Last week Chester, this week York..
As every good schoolboy knows, the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was hanged on York’s Knavesmire, in 1739 for a bonus point. Nowadays the area is famous for being the site of York racecourse, for many people the best course in the country, and for natives of the White Rose county, indisputably the greatest course in the world. Indeed such is the pride they have in their leading track, while many racegoers call York’s big August Ebor meeting the Royal Ascot of the north, Yorkshire folk prefer to turn the comparison around, regarding Ascot as the Ebor of the south.
Along with the Ebor meeting, the course’s other big meeting is the Dante meeting, which is where we find ourselves this week. The Dante itself remains the most significant Investec Derby trial of the several run at this time of year, while today’s Classic trial is the Musidora Stakes, where Liber Nauticus bids to enhance her Oaks credentials. The other Group race on offer today is the six-furlong Duke Of York stakes, and if the ante-post money is an accurate guide, Maarek, well-backed all week, could be lifting this prize for Ireland.
However York, like Chester last week, is about so much more than the action on the track. The cost of champagne here is generally accepted to be the best value on offer at any major track – yes, these things do matter! – while it’s only a short stroll back into the centre of the city. The iconic York Minster dominates the area north of the river Ouse, and the Jorvik centre gives a flavour of how things were when the Vikings arrived here over 1,000 years ago. They may not have been welcome visitors at the time, and Dick Turpin met a grizzly end here, but things have most definitely improved since those days, making this a must-visit course during the summer months.