York Racecourse is pleased to announce that it is now the proud owner of the biggest set of starting stalls in Great Britain and the first of its kind in the world.
Capable of housing 22 racehorses at a time, the new unit has recently made the 10,103 mile journey from the Adelaide, South Australia, factory of Steriline Racing, the world’s leading manufacturer.
Set to be based permanently at the Knavesmire, York has recently held the first of several planned test and bedding in sessions; so that horses, riders, starters, and Racetech stalls handlers as well as representatives from the BHA, NTF and PJA could all become familiar with the latest addition.
The six figure investment means that, once properly accredited, York Racecourse will be able to stage races with two extra horses, up to the new maximum of 22.
This is good news for connections wanting to run in some of the country’s most popular races such as the John Smith’s Cup or Sky Bet Ebor, where horses are often balloted out. In the modern era where the number of runners in a race is linked to the funding from levy and media rights, then it is hoped that the additional berths will provide a long term return on the investment, as well as offering even more exciting racing action.
Connections can take confidence that whilst the stalls themselves may be new to Great Britain, the design has successfully been used in Australia where Flemington start the Melbourne Cup from a 25 bay stall. Moreover they will be operated on a raceday by the expert team from Racetech.
Seven horses from Richard Fahey’s Malton yard assisted with the trial; stable jockey and former champion Paul Hanagan among the riders, saying; “From our perspective this trial went very well. The new stalls were really well padded, the gates at the rear are splayed allowing easier entry and the whole structure seemed quieter and sturdier with less rattle. I am very much looking forward to seeing them come into use for racing at York.”
This trial was only the first of a series of planned familiarisation sessions for horsemen. The stalls will be available for trainers, jockeys and racegoers to view at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2018. Then ahead of racing at York on Sunday 9 September trainers interested in sending horses to participate in a barrier trial will be invited to use the stalls. All being well, the plan is to use the 22 bay stalls for the first time for a race at York’s October meeting 2018 ahead of a full roll out in 2019.
Dale Gibson, Professional Jockeys Association Executive Director of Racing said “Having witnessed the stalls trial in July, I was impressed by the added features, both to encourage the loading process, combined with the improved safety for horse and Jockey whilst waiting to jump out, a factor that remains of paramount importance to the PJA” We wish York Racecourse every success with them once in use.”
Andy Peverell, Racing Operations Manager at RaceTech said, “We’ve been very pleased to work with the team at York and Steriline Racing in the process of purchasing and installing the new 22 bay stalls. The RaceTech stalls team were very happy with the trials and are looking forward to using the new equipment .”
Overseeing the trial was York Racecourse Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course , William Derby, who said; “With a set track width this new single 22 bay stall will allow us to increase the number of horses we can start from 20 to 22. We hope that connections, racegoers and punters will all benefit from be able to allow two extra horses to race in famous York contests such as the John Smith’s Cup or Sky Bet Ebor from next year. It has taken a lot of work by a lot of people to develop and build these bespoke stalls which have all the latest safety and technological specifications, so a big thank you to all involved at Steriline Racing, Racetech and the BHA. The barrier trial has been a great first step in seeing them in action as part of our testing and familiarisation and we are appreciative of all the help and support of all involved. We look to forward to seeing them in action at York later in the year. It is certainly an exciting prospect. ”