The curtain comes down on another memorable season at York with the traditional two-day October Meeting on Friday and Saturday (October 12 & 13), when racing on both days is set to begin at 2-10 p.m., the highlights being a top-class valuable sprint race, the renowned Band of The Coldstream Guards and also big-match atmosphere as international football will be shown on a big screen as England take on Estonia in Euro 2008 qualifier.
The action on Friday features the £18,000 TSG Stakes, a handicap contest for leading milers supported for the third year by The TSG Group, a provider of IT services to businesses throughout the UK. The opening race – a Conditions contest over the extended one mile and a quarter – is sponsored by local chartered accountants, Garbutt & Elliott who are supporting this meeting for the seventh year, while the afternoon’s Nursery Handicap for two-year-olds is also supported for the seventh time by the West Yorkshire-based specialist printers, Acorn Web Offset. Handicap sprinters line up for The Persimmon Homes Stakes (five furlongs), supported by the York-based Persimmon Homes, the UK’s leading housebuilders, while IG Index support this meeting for the first time, putting their name to a race for maiden two-year-olds.
Friday’s card concludes with The Betfair Apprentice Training Series Finale, the culmination of a special series of eight races for apprentice riders held throughout the UK and which began at Catterick in April. Going into the race, Kirsty Milczarek is the leader of the series, followed by William Carson. The series’ winner will receive a working holiday, valued at £5,000, based with a leading trainer abroad.
Saturday’s principal race is The paddypower.com Sprint Trophy, a prestigious handicap contest over six furlongs offering prize money of £35,000. Won last year by Rising Shadow, trained near Thirsk by David Barron, this competitive race welcomes first time sponsors to York in bookmakers, Paddy Power. The Rockingham Stakes, a £25,000 Listed race for precocious two-year-olds, is supported for the first time by Stowe Family Law LLP, one of the country’s leading private client family law firms, based in Harrogate, as part of the company’s jubilee celebrations,
The York-based Shepherd Group return to the Knavesmire to support the longest race of the meeting – a handicap contest for stayers over two and a quarter miles which utilises the new bend and therefore the entire round course at York. Premium drinks brand, Woodford Bourbon sponsor a handicap race over nine furlongs for the second time; new sponsors, Collingwood Cleaning Services and The European Breeders Fund combine to support a race for maiden two-year-olds. The extended one mile and a quarter is the distance in The Parsonage Country House Hotel Stakes, a handicap contest supported by the Escrick-based renowned hotel as they continue to sponsor at this fixture.
The concluding race on Saturday, The Coldstream Guards Association Handicap Stakes is held over one mile and threequarters and, immediately following the race, the Band of The Coldstream Guards will provide the musical finale to the season from the winners’ enclosure.
Four large screens will show even more of the action, while the popular and informative ‘Punters Panel’ will preview racing on both days from the winners’ podium.
Going into York’s last meeting of 2007, Malton-based trainers, Tim Easterby and Richard Fahey lead the way in the race for The Minster Jaguar Trophy presented to the top trainer of the season at York; they have both registered five winners on the Knavesmire this term, one more than both Luca Cumani and Barry Hills. In The Revolution Bar Top Jockeys’ Award for the leading rider of the season on the Knavesmire, Jamie Spencer, who is in an absorbing battle with Seb Sanders to be Britain’s champion jockey, has recorded an impressive eight winners at York so far this year, and is four winners clear of Australian rider, Kerrin McEvoy.
A fitting climax to York’s 2007 campaign.
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WETHERBY’S NEW SEASON OVER JUMPS BEGINS ON OCTOBER 17
Wetherby's 2007/08 season over Jumps starts on Wednesday (October 17) - the first of 19 days' racing during the campaign, and concludes with an evening meeting on Thursday, June 5.
The current A1 Bramham – Wetherby Road Improvement Scheme has necessitated the construction of a new home-bend and the realignment of the home straight. Therefore, Wetherby now has a slightly different configuration and some of the established distances, as well as the location of the starts, have also changed. The aim of the racecourse executive is to retain the essence and character of the track – a fair, galloping jump racing circuit of about one mile and a half.
The new Bramham Hall will be officially opened prior to racing by David Thorpe, Chairman of The Racecourse Association. This £1.4 million multi-functional hall now provides improved facilities for racegoers in the Paddock Enclosure, as well as a large modern venue for conferences, dinners, exhibitions and receptions.
Wednesday's quality seven-race programme, which starts at 2.10 p.m., is the backdrop to the 17th annual charity meeting in aid of Spinal Research, with over £250,000 raised during the previous sixteen charity racedays at Wetherby for the national charity which funds research into finding a cure for paralysis caused by injury to the spinal cord.
The feature race on Wednesday is The skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase, sponsored by Sky Bet, one of the leading horseracing and sports betting companies in the U.K. This £10,000 contest over the extended two miles and three furlongs remembers the late Bobby Renton, who trained Freebooter to win the 1950 Grand National from his base at Ripon. It is also one of four races sponsored in aid of Spinal Research, the others being The Jimmy & Jane Fitzgerald Memorial Novices' Hurdle (a contest over the extended two and a half miles supported by Malton trainer Tim Fitzgerald), The totesport.com Handicap Hurdle is contested over two miles while the UK jump jockeys support the opening race, a contest for three-year-old juvenile maiden hurdlers named in memory of Rachel Wright who organized this charity raceday since it’s inception and who sadly passed away earlier last year.
Spinal Research is again hosting a fund-raising luncheon prior to racing in a marquee adjacent to the Parade Ring and the three-times champion jockey over Jumps, Richard Dunwoody will again be in attendance, supporting the charity, along with actress and racehorse owner, Claire King and local award-winning businesswomen, Woody Whittick of ‘She’s All That’ boutique of Wetherby. The charity’s guest of honour is former Jump jockey, J P McNamara, who broke his neck when riding at Bangor-on-Dee in April last year.