Horse Racing: Yorkshire gets ready for the Flat Season
PUBLISHED: 01:16 30 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:16 20 February 2013
When it comes to the sport of kings, everyone in Yorkshire is a winner, says Chris Titley
Nothing unites Yorkshire like a day at the races. Young and old, rich and poor, fine diners and picnickers, form-studiers and pin-stickers, they all unite behind the thrill of the race.
And nowhere does racing better than Yorkshire. As the flat season gets into its stride we can look forward to feasting on the finest sport across four ridings.
Theres a great deal of truth in the old adage that racing is important to Yorkshire and Yorkshire is important to racing, said Graham Orange of Go Racing in Yorkshire.
Theres action in the county on virtually every Saturday. And some of the most prestigious, famous and valuable races in the UK are held in the county in particular at Yorks Dante Festival in May and the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August, along with the ever-popular Ladbrokes St Leger Festival in September at Doncaster, which features the worlds oldest Classic race.
This season has a lot to live up to. The last one ended with Malton-based jockey Paul Hanagan carried shoulder high from the parade ring at Doncaster on the final day of last season, having been crowned the first Yorkshire-based champion jockey for a decade.
So what to look out for in 2011? Race fans will be eagerly anticipating the early Bank Holiday meetings, including those at Beverley on Monday May 2nd and Redcar on May 30th.
The racing hots up with the weather. The fourth annual Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival in July promotes all that is good about the sport. It launches at Ripon, the garden racecourse, on Saturday July 16, followed by meetings at Redcar, Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Thirsk, York and finishing at Pontefract on Sunday July 24th.
Of course theres more to racing than horses and betting. Its a fabulous day out for everyone. Theres an abundance of family days, centred mainly on the variety of Sunday meetings held in the summer and selected fixtures during the school holidays, Graham said.
The most glamorous fixtures are, of course, the ladies days. Fashion, frocks and fancy hats abound at Wetherby on May 19th; Ripon June 16th; Redcar June 18th; Pontefract August 3rd; Beverley August 10th; Catterick August 12th; York August 18th; Thirsk September 3rd; and Doncaster September 8th.
With lots of evening meetings planned too, there have never been more opportunities to enjoy racing in Yorkshire.
No doubt Paul Hanagan will go all out to hang on to the coverted Champion Jockey crown this year. But whoever takes the top title, one thing is for certain. When it comes to the sport of kings, everyone in Yorkshire is a winner.