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Lunchtime Racing Trial Extended Into the Autumn

The Racecourse Association has announced today that a further trial of lunchtime racing will take place this Autumn over a five-week period. The first trial earlier in 2019, initiated at the behest of the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s Betting Liaison Group, consisted of three fixtures during May and June commencing at 12 noon in a bid to assess the impact on turnover of widening the time in which racing is available for betting customers, potentially providing additional income for the sport.

One fixture per week from 25 September will now start at 12.15pm, with the first four races at each fixture taking place at 30-minute intervals.

The initiative is again being supported by the Levy Board and is based upon promising signs from the betting turnover on the three lunchtime fixtures held earlier this year, particularly in terms of online customers.

The lunchtime trial fixtures are as follows:


Wednesday 25 September: REDCAR

Wednesday 2 October: BANGOR-ON-DEE

Wednesday 9 October: LUDLOW

Thursday 17 October: CARLISLE

Wednesday 23 October: WORCESTER


Andy Clifton, Racing Director at the Racecourse Association, said: “The trial of lunchtime racing earlier this year demonstrated that there is an appetite from betting customers for racing at this time of day and I am grateful to all of the racecourses taking part this Autumn.

“We wanted to gain further evidence from bookmakers, horsemen, racecourses and racegoers from an extended trial over five consecutive weeks to ascertain whether this might become a more permanent part of the fixture mix moving forward, especially in a time of falling revenues.”


The Royal Patron of York Racecourse, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG will help celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the John Smith’s Cup. The longest running sponsorship in flat racing will mark its 60th running on Saturday 13 July at York Racecourse.

First won by Fougalle back in 1960, the milestone will be noted by a Royal presentation of the unique Wedgewood Trophy, after the completion of the £200,000 contest.

Throughout the afternoon celebrations will continue with a giant flag, fun installations for the selfie generation as well as a display of images of both the race and the wider world over those six decades.

The Duke will lay a time capsule near the Parade Ring, that marks that history and points to the future of the race; containing memorabilia from down the years, as well as the raw ingredients of the brew from its Yorkshire homeland and samples of the finished product, both Magnet Ale and Johns Smith’s.

Watching from the stands will be previous winning jockeys in the race such as Philip Makin (2015) and Jimmy Quinn (1998) as well as successful Yorkshire trainers David Barron, Richard Fahey and Karl Burke who have been proud to land the prize. Regular racegoers at the meeting and members of the brewery staff at Tadcaster will be amongst those who will be introduced to His Royal Highness.

Of course, there will be a special commemorative cake.

On the track the £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme that now includes the recently upgraded John Smith’s Silver Cup as a Group Three contest worth £65,000 and the Listed John Smith’s City Walls sprint..

The opening day on the Friday features a commemorative fly past by RAF Tucano aircraft from nearby Linton-on-Ouse; regular if fleeting visitors to this occasion. There will be a collection for an RAF charity on the ground.

As a racing highlight on Friday is the Group Three William Hill Summer Stakes, offering a black type opportunity to the fastest filly down the six furlong course, as well as marking the provider of SP Betting shop services on the Knavesmire.

One of Europe’s most prestigious and competitive middle-distance heritage handicap contests, the winning owner will join His Royal Highness on the podium on Saturday as he presents the specially-commissioned perpetual Wedgwood challenge trophy as well as a special diamond themed memento

Since Fougalle was the first winner back in 1960, there have been many dramatic moments, with the race becoming a major betting heat of the summer. In 2018, Euchen Glen provided trainer Jim Goldie with a first win in the race, indeed a first win for a thoroughbred stabled in Scotland. It was a big day for jockey Alistair Rawlinson who also landed his first win in the race.

The Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup continues to be a valued title for stayers, last year, the Marco Botti trained Dylan Mouth, recorded his final victory before starting a new career at stud.

The sprinters have their say in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls over five furlongs and the 2016 winner, Marsha, went on to multiple success at Group One level, including the Coolmore Nunthorpe, before going into the record books when she was sold to become a broodmare.

Always one of the big days of the year, this event has become a showcase for ‘Yorkshire’s Finest’, and sees John Smith’s treasuring its Yorkshire roots with a full Yorkshire menu of locally-sourced and home-made food. In addition, there will be a number of cask ales available at the racecourse, thanks to collaboration with fellow Yorkshire brewers, Theakston’s.

The highlight on Friday, The William Hill Summer Stakes, is a Group Three sprint contest over six furlongs for fillies and mares, with a purse of £65,000. Last year’s race was won by Raven’s Lady for Newmarket trainer, Marco Botti; further success at Group Two level in Germany followed and she now races on the American stage.

Friday sees a number of other long-standing supporters of the Knavesmire return with Acturis back in attendance; alongside the accountancy firm responsible for audit matters at the track, Garbutt + Elliott. Once again, it is an “ITM Friday” as the Irish organisation responsible for promoting bloodstock sales from the emerald isle back a five furlong handicap.

The two days of racing get underway with an interesting novice contest over the unusual distance of five and a half furlongs. It is among the twenty-one contests backed by the European Breeders’ Fund.

Catering for broad musical tastes, both days offer the summer vibe of a steel band or the upbeat fun of Doctor Thirsty and after racing, The Monotones.

The Giant Screen overlooking the Roberto Lawn will continue to provide a home to Wimbledon coverage on Friday and earlier on Saturday.

A number of other giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action on both days, along with racing from Newmarket’s July Meeting and Ascot. The popular punters’ panel held prior to racing on the winners’ podium will preview the card on both days.


Catterick Racecourse continues to support local, Darlington-based charity St Teresa’s Hospice this year with its annual race day on Wednesday 10 July.

This year marks the thirteenth running of the St Teresa’s Charity Race Day, where racegoers can enjoy Pantomime Horse Racing action ahead of an action-packed seven race card. The first race on the day is scheduled for 2pm, with the gates opening to the public at 12 noon.

Ahead of the first race, at approximately 12.45pm, the Pantomime Horses will have their turn in the Parade Ring. This year’s entries include two horses, a donkey and a cow: Looker’s VW Darlington’s “Wonky Donkey” and “Vin Petrol”, Clark Willis Solicitors “Lucky Legal Legs” and Purple Creative’s “Moo-dy Blues”

The St Teresa’s Hospice Pantomime Horse Race will take place at 1pm on the final furlong of the track, where contenders sprint to the winning post in a bid to be crowned this year’s champion.

John Paul Stabler, Fundraising & Marketing Manager at St Teresa’s Hospice said: “We are thrilled to be returning to Catterick Racecourse for our 13th Charity Race Day, and we aim to bring some extra fun and excitement with our annual Panto Horse Race. We’re glad to see Lookers VW Darlington’s “Wonky Donkey” returning for another go after their disastrous (but hilarious) performance in 2018, and we encourage everyone to come along to cheer all of the runners and riders on at 1pm.”

Footage from last year’s Pantomime Horse Race went viral, with over 4.5 million views on the racecourse’s Facebook page alone, following Wonky Donkey’s altercation with the rails.

St Teresa’s will also be holding a raffle on the day, with fantastic prizes on offer including Annual Membership for two people at Catterick Races in 2020, Sunday Lunch for four guests at Headlam Hall Country Hotel & Spa and Go Karting for four people at Teesside Karting. Tickets (£1 each) will be available to purchase from St Teresa’s stand by the Parade Ring throughout the afternoon.

The raffle will be drawn ahead of the last race on the card, scheduled for 5pm.

John Paul added: “This event is an important fundraiser for St Teresa’s Hospice, and we are incredibly grateful to Fiona and the team for their support, helping us to continue providing free care and support to the residents of North Yorkshire and South Durham, completely free of charge. The cost of our services is now over £3 million each year and we rely on the support of our local community, so please support the Hospice by buying a raffle ticket or giving your loose change to our collectors as you leave.”

Last year, the race day at Catterick Racecourse raised £4,255.79 for St Teresa’s Hospice.

As with all Catterick’s fixtures, a free shuttle bus will bring racegoers from Richmond Market Place to the racecourse approximately an hour before the first race and will return after the last race. Accompanied under 18’s race free and a big screen will be at the course on the day to give racegoers the best views of all the action.

For more information and to book tickets, visit