Blog – 14th July

This week’s blog is written by Charlotte Russell, General Manager of Go Racing in Yorkshire –

The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, Sponsored By Sky Bet

One of the strengths of the nine racecourses in Yorkshire is their ability to collaborate with each other.  Whether that’s sharing learning and experiences, asking one another for advice or simply celebrating together, there is a real #TeamYorkshire ethos.

While much of this collaboration happens in the office, it is outwardly open for all to see during the last week of July when The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, sponsored by Sky Bet takes place.  There’s racing at eight of the nine flat courses over a period of eight days where festival fever will hit them all and it starts at Pontefract on Friday 21st July.

A new start date for 2023, Pontefract’s evening meeting is part of their Friday night music nights and Dreams of Fleetwood Mack will be performing after racing – the music adding to the festival feel.  They are also hosting a beer festival, making it the perfect launch for our beer of the festival, HoofBeat, a light amber coloured, crisp, clean, aromatic session bitter made from Barley malt grown on the Yorkshire Wolds and brewed by Hunmanby based Wold Top You will find this beer at all the meetings during the festival week.

Before racing starts, you can catch the human athletes of the meeting taking part in a football skills competition in the Parade Ring, it’s very competitive although the ability is mixed!  They would love your encouragement so don’t miss this opportunity to see who will get an early position on the leader board.

Other competitions throughout the week are the leading trainer of the week, sponsored by Goldsborough Hall and the leading jockey of the week sponsored by Sky Bet, who also offer a prize for the yard that wins the most best turned out horse awards in the Sky Bet sponsored races.  There’s £1,000 to share between the staff and we’ll be arranging a pizza van to visit the winning yard for a celebration.

The Summer Festival week always supports a charity and this year the Injured Jockeys Fund are the recipients.  The team from Jack Berry House in Malton will be present across the courses to talk about the wonderful work they do in preparing and rehabilitating the human participants and will be raising funds by selling raffle tickets to win a fabulous prize of a table for four at York’s meeting on Saturday 23rd September.

You can also visit Jack Berry House in Malton, between 2pm and 4pm on Tuesday, July 25, when there is no racing in the county.  A fantastic opportunity to see the facilities, meet the staff and learn more about the running and funding of the centre.

Don’t miss the racecard competition to win a Go Racing In Yorkshire season ticket for the 2024/25 season.  You will find a ‘passport’ on the back of the racecard at Pontefract.  Get it stamped at the racecard selling outlet and take it with you to the other Yorkshire meetings you attend during the festival week to claim your stamps.  Once you have received five stamps you can enter the prize draw.

The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival is the perfect opportunity to showcase everything that racing in Yorkshire has to offer.  Made up from a mix of afternoon and evening fixtures, there are three music nights, with The Human League and Craig David performing at York on the final days of the festival.

Redcar, Catterick and Thirsk are all hosting family days when there’s additional entertainment for the children as well as the racing to get excited about.

It’s a week that covers every type of racing too!  The next round of The Go Racing In Yorkshire Future Stars Apprentice series, supported by White Rose Saddlery, takes place at Redcar on Sunday, July 23 – a race specifically for the least experienced jockeys who are learning their trade.  Prior to racing they will walk the course with a jockey coach, who will then watch the race with the jockeys after the winning presentation has been made and debrief each rider about their performance. 

The week finishes with a Group 2 race at York, the Sky bet York Stakes, where the jump jockeys even get in on the action with the Sky Bet ‘Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe’ Handicap Stakes.  Usually riding over a minimum distance of 2 miles, their wit and sharp thinking will be tested by this charge over five furlongs.

Whatever your connection with racing, this is the week for you.  Either a seasoned professional or a new racegoer, a regular across the Yorkshire courses or have them all to tick off, this is the perfect opportunity to visit the tracks and enjoy the sport.

Find out more by visiting the Go Racing In Yorkshire website.