Heatwave to hail stones set the backdrop to some really competitive racing at the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, sponsored by Sky Bet.
Glorious sunshine started the week at Ripon on Saturday, July 20 and continued for much of the week, including the hottest day of the year at Doncaster on Thursday, July 25. But like all good things it came to an end and after thunderstorms hit Thirsk in the middle of Friday afternoon it was rain to the end with the worst of the weather apparently reserved for York’s high-class card on Saturday. which featured the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes.
The final day of the Festival at Pontefract on Sunday, July 28 escaped most if not all of the rain, but it certainly didn’t dampen spirits among the family crowd. Highlights of the week on the track saw Mark Johnston’s Elarqam take the Sky Bet York Stakes with the Middleham trainer also landing Pontefract’s listed race, the Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes with Marie’s Diamond. The biggest priced winner of the week was Mick Easterby’s 40-1 shot Bankawi winning at Ripon in the hands of James Sullivan.
As well as the superb racing, there was plenty to keep the crowds happy with the jockeys showing off their football skills before racing every day with the Sky Bet sponsored ‘Paddock and Chips’, a week long competition that earned winner Cam Hardie an overnight stay at Rudding Park.
Fun for all the family is the keynote of the Festival, together with some great music provided by Tears For Fears at York on the Friday, James Arthur on the Saturday and three tribute bands performing throughout the day at Pontefract. Richard Fahey was leading trainer of the week for the second year in a row landing seven winners, the same number as Tim Easterby, but claiming the prize of a luxury stay at the superb Goldsborough Hall, who sponsor the award, by virtue of more second places.
There was also a repeat winner of the jockeys’ award, sponsored by Sky Bet, with Danny Tudhope’s nine winners making him the winner for the second year in a row. The sponsors also gave a £500 donation to Racing Welfare, the nominated charity of the week.
Go Racing In Yorkshire chairman John Sexton said: “The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival has been another great success and we are delighted to work with such brilliant sponsors who come back year after year. Every year it proves a terrific way to showcase Yorkshire’s fantastic racecourses, the uniqueness of each one and the all-encompassing activity that goes with a raceday.
The 2020 Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival will begin at Ripon on Saturday, July 18 and continues until Sunday July 26.