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Monday, May 24, 2004


York's meeting on Friday (May 28) is a bonus day on the Knavesmire - a fixture which has been transferred from Catterick to allow for the construction of a new stables yard at the North Yorkshire track. The day has been dubbed 'Reward Friday' because the track has used the additional meeting to recognise the support of its many existing supporters. Parties from local businesses such as neighbours Terry's or CPP will join regular racegoers as they all wind down to the weekend.

The action starts at 2.20 p.m. and four of the afternoon's races are supported by leading sports betting exchange company, sportingoptions.co.uk, including The sportingoptions.co.uk Handicap Stakes over seven furlongs.

The Val Greaves - 'A Lifetime In Racing' Maiden Stakes over one mile and a half, is one of a series of races mainly in the north organised by the charity Racing Welfare and supported by Blue Chip Feeds which recognise and pay tribute to stable and stud staff who have spent most of their lives in the sport of Racing. Val Greaves has worked in racing for over 40 years, the bulk of which (some 33 years) has been spent at the Maunby Thirsk yard of trainer, David Barron, latterly as assistant trainer. She achieved a piece of racing history when she became the first lady rider to beat male professional jockeys over Jumps when she won on the David Barron-trained Silver Gal at Hexham in 1976. Val is the mother of the U.K.'s most successful lady jockey, Alex Greaves, who also created her own special niche in the sport when dead-heating to win on Ya Malak (trained by her husband David Nicholls) in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 1997. The other horse in the dead-heat for first place was Coastal Bluff - trained by David Barron!

David Nicholls is the link to the other feature race on Friday, The Sarah Lunn Memorial Stakes, a handicap contest for sprinters over six furlongs. Sarah was a key figure in the success of Nicholls' stable at Sessay, near Thirsk, being the trainer's very popular secretary until her untimely death last October at the age of 32. The yard is sure to be well-represented in this race. The popular 'Punters Panel' will preview the runners and riders prior to racing for the winner's podium while a giant screen will provide racegoers with a closer view of the proceedings on the course.

With three winners at the May Festival two weeks ago, the champion jockey, Kieren Fallon leads the way in this season's Top Jockey at York award, sponsored by Budget, the car and van rental specialists, while Newmarket-based Saeed bin Suroor, with a couple of winners, heads the pack vying for the Minster Jaguar Trophy, presented to the leading trainer at York this season.

It promises to be a great way to relax into the Bank Holiday.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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