  • Monday 22nd July (Evening) – Beverley
  • Wednesday 24th July – Catterick
  • Thursday 25th July (Evening) – Doncaster
  • Friday 26th July – Thirsk
  • Friday 26th July (Evening) – York
  • Saturday 27th July – York
  • Sunday 28th July – Pontefract

Go Racing In Yorkshire will also host an open afternoon at Jack Berry House in Malton on Tuesday 23rd July.

War veteran Joyce, 97, is guest of honour on Redcar’s day for heroes

A 97-year-old former cook, who became one of the first women to land at Normandy after D-Day, is to be guest of honour as a North-East racecourse salutes the country’s war heroes.

Joyce Dowding will receive VIP treatment at the 1940s Revival Day at Redcar Races on Sunday, July 21, in support of the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.

Joyce, who was born in Redcar and still lives locally, said it would be “a great honour” to be part of an occasion marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

In 1940, at the age of 18, Joyce was conscripted into the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (NAAFI), catering for servicemen in combat zones.

She volunteered for special work building up to an unspecified operation and was billeted at a secret camp in a Hampshire forest, not knowing she was helping prepare men for the largest seaborne invasion in history.

After the D-Day landings on June 6 1944, she answered another call for volunteers to help the Liberation Army, and became the only Northern Command member of the NAAFI aboard a hospital ship bound for France.

She landed on Arromanches beach and served in Caen before going on to Ypres, where she was stationed on VE Day. She continued to serve in Germany for five years after the war before returning home to work as a nursery nurse.

“It was quite frightening when we landed in France because we had to climb down a rope ladder and it kept swinging away from the ship,” she recalled. “But I was just proud to have been able to do something to help.”

Joyce has only ever been to the races twice before but says the 1940s Revival Day is an important event. “It’s good of Redcar Races to remember what people did in the war, and to support the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.”

Joyce will be treated to lunch on the day and be invited to present the trophy after the Help for Heroes and Royal British Legion Classified Claiming Stakes.

Redcar’s general manager Amy Fair said: “It will be a privilege to have Joyce as our guest of honour. Throughout the war, she prepared countless meals for servicemen in the midst of war – now it’s her turn to be treated to lunch and recognised for her dedicated service to this country.”

A parade will be held on the racecourse, led by Eric Howden, chairman of the Redcar branch of the Royal British Legion, and there will be displays of wartime history and vehicles from the Middleton St George Memorial Association and Sedgefield Veterans Association.

Nostalgic music will be performed by The Fenner Sisters, and a “Best Revival Outfit” competition takes place after the fifth race.

There will be plenty of free fun for children, including a camouflage boot camp, Cleveland Cadets’ climbing wall, bouncy castles and face-painter.

The meeting is the second day of the SkyBet Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival and under-18s, accompanied by an adult, go free. Gates open at 11am and the first race is at 2.20pm.


The Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival, sponsored by Sky Bet, celebrates all that is great about racing in the White Rose County with 10 race meetings, over 9 days at 8 different Yorkshire racecourses, starting at Ripon on Saturday 20 July and finishing at Pontefract on Sunday 28 July.
The festival visits Catterick on the sixth day, Wednesday 24 July, following an open afternoon at Jack Berry House on the Tuesday, 23 July.
Racing Welfare is the official charity of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival this year and they will be presenting two Lifetime in Racing awards at Catterick on 24 July.
The Lifetime in Racing Awards are organised by Racing Welfare and are awarded to those that have dedicated their career to working in the horseracing industry to publicly acknowledge their achievement and hard work.
On 24 July, the award will be presented to both Jock Bennett and Kenny Williams who are great friends and have asked if they could be awarded together.
Jock has been in the industry all his life and started out with Bill Watts in 1972 before moving to Mark Johnston’s in 1997 where he is now Assistant Trainer and an integral part of the operation. He has been associated with many great horses over the years including Bill Watt’s Teleprompter who won many top races including the Arlington Million.
Kenny started his career in 1970 and worked for few different trainers including Ken Payne at Kingsley House in Middleham before joining Jock at Bill Watts for 17 years where the two became firm pals. He was then with Linda Ramsden for seven years before seven years with Alan Swinbank ahead of moving to Michael Dodd’s where he is now Travelling Head Lad.
Sarah Fanning, Regional Welfare Manager at Racing Welfare said: “We are delighted to award these two great characters and stalwarts of the Northern Racing community with these thoroughly well-deserved awards and would like to give our thanks to Catterick Racecourse for hosting them.”
The racing action on Wednesday 24 July will get underway at 2.10pm, with the gates opening approximately 2 hours prior to that. The feature race of the afternoon is the Unlimited Free Race Replays at Handicap Stakes at 4.10pm.
As with all Catterick’s fixtures, under 18’s race free when accompanied by an adult and do not require a ticket. There will also be free children’s entertainment, including bouncy castles and a roundabout, in the Course Enclosure throughout the afternoon.
The free shuttle bus will leave from Richmond Market Place one hour before the first race to bring racegoers to the racecourse and will return after the last race.
Tickets will be available to purchase at the gates on the day, while advanced and group booking discounts are available at