Ripon,Saturday 20th July,2013

The opening day of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival began at what is dubbed Yorkshires Garden Racecourse of Ripon in North Yorkshire.

Indeed if you are a lover of all things equine and horticulture then this is the place for you,the gardeners here deserve recognition for the hard work that goes in to making this a real traditional feel of a racecourse, the place has that sense of occasion about it like a social event or garden party with a bandstand that has the Ripon City Band playing tunes Inbetween races and before racing as the crowds enjoy their pre race luncheon and study the form before the racing begins. 

It’s often said that York is the Ascot of the North and if that’s the case then in my view Ripon is the Goodwood of the North, the racing calendar here shows some good races with its two signature events being the 2YO Trophy on the August Bank Holiday and the famous Great St Wilfrid Handicap also in August which is the traditional pre cursor the the Ebor Meeting.

Below some of the flowers and arrangements including the Band Stand. 

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ImageFirst race was a 6f 2yo Seller which was a poor looking race on paper and favourite backers got off to a good start as Lady Captain just held on by a head to beat Elualla and her previous experience helped and Jamie Spencer did a good job to get her in front where it mattered,the track didn’t suit her and at the auction no bids were received. 

Second race on the card was a 5f 2yo EBF Maiden in which the cream came to the top as Complicit for Paul Cole under Graham Lee hung on by a neck from Genuine Quality and Jamie Spencer and while the rest of the field were all much of a muchness these two have a reasonable touch of quality about them,The winning ride was much deserved as Complicit was anything but being loaded up as he was on edge at the start and the handlers had a hard time getting him in then Lee lost an iron after the start but he cajoled Complicit and this was a quality piece of riding. 

Third up was the first race on the round course a 1m Handicap for 3yo+ (66-85) which brought the double up for Paul Cole as Silverheels followed up from his recent Kempton second to land the spoils under useful 3lb claimer Ashley Morgan,he was keen early but settled down and did a professional job to hold off the fast finishing No Dominion with Flashlight in third spot, Silverheels is a tough sort and seems better over 1m while the runner up is better at this trip too and should win soon. 

The feature race was the Fourth which was The Ripon Bell-Ringer Handicap for 3yo (85-93 over 1m4f, only five went to post but it was a good looking event on paper, one thing which happens in this race is that straight after the start the official bell ringer of Ripon rings the bell and does the usual shouting nonsense for a a few seconds before getting off the track, back to the race and the early pace was set by Contradict who seemed lit up and went on after 3f and was soon clear before getting headed 3f out and weakened out of it, it was Salutation who took the lead and went on to win readily for Mark Johnston’s inform yard and jockey Joe Fanning, the winner has been very busy of late but is keeping his form, he won here off 85 and could possibly be Melrose bound here as he looks a stayer in the making. 

Fifth race was a 1m2f Handicap for 3yo+ (66-85) and another Mark Johnston winner here as Mushaakis stayed on stoutly to beat Its My Time by 2.75 lengths, rated 81 he is another improving 3yo and is still improving while Its My Time will be much better back at 1m, as for the rest of the field a lot of them are needed their ratings to go down a bit. 

Race Six was a 1m4f Handicap for 3yo+ (58-77) and it was the two 3yo who shared first and second here as trainer Paul Cole got his third winner of the afternoon with Kuantan One who got his second win of the season from Wadacre Sarko who was 1.5 lengths in the runner up spot, the first time blinkers certainly helped his concentration and this trip seems his ideal distance, Wadacre Sarko was chasing a hat trick here and is probably not finished with yet. 

The last race was a 6f Maiden Handicap for 3yo (51-70), not a good quality contrast it has to be said but it was Ruth Carr who trained the winner with Abraham Monro the bottom weight who ran on strongly to fend off Imperial Spirit and the favourite Rufoof who was back on third, this was the winners second start for Ruth Carr and she has a great knack of getting horses who can struggle into form and getting wins so expect more to come from this winner before the seasons out. 

A nice pleasant and somewhat more cooler afternoon here in Ripon, a good crowd turned out to see some fair but competitive racing at what is one of the best looking courses in Yorkshire. 
After a couple of nice days racing here it is a change of sport next Sunday as I am off to watch the Para Athletics at the Olympic Stadium which is the third day of the London Anniversary Games the last event before the builders come in to convert it to a Football,Rugby and Athletics event.

I am very much looking forward to it, seeing the heroes of 2012 such as Jonnie Peacock,David Weir,Steff Reid and Hannah Cockroft take to the track to a warm and amazing reception from a full house crowd. 

Until then thank you for reading and hope to keep you entertained. 

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