The heat is well and truly on, as Beverley holds its penultimate race meeting of the summer this afternoon.
Situated on a hillside above the pretty town of Beverley in East Yorkshire, on historic land known as Beverley Westwood, the course is probably most famous for its sprint, the Beverley Bullet. The listed event takes place at the end of August, and was won this year by Bryan Smart’s Alpha Delphini. But this is a course worth visiting at any time during the summer, especially when the sun is shining.
Racing first took place at the historic town in the mid-1700’s, with a grandstand built in 1767. In the early 1800’s local owner Squire Watts, a resident of Bishop Burton, just three miles from Beverley, became famous for owning a string of St Leger winners. His first success came in 1813, when winning the English Classic with homebred Altisidora. He went on to win the race on four occasions, his final success coming in 1833.
The racecourse gives views of Beverley’s most famous building, the wonderful gothic minster. Work on the current Beverley Minster began in 1220 after fire and partial collapse had accounted for much of the previous structure. It took 200 years to complete the building, with the stunning twin towers inspiring the design of the present Westminster Abbey.
A trip to Beverley races must include a visit, or even a short break at the pretty market town. And with numerous food and music festivals throughout the year, a flutter on the geegeez, can be followed by sampling locally sourced gastro delights and a sing-song into the early hours. I have to admit, that me and Mrs K rarely go racing without a B&B stay-over. The bonus of this great location is of course seaside to the north-east, and wonderful Yorkshire countryside to the north and west.
Anyways, this is not intended to be a ‘mini-break’ article, so back to the racing. With just today and next Tuesday remaining, it’s time to get to Beverley before the long winter recess.
The right-hand essentially galloping oval track has a short stiff finish. The sprinters face one of the toughest five-furlongs in the country, especially with the ground on the soft side. As horses work their way uphill to the finish, racefans get a great view down the track towards the minster and the attractive Yorkshire countryside beyond.
In 2008 the course received £100,000 of investment, and now boasts modern facilities, with a crowd capacity of around 12,000. The usual corporate, conference and hospitality functions are available, with rooms catering for up to 300 people for hire. The newly refurbished and extended Attraction Restaurant serves-up great food along with those terrific views from the first floor of the Premier Enclosure. Prices are modest, and you don’t have to break the bank to treat yourself.
As for the racing itself, you can usually expect Joe Fanning and Mark Johnston to make an impact at Beverley. The yard has been out of luck in the last few days, but he has a couple of interesting contenders today. His juveniles are always worth a second luck, and he runs The Blues Master in the seven-furlong maiden. The colt, by Mastercraftsman, failed to make an impact at Carlisle on debut, though ran well enough for a long way, and was as green as you can get. He’ll have learnt plenty for that experience, and is worth a look this afternoon.
The yard’s second runner has proved disappointing this summer. Owned by Sheikh Hamdan, Welford was running in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes back in July, and today takes in a Class 4 handicap. He showed a little more promise at Chelmsford last time and should prove competitive today.
Sadly, work commitments prevent me from heading north today. Those that do make the trip will not regret it. Beverley’s a cracking venue for a summer’s day at the races.