Racing: Mark Johnston aims for Festival treble at Ripon Racecourse - here's how

Trainer Mark Johnston (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire).
Trainer Mark Johnston (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire).
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MIDDLEHAM trainer Mark Johnston will look to land a brilliant hat-trick – and a relaxing night away – as the 2017 Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival begins at Ripon today.

The tenth annual festival will span eight days and feature nine meetings at eight different courses across Yorkshire.

Johnston has led the way as far as the last two festivals are concerned and the Middleham handler has six horses entered for action at Ripon today followed by another three at Redcar tomorrow The leading jockey of the festival will receive a cheque for £500 courtesy of TVF Promotions and will also get to present a cheque of £500 to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Go Racing In Yorkshire’s supported charity of the festival.

The 2017 winning trainer, meanwhile, will get a rare night to relax at the Goldsborough Hall Hotel in Knaresborough.

As the Festival celebrates its first decade, Go Racing In Yorkshire’s general manager Emma White says the eight-day Yorkshire treat is continuing to grow in popularity year on year.

“The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival is now in its tenth year and continues to get bigger and better,” said White.

“Every day of the festival offers Yorkshire racing enthusiasts something different, from music nights to family days. It’s a fabulous week.

“It now attracts over 100,000 attendees and that figure is growing.

“The racing industry in Yorkshire is huge, contributing over £228 million to the local economy. Yorkshire loves its racing and this Festival is a celebration of that.”

After today’s curtain raiser at Ripon, the show moves on to Redcar on Sunday for Help for Heroes Day – a family fun day with entertainment for children.

The party then swings into gear at Beverley on Monday evening for a carnival night including a New York band, samba dancers and carnival floats to beat away the Monday blues.

After a day off from Yorkshire racing on Tuesday, the action continues on Wednesday at Catterick before the festival turns up the volume for a Thursday evening card at Doncaster which is followed by a DJ set from Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills.

Next Friday then presents a Yorkshire double header with an afternoon card at Thirsk followed by another musical and racing combination at York in the evening.

Racegoers on the Knavesmire will be treated to Jess Glynn live after racing and All Saints will then perform live on stage 
after the following day’s afternoon card at York which is Sky Bet Day.

The festival will then conclude a week tomorrow at Pontefract’s family day where the picnic enclosure will house children’s rides and bouncy castle, plus festival mascot Festival Freddie.

Today’s feature race at Newbury is the Weatherbys Super Sprint in which Malton trainer Richard Fahey saddles the likely favourite Maggies Angel, the mount of Paul Hanagan.

Second in the Hilary Needler and a Newmarket Listed race, she only carries 8st 6lb.

Fahey also runs Requinto Dawn, who was the winner of a division of the Brocklesby at Doncaster, Bengali Boys, Danehill Desert and Inviolable Spirit.

County Durham trainer Michael Dods also runs unbeaten Beverley and Catterick scorer Time Trail.

Dods said: “She has won her two starts narrowly so far. I think the handicapper has probably got her where she should be at the moment. She has to step up if she is going to be competitive, but we feel it is worth having a go.”