York Racecourse traces an illustrious history back to Roman and Viking eras. Currently, it is a lively city flourishing as a commercial, sightseeing and regionally leading centre. With a wide range of famous restaurants, excellent shopping opportunities and top-rated attractions, including the universally Jorvik Viking Centre and National Railway Museum, as well as the interesting history of the Minster, Castle and City Walls, supplements York’s all-embracing assortment of first-rate hotel accommodation facilities.
According to the earliest available documents, horseracing functions started at York during the heydays of the enigmatic Emperor Severus in Roman times. Nonetheless, most of the 360,000 fans who will attend the reigning "Northern Racecourse of the Year" this upcoming racing season are not likely to know they are actually taking part in an auspicious spectacle that took place for the very first time about a whole 2,000 years ago.
York Corporation archived documents show that the City initially supported racing events in 1530. In mid-1607, horse sporting is known to have occurred on the ice-covered river Ouse, between Micklegate Tower and the landmark Skeldergate Postern.
The very first all-inclusive records of a race occasion date from 1709, at a time when much of the work was undertaken to improve the racecourse at Clifton Ings which was usually susceptible to regular floods. Regardless of this work, the floods persisted and in 1730 racing shifted to Knavesmire, where the racecourse remains.
As its name clearly implies, Knavesmire was a mire with a prominent stream running through it and a significant amount of leveling and draining was needed to come up the horseshoe shaped racecourse, which was launched for its maiden meeting in 1731.
No permanent structures were put up on Knavesmire up to the time the well-known York architect, John Carr, designed and meticulously constructed the first Grandstand in 1754. This was funded by 250 individuals who each forked out 5 guineas. Each patron and their respective successors were entitled to make use of the stand during the site's lease and were provided with a brass token that contained their name and a prominent photograph of the stand. This represented the model for the late impressive County Stand Badge.
The York Racecourse Committee, (presently part of York Racecourse Knavesmire LLP) still runs racing at York today and was set up in 1842, to turn around a major decline in the excellence of racing events. By late 1846, the Committee had established the Gimcrack Stakes, which has since this time become among York's most steady races.
York Races' development has been captured in the advancement of the grandstands over the past few years. New stands were put up in 1890 to include much of the initial building and a foremost improvement program, unveiled in 1962, led to the launch of the distinct five-tier grandstand in 1965. The program of improvisations rolled on and by1989 the Melrose Stand was already unveiled, swiftly followed by the prized Knavesmire Stand, with supplementary conference facilities in 1996. In 2003, the Ebor Stand containing, amongst other features, the Nunthorpe Suite, was opened and was preserved for race days for exclusive use by the honorable Annual Badge holders.
In the past few years, York Racecourse, besides hosting numerous stunning York Races, has also staged the Royal Ascot at York in 2005 plus The Ladbrokes St Leger in 2006.
Despite its prominence with regard to hosting major horse sporting events, York Racecourse is also home to many outstandingly popular hospitality facilities. With well-stocked bars and well-furnished eateries, the facility offers tasty cuisines that will fulfill the wildest appetites of even the finickiest of gourmets. With affordable dining and accommodation amenities, the ubiquitously well-liked racing site has received countless thousands of rave reviews from hordes of enthusiastic sporting adherents as well as the treasured accreditation of high flying racing gurus from all over Europe and the world at large. The hustle and bustle that is the very highlight of a typical racing occasion at York elicit a great deal of comprehensive media coverage since most of the distinguished racecourse’s sporting events are televised live to all across the globe.
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Contact details: York Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX
Tel: 01904 620911