Beverley Racecourse is reported in supreme condition ahead of the track’s first meeting of the season on Wednesday (April 19).
Chief executive Sally Iggulden “couldn’t be happier” as the picturesque East Yorkshire circuit stages its curtain-raising fixture, the White Rabbit in Easterland Raceday.
Iggulden and her team have placed the accent firmly upon the thoroughbred during the close season, with horse welfare central to Beverley Racecourse’s winter refurbishments. Trainers and owners running horses at Beverley can also expect a prize-money boost as the total fund for the 19-meeting programme now pushes £1million.
Iggulden said: “I couldn’t be happier with how the course is looking as we go into the 2017 season at Beverley. We’ve focused on the track and facilities for horses this winter, with new running rail, crowd barrier and fencing installed. Additionally, we are rebuilding the saddling boxes to ensure a calm environment for horses to be prepared before the races. Combined with a refurbishment of the stableyard, we continue to be committed to the welfare of our equine visitors and those who look after them. On the track this year, we have near on £1million up for grabs, and continue to invest in prize-money, with no class five race being run for less than £6,000 in total prize-money.”
Beverley Racecourse can take great pride from last season’s action on the track after numerous exceptional horses blazed a trail to glory on the Westwood.
The locally-owned Alpha Delphini was a dramatic winner of the flagship race, the valuable totepool Beverley Bullet, which will this season be staged on Saturday, September 2. Richard Hannon’s Grizzel showed lightning pace to win the Hilary Needler Trophy, but it was the result of the Brian Yeardley Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy that really caught the eye. Prince Of Lir and The Last Lion, the first two home in the five-furlong dash, ended up finishing first and second respectively in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot – with the latter subsequently winning the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket before his retirement.
Iggulden added: “We saw some real equine stars at Beverley last year and very much look forward to unveiling some classy two-year-old olds, as well as welcoming back seasoned campaigners who have flown the flag at international level.”
Racing at Beverley on Wednesday is due to begin at 2.15pm, with the five-furlong Opening Day Sprint Trophy (4.35) the highlight on an eight-race card.
The going on Monday morning was described as good to firm, good in places, following six millimetres of overnight rain.
Wednesday’s forecast is for a dry day, sunny spells and a maximum high of 12C.
TEN BEVERLEY ACES FROM 2016
PRINCE OF LIR - Won the Brian Yeardley Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy on May 28. Subsequently claimed gold in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
OREWA - Unbeaten in three starts at Beverley. Showed great potential when victorious in a big sales race on Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh.
ST MICHEL - Hosed up by seven lengths in the 131st Year of the Watt Memorial Handicap on July 17. Later to finish third in the Doncaster Cup.
GARCIA - Excelled in the Queen's Own Yeomanry Handicap on April 21. Put that experience to good use with a head triumph in the Silver Bowl at Haydock.
GRIZZEL - Game Hilary Needler Trophy winner on May 28 and subsequently held her own in Pattern-race company.
THE LAST LION - Runner-up in the Brian Yeardley and the Norfolk Stakes and retired a Group One hero.
CASPIAN PRINCE - Superb front-running display in the Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes on September 20.
CLEM FANDANGO - Hilary Needler runner-up who finished third in both the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury.
ALPHA DELPHINI - Dramatic winner of the Listed Beverley Bullet and only just denied by Cotai Glory in a five-furlong Group Three at Newbury on September 17.
LINE OF REASON - Won a valuable conditions stakes on June 14 and, in doing so, smashed the five-furlong course record with a one-length defeat of Red Pike.