It might be December but our thoughts were taken back to summer this afternoon at the "Go Racing in Yorkshire" lunch held at York racecourse. The afternoon was hosted once again, by the ever popular group of on line bookmakers "Skybet" whose profile in horse racing is gaining momentum and credibility by the day. One of the first major bookies to sign up to the ABP agreement they have since reiterated their commitment to horse racing and to working with Horsemen to improve racing as a whole.
It might have taken a lifetime to see racings various professionals working together but finally the time has arrived, and while there is still some way to go there is, nevertheless a very clear willingness between most parties to work as one. I say “most” because not everyone is on board yet but I am sure they will be………...eventually, not least of all because they will be left out in the cold if they don’t.
Today’s lunch celebrated the achievements of Yorkshires professionals and reminded us how lucky we are to have such strong racing links, top class racing, well run and enviable racecourses in the region and a solid racing “family” atmosphere.
Our Jockeys both won awards, we were very proud that our apprentice Rowan Scott won the Yorkshire apprentice title while PJ McDonald who had been stable jockey at Sun Hill for several years and has ridden 72 winners for us, won the Yorkshire Champion jockey. A big “well done” to both of them.
Former jockey and well known journalist and TV presenter Tom O'Ryan was also recognised for his huge contribution to racing in his home county when he was posthumously honoured with the Go Racing In Yorkshire Lifetime in Racing award. Tom was loved, respected and admired by everyone, including the many young jockeys he coached. Sadly Tom died after battling cancer earlier this year and today we were treated to Nick Luck's moving Racing UK tribute to Tom before his widow Wendy and brother Robin collected the award from John Sanderson on behalf of Go Racing In Yorkshire.
Earlier this week I was privileged to have been invited, once again to the “Gimcrack dinner” also held at York. The evening, made famous by the great grey horse “Gimcrack” some 250 years ago has only recently seen woman invited to this prestigious event, it was a great night and surely it can only be a matter of time before the owner of the race is a lady owner, and her speech – whoever she is, will make history.