Duke to give Royal seal of approval as race meeting off to perfect start

Jess Leighton polishes the Yorkshire Cup in preparation for the festival. PIC: Simon Hulme
Jess Leighton polishes the Yorkshire Cup in preparation for the festival. PIC: Simon Hulme
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PRINCE ANDREW is due to join spectators on the Knavesmire today when the summer season of racing at York comes under starter’s orders.

As patron of the racecourse, His Royal Highness will make the trophy presentation following the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. His visit also marks the culmination of a £10m redevelopment which has taken place over the last three winters to enhance, still further, facilities for horses and spectators.

The final phase has seem the conversion of the former Edwardian weighing room into an enchanting spectator facility where racegoers can enjoy freshly made sandwiches and picnic platters washed down with a cup of tea or one of the track’s new range of locally-brewed craft ales.

The three-day Dante meeting, where horses will compete for £1.12m of prize money at this great social gathering, derives its name from the last Yorkshire-trained horse to win the Derby – Flat racing’s most sought after prize. Trained at Middleham, Dante prevailed in 1945 when the race was staged at Newmarket, rather than its traditional Epsom home, because of the war.

Tomorrow’s Betfred Dante Stakes is the centrepiece of the week and has attracted a competitive 12-runner field headed by Midterm, favourite for next month’s Derby, and Kentuckyconnection from the Hambleton yard of Bryan Smart – the Barnsley-born trainer began his career with Jenny Pitman, the first woman to saddle the Grand National winner.

As for today’s main race, all eyes will be on So Mi Dar in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. Owned by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine, the unbeaten filly will hope to be in perfect harmony with her big race jockey Frankie Dettori.

Comment: Page 12; Racing: Page 20.

Castleton Mills in Armley, Leeds, which has undergone a transformation. 
Picture by Simon Hulme

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