Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2 hours from Kings Cross)
Railway station to Racecourse (1.5 miles – shuttle bus from Station, £3 return)
The county enclosure is very intelligently designed as it gives you somewhere to drink and somewhere to stand where you are not a mobbed as the rest of the track. The Moet bar is a superb place from which to watch the Parade ring while still having a cheeky glass of champagne. The stands are immense and with plans for expansion this can only mean bigger and better things to come.
Many hotels in the town itself, probably the most convenient being the Marriot opposite the track or Hotel du vin (an old favourite from previous trips to the city). We stayed in the Novotel which was a great alternative, but do book early as the prices become prohibitive during the big race meetings
Grandstand and paddock, County (£24). A real bonus is the county tickets included the £3.50 race card. A lot of tracks could learn from this.
(2) Return before challenge complete,
14 July 2017– UK (32), Irish (3), Rest of the World (2)
It is hard to compare two days running at two different Yorkshire tracks, but this is now the third time we have done this. In the case of Thirsk, it came second to Ripon. In the case of York, it far outstripped Doncaster. It’s both easy and hard to explain why. On simplistic terms as I have preciously said, a low power version of Doncaster was not a patch on what it must be like when all batteries are fully charged. York on the day we visited, had been plugged into the mains for some time and was delivering power on all ports.
Yes, it was probably the perfect version of York for us; again, the weather held. The first day of a two day festival, easily York’s second largest week of the year meant that everything was geared up for a big day, but the size of the crowd was not anywhere near that attracted by the Saturday or indeed any day of the Ebor festival. All of the main facilities were open, but the crowds and queues were not terrible or hard to negotiate.
I have eluded to it before, and I am bored with the press making a meal out of alcohol abuse at race meetings, but it was a relief to see no massive displays of public drunkenness. One of the reasons for this was the fabulous level of stewarding at the event, where everybody was incredibly professional and were firm by fair, which in my mind is the best way. What was also nice is the way the dress code was upheld even later into the day. A lot of people dressed in their finery and it was wonderful to see that respected.
So, to the track itself; what a beautiful condition it was in. The grass was amazing as were all the green areas for the public to walk on. Thick luxurious grass to walk on, which I am sure was a delight for the ladies to remove their shoes after the 3rd or 4th race. However, as the commentator is fond of reminding the punters at Lingfield, gentlemen, wear socks with your shoes, nothing looks worse at the end of the day then a guy walking around barefoot because his feet hurt.
Another reason York scores points over Doncaster (I know it’s not a competition) is the visibility of the track itself. Almost all the track can be seen from the grass in front of the stands and from the stands themselves, there is a veritable panorama. But to save the best until last is the view down the 6f finishing straight. For the longer races, the join the straight at about 4f. It is however unusual to be able to view the straight from in front of the horses and the view from the throat as it were is breath-taking, which I have tried to capture in one of my picture of the day. This was a special course to visit, especially on my birthday, but I feel there were never be a bad day to be at York races.