It’s very nearly time to put away the tweed for the year. The jumps season is almost over. Cheltenham is a distant memory, all the office sweepstakes from Saturday have been swept up... and unless you were on the winning horse the memory of the National will be fading fast too.
Yet they’re racing again today because as the jumps season comes to a close the flat is getting into full swing. There’s flat racing from Pontefract today and they’re going at Catterick Bridge tomorrow. In total here in Yorkshire we’re lucky to have over 180 days of racing over the year. We have nine fabulous racecourses hosting both flat and jumps racing.
The flat racing season actually starts in Yorkshire with the Lincoln Meeting at Doncaster just last week. The final British classic of the year, the St Leger is also run on Town Moor and York hosts the Dante and Ebor meetings among others over the summer.
Doncaster and York may take a lot of the limelight but all the Yorkshire courses have their own special showcase days. The Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival sees all our courses come together for a week long spectacular of racing and open days at the end of July. So we’ve got a fantastic summer of sport to look forward to and I love the elegance, beauty and pure speed of the flat season. But a part of me will be keeping a weather eye open for the return of the jumps heroes in the autumn.
One of my highlights of the year is the Christmas meeting at Wetherby. While of most of the county are tucking into Boxing Day lunch, 10,000 hardier souls are packed into Wetherby racecourse to watch the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase and catch the drama of the King George VI on the big screens from Kempton.
Three years ago I remember the whole of Wetherby coming to a standstill to watch Kauto Star roll back the years and put the young pretenders in their place when claiming his fifth King George VI at Kempton.
If you’ve never been racing then give it a try. You couldn’t be in a better county. Can I recommend you listen (maybe just this once) to “Big Mac” John McCririck and “Come Racing!”