ALLIE STAFFORD did not expect to be studying the form of this zebra when she joined 12,000 racegoers who made the pilgrimage to York for Ladies Day.
Yet there was a striking similarity between the black and white stripes and the colours of The Grey Gatsby, the winner of the Betfred Dante Stakes for Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan.
Allie, 25, from Tadcaster, was among those leaping for joy after the Yorkshire horse survived a protracted – and nerve-wracking – stewards inquiry after causing interference in a frantic finish to this pivotal Epsom Derby trial.
It is a measure of the meeting’s significance, and York’s prestige as a venue that combines top class racing with high society fashion, that the Dante was broadcast live on both Channel 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live – there are not many sporting events in this county that enjoy such a distinction.
Yorkshire and England cricketer Tim Bresnan was among those to savour York’s unique atmosphere under slightly overcast skies while Tottenham Hotspur defender Michael Dawson, who grew up in North Yorkshire, was another notable name in the crowd.
The day also saw York chairman Lord Grimthorpe and chief executive William Derby present a £16,000 cheque to the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) for its rehabilitation centre, which is now being built in Malton and will carry the name of the charity’s tireless fundraiser Jack Berry.
Fittingly Brian Toomey, the North Yorkshire jump jockey who cheated death in a fall last summer, was among the IJF team to receive the cheque. He had just travelled back from Perth where he had been reunited with the medical team who had saved his life.
The Grey Gatsby set to head to Chantilly: Back Page.