York Racecourse concluded its 2022 season today after a busy, positive year which witnessed some of the best horses in the world competing over 18 racedays of world-class racing action.

A record investment by the York Race Committee of £10 million (+£2.4m on 2021 and +£1.2m on 2019) was rewarded with a record ever number of runners across the season, at a total of 1,491 equating to an average field size of 12, likely to be among the highest in British flat racing.

A final day crowd of 19,106  (up 3% on 2019) for the last raceday of the season demonstrates the appetite for the combination of top-class sport in world-class facilities, presented by a welcoming team, as racegoers coped with the travel disruption.

Against what is now widely acknowledged as a challenging economic climate for the leisure pound, the total annual attendance of 274,091 represents a 5% decline in gate paying attendance, on a like for like fixture basis on 2019, despite three of the racedays being significantly impacted by rail strikes.

It has been a tremendous year on the track, with some of the very best racehorses and jockeys in the world having competed at York and gone on to further glory elsewhere. At the Dante Festival back in May, Desert Crown, the winner of the feature race went on to become the twelfth colt to win at York and then in the Epsom Derby - Emily Upjohn missed out on the Tattersalls Musidora / Oaks double by the narrowest of margins.  During the Sky Bet Ebor Festival in August there were exceptional winners of our flagship races, whether it was Alpinista winning the Yorkshire Oaks and then the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Kirsten Rausing and the trainer- jockey combination of Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris; or local heroine Highfield Princess landing a Group One sprint double in Yorkshire and Ireland for John Quinn, Jason Hart and owner, John Fairley. Baaeed is the highest rated turf horse in the world and put in a devastating performance in the £1m Group 1 Juddmonte International.  Baaeed, along with Trawlerman and Quickthorn who won Sky Bet Ebor and Weatherbys Hamilton Cup respectively, will carry strong Knavesmire runs into QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday 15th October.

That success for Trawlerman meant that The Sporting Memories Foundation were the winning charity in the Sky Bet Ebor Community Sweepstake, receiving a donation of £20,000 towards delivering social and inclusive physical activities that improve the mental and physical wellbeing of older people in Yorkshire. This initiative, in its second year, strengthens the connection between our most famous race and Yorkshire charities and communities and sees £44,000 donated to charities and community groups all over the County.

In other positive news this year, Macmillan Charity Raceday in June, raised a fantastic sum of £487,677 for Macmillan Cancer Support and other local and racing charities.  It is a tremendous tribute to everyone involved, especially given the challenges of the year.  It remains the biggest charity raceday in Britain and Macmillan’s biggest single fundraising event, having now raised approaching £10 million during the last 52 years.

Showing the variety of its customer offer, York again played host to the biggest racing+music concerts in the sport, with Madness and Sugababes delivering tremendous performances at the July Music Showcase.

Another centrepiece for the course came in June when Racing With Pride raceday was rightly celebrated with a sponsored race in partnership with the European Breeder’s Fund. The York Templars, an inclusive rugby league side were guests of the course as part of a rainbow filled and sun-kissed afternoon.

Racegoer experiences now include the 360-degree selfie camera for those Insta.Moments, as well as trips to the starts, tours of the weighing room, two welcome bands each day and on specified themed racedays, syndicate sales, tribute artists, family attractions and a Countryside Market.

Karl Burke was crowned as the Charles Clinkard York Top Trainer; after a close contest with fellow Yorkshire born trainer William Haggas, the scores at the end of Saturday were 10-8 in favour of Spigot Lodge. A second wonderful perpetual Skeaping bronze will be returning to the mantelpiece of jockey Danny Tudhope after the conclusion of the season long contest to be top rider at York saw him win the Living North-sponsored contest for the fourth time, after 8 victories.

The York team won the Flat Groundstaff of the Year award, head gardener Zac Rafferty helped secure an RHS Yorkshire in Bloom award for his floral displays,  Karen Dunbar a Lifetime in Racing Award from Racing Welfare and finally York has been nominated for three further awards at November’s RCA Showcase.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse said, “The 2022 season has once again been characterised by both the tremendous performances we have witnessed on the track and the unstinting support of racegoers, connections and the wider team.  Despite the undoubted economic challenges and the frustrations of rail disruption, the York Race Committee and I are hugely grateful and appreciative of the wonderful support everyone has shown to York.”. 

“We are delighted that we have been able to return to the strategy of increasing prize money, meaning a record level of £10 million, as well as investing in facilities such as the Champagne Pavilion, County Stand Garden Marquee, Roberto Village Bar and Stableside facilities.

“We very much look forward to racing returning to York on 17 May 2023.”