Ed Chamberlin praises ‘welcoming’ York Racecourse for staging of Ebor Festival

The behaviour of racegoers at last week's Ebor festival has been praised by ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin.The behaviour of racegoers at last week's Ebor festival has been praised by ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin.
The behaviour of racegoers at last week's Ebor festival has been praised by ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin.
ITV Racing’s main presenter Ed Chamberlin has praised York Racecourse for its proactive approach to the behaviour of crowds – and how other sporting venues can learn from its example.

He was writing on his sportinglife.com blog following last week’s four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor festival which attracted a total of 84,021 spectators, marginally up on the 2019 attendance.

“I’ve been at a number of sporting events recently where I’ve witnessed anti-social behaviour – be that at cricket, football or racing,” he posted.

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“I want to commend York for showing how to prevent – and react to it. I’ve loved The Hundred but it hasn’t been the family event it was supposed to be at the fixtures I’ve attended.”

Ed Chamberlin (left) is the ITV Racing's main presenter.Ed Chamberlin (left) is the ITV Racing's main presenter.
Ed Chamberlin (left) is the ITV Racing's main presenter.

Referencing racing’s own difficulties with crowd behaviour, he said: “We know about the fighting at Goodwood and football is always a difficult place to take my 12-year-old son. The problem seems to be worse than ever at the moment.

“But the key at York is they’ve had eight sniffer dogs on the ground and 44 police officers on duty all week. They’ve had to fund it themselves but these measures send out a message from the off. There’s nowhere more welcoming than York – but that welcome is a robust one.

“If you’re coming here and you’re thinking if I get thrown out by a steward what’s the worst that can happen? A fine?

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“But if I get chucked out by a police officer that could cost me my job. It would be a permanent stain on my CV.

Over 84,000 people attended last week's Ebor Festival.Over 84,000 people attended last week's Ebor Festival.
Over 84,000 people attended last week's Ebor Festival.

“I commend York for funding this and it’s meant we’ve had four days from what I’ve seen that have been peaceful. Plenty of high spirits but I’ve not seen a hint of trouble.”

He added: “I’m on a crusade at the moment to try and get as many families as possible to come racing. We’ve seen families galore here and that’s so important. As a parent you get to the end of August and the holidays are dragging on and you’re spending a fortune to go to places like Legoland or adventure parks.

“Unaccompanied 18-year-olds can come racing for free. I put that message out on Twitter and the immediate response is why would we go there? People are taking drugs and causing problems aren’t they?

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“No they’re not. There have been incidents but most of the time it’s a brilliant place to bring your family and enjoy a wonderful day out.”

Chamberlin also praised York for allowing ITV to use its “new state-of-the-art eagle-eye camera” over the paddock that enabled TV viewers to watch the pride – and emotion – as local hero Winter Power returned to the celebrated winners’ enclosure on Friday after winning the Group One Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes for Great Habton trainer Tim Easterby.

Arguably the most popular winner of the entire festival, Easterby reports his three-year-old sprinting star to be in fine fettle and possibly on course to contest the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp on Arc day.

“She’s come out of it really good,” he said. Asked what the success – and reaction of the racing public – meant to him, and his family, the characteristically modest trainer said: “Fantastic, brilliant , wonderful.”

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He’s unsure, however, whether Lampang and Silver Sovereign will contest this Saturday’s William Hill Beverley Bullet – they feature among 20 entries for the five furlong sprint on the picturesque Westwood track that will again be showcased by ITV.

Course chief executive Sally Iggulden expects the Premier Enclosure to sell out in advance of Saturday’s meeting when a 7,000 crowd is expected.

Although tickets will be on sale on the day, the course is encouraging spectators to book in advance for the Bullet and also Sunday’s meeting when up to 8,000 racegoers are expected.

In other news, newly-retired jump jockeys Richard Johnson and Barry Geraghty, two of the all-time greats, will contest the traditional Mondialiste Leger Legends race on day one of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting next month to raise funds for Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockeys Fund rehab centre at Malton, and the National Horseracing College near Doncaster.

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