NOT only can Beverley Racecourse claim to be the friendliest of Yorkshire’s nine turf tracks, but it’s also the prettiest.
Racing has been staged on the town’s Westwood since 1767 in the shadow of the imposing Beverley Minster which has the size and stature of many cathedrals.
Yet jockeys in this race, headed by the eventual winner Talent Scout in the hands of Gemma Tutty, don’t have time to admire the view – or observe the 30mph speed limit.
They’re jostling for position at the far end of the Westwood before a sharp right-hand behind and punishing uphill climb to the winning post.
After being extensively refurbished and modernised in recent years under the leadership of Sally Iggulden, the course continues to grow in popularity as it looks to make the most of its natural ambience. It was, for example, a cacophony of colour earlier this month when the aforementioned Talent Scout, in eyecatching blue and yellow silks, won on Ladies Day. Not only did a carnival-like crowd enjoy the facilities – and the occasional winner – but the Westwood, common land where livestock is graze, is also the perfect setting for a picnic.
On a clear summer’s day, blue skies offer stunning views of the Minster – one of England’s largest parish churches – and the East Riding’s changing landscape further on the horizon as the region’s green energy revolution fathers pace.
At the end of the month which saw racegoers turn out in huge numbers to Flat meetings across the county, including last week’s Ebor festival on York’s Knavesmire, racing on the Westwood yesterday was accompanied by folk music and a beer festival.
It left the crowd in high spirits ahead of next Saturday’s meeting in which the Beverley Bullet Stakes is one of the county’s top sprints. First run in 2004, it continues – just like the racecourse – to grow in prestige and the roll of honour includes the ever popular Borderlescott and Tangerine Trees whose longevity represented the best of Yorkshire racing. If there’s one certainty in racing, go to Beverley and savour the view – and the sport. You can’t lose.