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Nicknamed the Garden Racecourse, Ripon is certainly pleasing on the eye when in full bloom though it is not such an attractive sight when the nearby River Ure overflows and floods the track, as occasionally happens.
Close to the north’s major training centres, racing at Ripon dates back to the 1700s but did not arrive at its present site, on Boroughbridge Road until 1900. It is a fairly sharp, undulating left-handed circuit of around 1m5f with a furlong-long chute at the top of the 5f straight which allows for races over 6f, the distance of Ripon’s main race of the year the Great Wilfrid Handicap.
Pepper Lane became the first horse to win this August contest twice when successful in 2012 and it is older sprinters who now dominate with no three-year-old having been first past the post since 1999. The draw can be crucial in sprint races with high numbers having an advantage in small fields but the opposite is often true in maximum fields and especially when the going is soft. A draw in the centre of the track is usually difficult to overcome. On the round course up to a mile, low numbers have the edge and this is not a track on which many come from well off the pace to win.
Ripon’s proximity to the A1 (M) via the B6265 persuades a number of Newmarket trainers to send their maidens and handicappers north and Willie Haggas’ two and three-year-olds often go home with a chunk of the prize money. James Fanshawe’s three-year-olds are always worth a second look as well. The nearest stations are at Harrogate and York but a taxi ride is required from both to get to the course as there is no bespoke bus service on racedays at present.
Saturday 24th September Results
Tuesday 30th August Results
Monday 29th August Results
Tuesday 16th August Results