Category Archives: Summer Festival


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.

Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival Partners with Racing Charity

Racing Welfare, a registered charity which supports the workforce of British horseracing, is to be the beneficiary of this year’s Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival, sponsored by Sky Bet.

Richard Hammill, Chief Operating Officer and Clerk of the Course at Pontefract Racecourse and member of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Marketing Committee said,

“We wanted to work with Racing Welfare because they are the dominant charity that looks after people who work in the racing industry.  We are particularly keen for them to focus on mental health and wellbeing as this is a very current and relevant subject and Racing Welfare have services to help people who might be suffering and, just as importantly teach people to look after their mental health, as they would their physical health.”

A representative from Racing Welfare will be at each of the Summer Festival race meetings, talking about the work that the charity does, who they can help and how.  There will also be an exit collection from some courses.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare said,

“The Summer Festival is a superb initiative and we are delighted to be the beneficiary charity for this year.  Go Racing in Yorkshire does a fantastic job of promoting the rich offering of racing in the county and funds raised from our association will go towards extending the reach of our mental health support services.  We’re very proud to be involved with the Summer Festival this year and hope that many people will come racing over the nine days.”

As the charity of the week, Racing Welfare will also receive a £500 cheque, courtesy of the leading jockey of the festival which is sponsored by Sky Bet.

The Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival takes place from Saturday, July 20 to Sunday, July 28, when there will 10 race meetings, over nine days at eight courses.  In addition, there will be an open afternoon at Jack Berry House on Tuesday, July 23.

Laurens on target for French comeback after minor injury

STAR filly Laurens has been given an upbeat assessment by her trainer as she recovers from a minor injury and prepares to add another Group 1 victory to her glittering career.

Karl Burke, based near Leyburn, was speaking today at the launch of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival.

The Spigot Lodge trainer reported that John Dance’s brilliant filly had suffered a minor injury when sixth in Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes but she is now on target for the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville in July 28.

“It’s very frustrating but it’s a small strain on the tendon below the hock on her hind leg so we’ve been very cautious with her,” said Burke.

“She’s been walking round free as a bird and cantering great and I’m sure we can get her back. We’ve got a couple of weeks ahead of the race in Deauville and there’s still four or five more chances to get another Group 1 before she retires. She owes us nothing.”

After Deauville, the plan is to defend her crown in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on September 14, and connections hope she will end her career with a tilt at the Breeders Cup Mile.

Laurens was the star turn at the launch of the 14th Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, which is now in its 14th year, with ten meetings over nine days at eight racecourses: Ripon, July 20; Doncaster July 20 (evening); Redcar, July 21; Beverley, July 22 (evening); Catterick, July 24; Doncaster, July 25 (evening);  Thirsk, July 26; York, July 26 (evening);  York, July 27; Pontefract, July 28.

“It’s a great initiative to showcase the Yorkshire racecourses,” said Burke, who is in his 18th year at Spigot Lodge, having moved north from Newmarket. “I honestly wouldn’t want to train anywhere else now – the quality of life in Yorkshire is great, and the facilities at Middleham are as good as anywhere.”

This year’s festival is sponsored by Sky Bet with a £1,000 prize up for grabs for the champion jockey in the series.

Jockey Ben Curtis, who regularly rides for Burke, said: “Danny Tudhope won it last year so there’s a bit of banter between the lads because it creates a bit more interest. We’ve got some brilliant courses in Yorkshire and anything that encourages people to come racing is great to see.”

Asked for horses to watch out for at the festival, Burke nominated Gin Gembre, who is scheduled to run in a Ripon seller on the first day of the festival, and three-year-old filly Divinity, described as “a very good handicapper”.

Meanwhile, Burke expects a big run from two-year-old colt Classy Moon in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow (Thursday). “He’s a lovely horse who could run very well. The bare form of his last run at Carlisle looks nothing special but he could make up four or five lengths on that performance at Newmarket. He’s shown us a high level at home.”

The trainer also thinks another two-year-old, Miss Lucy, is also capable of running well at a big price in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes tomorrow.

Further ahead, Burke is hoping for a tilt at the Ebor Handicap at York in August with Kelly’s Dino,  comfortable winner of the Old Newton Cup Handicap at Haydock on Saturday.

“He won with his ears pricked so we think there’s plenty in the tank,” he said.

Kelly’s Dino is entered in the Group 3 John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes over 1m 6f at York on Saturday and the trainer explained: “He’s rated 102 at the moment but it might need a bit more than that to get into the Ebor this year so the idea is that if he runs well in a Group 3 on Saturday, he might get the extra couple of pounds from the handicapper that he needs.”

Dubai Station, third in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, could also be destined for the York Ebor Festival, with connections keen to go for the Gimcrack Stakes.

“He’s a progressive horse and he’s done really well since Ascot,” said Burke.