Festival crowds reach record high

Racing at York.
Racing at York.
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yorkshire racing lovers have been turning out in record numbers.

The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival has smashed its previous attendance figures by around 5,000.

A total of 105,000 people enjoyed thrilling race days at all of the Yorkshire tracks over the nine-day eighth annual Flat racing festival.

Trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Silvestre De Sousa were the respective champions after some intense competition, which ended at Pontefract on Sunday.

In the trainers’ competition, the battle went right to the wire with David O’Meara having the chance to retain the title when he saddled Scoreline in the final race. His horse had to win but when he finished third, it meant Johnston had held on by just two points.

De Sousa dominated the jockeys’ competition and was assured of victory even before the first race was run at Pontefract.

West Sussex trainer Amanda Perrett has a fine record at Goodwood and can add to her gains by saddling Astronereus to victory in the Summer Stakes.

The media-shy Perrett’s horses are rarely discussed, but she has a very useful animal with which to go to war on the first day of the ‘Glorious’ meeting.

Astronereus is burdened with top weight in this staying handicap over a mile-and-three-quarters but that should not put anyone off as he looks a horse going places in a bit of a rush.

Chief cause for optimism can be derived from his victory in the Listed Silver Cup at York, where he really caught the eye on his first stab over this sort of trip.

Astronereus showed grit when it mattered on Knavesmire to account for Dashing Star by a length-and-a-quarter.

Before that he had won a valuable Newmarket handicap with a degree of authority, after which he finished third in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot, so the form is there for all to see.

The handicapper has since intervened, but not excessively enough to suggest he will be hamstrung by his new weight on the Downs.

At this stage, he looks an ideal type for Ebor but should be fully fired up for this assignment, especially with conditions looking just about ideal if the forecast for showers is correct.

It could be a really satisfying day for Perrett as stablemate Czech It Out should also go well at the summit of the weights for the Turf Club Stakes.

This five-year-old gelding shone brightly over seven furlongs at Goodwood on his last start in May and it is interesting to see connections eschew a few other possible races this week in favour of this contest.

Birchwood appeals as a potential starlet in the Qatar Vintage Stakes.

Even in spite of a penalty for winning the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, Richard Fahey’s youngster can be trusted to uphold that excellent form with the runner-up that day, Air Vice Marshal.

This looks a typically hot renewal, but this two-year-old son of Dark Angel appears every inch a Group One campaigner.