A Very British Raceday provides an unmissable opportunity to revel in patriotism and nostalgia while enjoying a glorious afternoon of racing on the picturesque Westwood course.
The quintessentially British afternoon of racing, on Saturday, June 10, will see racegoers don Union Jack-styled outfits and join in with a rousing Last Night of the Proms-style singalong. The meeting will also feature the hilarious and hugely popular Beverley Donkey Derby before racing at 1.30pm – a not-to-be-missed spectacle as professional jockeys struggle to remain on board their stubbornly disobedient steeds and compete to be first past the winning post!
Racegoer John Holmes gets into the spirit of A Very British Raceday with Dougie the donkey, who will be under starters orders for the famous Beverley Donkey Derby.
Last year’s Donkey Derby became a global internet hit, with the antics watched by more than 3.6m people, and this year’s side-splitting silliness is set to get the day off to a hysterical start. Having delighted the crowds, the donkeys will be on their best behaviour when giving children rides through the afternoon. The meeting’s racing line-up features two of the season's top races – the Hilary Needler and Brian Yeardley Trophies for two-year-old fillies and colts and geldings respectively. The two flagship races set many young horses on the road to stardom at Royal Ascot the following week and beyond. Each carrying a purse of £25,000, the races are highly sought after by owners, trainers and jockeys.
Off the track, A Very British Raceday also features traditional side stalls with everyone’s favourite activities from yesteryear, including a hoopla, coconut shy, hook a duck and roll a penny, while youngsters can have their faces painted, perhaps also joining in with the patriotic theme! Entertainment will be provided through the day by Ron Burnett`s Mardi Gras Band, offering a charming repertoire ranging through Dixieland, Latin American, swing and bebop.
Racegoers can also enjoy a classic English afternoon tea on board a double decker bus – what could be more British! The finale will be a mass singalong led by the Hull-based Dagger Lane Singers who will lead racegoers in timeless favourites such as It’s A Long Way to Tipperary, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, before a stirring climax with the National Anthem. The meeting is the latest opportunity to enjoy East Yorkshire’s best day out and builds on a brilliant start to the season for Beverley Racecourse, with attendances up by 20% on 2016.
Beverley Racecourse Chief Executive Sally Iggulden meets Dougie with patriotic racegoer John Holmes and Dagger Lane Singers members, from left, Veronica Slee, Elizabeth Franklin, Sue Crawley, Adrian Slee and Richard Axford.
Sally Iggulden, Chief Executive of Beverley Racecourse, said: “A Very British Raceday is one of our most popular meetings. It’s a simply wonderful atmosphere with something for absolutely everybody. “Every year more and more people get into the spirit of the day, with patriotic outfits and accessories, and we’d love even more racegoers to join in the fun this year. “The Donkey Derby is a real favourite with people of all ages.
It’s hilarious to watch the jockeys trying – and mostly failing – to stay on the donkeys and keep them going in a straight line. The crowds absolutely love it! “If you are among the millions who have watched last year’s Donkey Derby online I can assure you it’s even better up close. I would really urge people to arrive early because it’s one not to be missed.”
Regular racegoers John and Caroline Holmes are familiar faces at the popular Westwood course and enter into the spirit of the day with red, white and blue outfits. Mr Holmes, who lives in Beverley and is Director of Medical Services for leading pharmaceutical supplies company Teva UK, said: “We’re great fans of A Very British Race Day and this will be the fourth time we’ve attended. “We’re really looking forward to it. It’s such a fantastic day out and is even more fun when everyone dresses up to match the theme. “We’re both avid racegoers and we even got married at the course last year. We love the friendly atmosphere and the Westwood setting is beautiful – especially when the sun shines.”
A Very British Raceday fan John Holmes leads Dougie around the Beverley Racecourse parade ring followed by members of the Dagger Lane Singers.
Sue Crawley from the Dagger Lane Singers said they were really looking forward to leading the singalong finale. She said: “It’s a lovely day with a fantastic atmosphere. People really enjoy it and love to join in with us at the end of the afternoon. There’s nothing more British than a traditional singalong, so it’s the perfect end to a delightful day.”
Racegoers are being advised to book in advance for one of Beverley’s most popular racedays, especially if they wish to dine in The Attraction restaurant, which offers superb views of the course and this year features signature adishes created by celebrity chef Colin McGurran from the acclaimed Winteringham Fields restaurant in north Lincolnshire.
Tickets for all race meetings can be booked online at www.beverley-racecourse.co.uk or by calling the ticket hotline on 01482 867488.
To book a table in The Attraction restaurant, call Sarah Duff of the racecourse catering team on 01482 867488. The restaurant is extremely popular, so racegoers are advised to book in advance and can reserve a table for the whole meeting for just £10 per head. Some tables are available on the day, on a first-come-first-served basis.