A day at the races in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 22:11 18 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:59 20 February 2013
Racing is an odds-on favourite in Yorkshire's sporting calendar. Jo Haywood checks out the runners and riders
Many sports claim to be 'for all the family', but few actually deliver. Racing is the exception. It delivers every time with flying colours (in silk worn by pocketsize jockeys on powerhouse horses).
'Racing is still a great spectacle and a grand day out for all the family,' said Graham Orange, public relations officer for Go Racing, a Yorkshire consortium that represents nine courses - Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk,Wetherby and York - working together to provide the best in British racing.
'This should be another really good year for us, but it will be testing.Money is undoubtedly tight, but people still want to be able to treat themselves. They might not be able to go abroad this year, so they'll look for family days out in this country. In that respect, racing is ideal.'
There will be 20 dedicated family days at Yorkshire's racecourses this season. As well as watching the trackside action, children will be able to enjoy a host of special attractions including bouncy castles, clowns and entertainers. Racing and high fashion combine to make ladies' days at the county's racecourses a highlight of the social calendar.
There will be nine excuses to buy a big hat this year, starting on May 21st in Wetherby. And for those who are more interested in the runners and riders than the latest fashion trends (that would be about 99 per cent of the male race-going population), there are the ever-popular championship days.
There will be 39 occasions to see the crme de la creme of the UK's racing talent on home turf this season. All the race meetings, which end in Wetherby on Boxing Day, feature at least one top race on their programme. 'It's one of the few sports where you can get within touching distance of the talent,' said Graham.
'Although I wouldn't advise trying to stroke a horse - or a jockey for that matter. 'You don't have to be an expert to enjoy it. You can make it as complicated or as easy as you want. If you want to study the form and the conditions before you pick your horse, that's fine. But you'll still have fun - and maybe even win a bit of cash - if you just choose a jockey because he's wearing your favourite colour or a horse because it's name is significant for you.'
Prices vary depending on the day, the course and the enclosure you choose, although accompanied children enjoy free admission at all Yorkshire courses. Top of the range is the premier enclosure, sometimes called the members', club or county stand. The grandstand and paddock, traditionally known as Tattersalls, is at the heart of the action. And the least expensive and least formal area (no top hat required) is the course enclosure (that's course, not coarse, so don't get carried away). For more information about racing in Yorkshire, click on www.goracing.co.uk