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There's rarely been such a feast of racing as there is this year at Yorkshire's nine racecourses as Chris Titley reports
Friends, flutters, fine food and fantastic sport theres nothing quite as fantastic as a day on the flat. The season is underway and theres a fabulous feast of racing for all the family to enjoy this summer.
Between them, Yorkshires nine racecourses have a peerless programme of meetings and a social schedule to match. With much of the action taking place at weekends, evenings and holidays theres simply no excuse not to go racing.
The fifth annual Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival showcases all that is good about the sport. The event, running from July 21st to 29th, gains in popularity every year.
Among the Bank Holiday meetings are fixtures at Beverley racecourse on Monday, May 7th, Redcar on Monday, June 4th and 5th, part of the special Diamond Jubilee extended weekend. Ripon, meanwhile, races on Monday, August 27th.
The first of the 27 summer evening meetings on the countys tracks takes place at Doncaster on Saturday, April 28th. Every racecourse is staging such a fixture, ending with another Saturday evening of racing this time at Redcar on August 25th.
Many of these evening meetings have special themes and offer the perfect opportunity to chill out with family and friends, said Graham Orange of Go Racing in Yorkshire. Nowadays racing is popular with young and old alike, he said. Theres a host of family days, centred mainly on the variety of Sunday meetings held in the summer, along with the Bank Holiday meetings and selected fixtures during the school holiday period.
A variety of family attractions are featured on these days, making it a fun day out for everyone. And dont forget that accompanied children are admitted free into all enclosures at most meetings.
Events include the live music at Doncaster where Madness take to the stage when the racing cards complete.
Meanwhile, Yorks Music Showcase Weekend (July 27th and 28th) will send racegoers back to the 1980s with the likes of Tony Hadley, Marc Almond and ABC performing after the Friday evening sport. McFly are booked to entertain on the Saturday.
Everyone loves Ladies Day at the races and there are no fewer than nine of them, one for each course, starting at Wetherby on May 24th and finishing on September 13th at Doncaster.
The woman chosen to be the best dressed on each of these days will be invited to the finals day at Doncaster. But who will be crowned Best-Dressed Lady Racegoer in Yorkshire and win a VIP stay at the Best Western Premier Mount Pleasant Hotel, Doncaster?
The sporting winner, meanwhile, will be crowned in the same town on November 10th. Maltons Paul Hanagan has won the title of UK champion jockey for the past two years, said Graham, and his skills have been recognised at the highest level as he starts the 2012 season as first jockey to Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum, based in Newmarket. Theres a great deal for him and for all of us to look forward to in the county this season.
For a full fixture list and more information about racing at Yorkshires nine courses Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk, Wetherby and York visit goracing.co.uk.
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
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