York’s big races saved for weekend meetings

Every flood has its Ararat. By noon yesterday the York executive had conceded that the Knavesmire would not become raceable today or tomorrow, and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) wasted no time in loading precious prizes up the ramps, pretty well two by two. The dove did not take long to return with an olive leaf.

The Juddmonte International Stakes will now be added to the card at Newmarket on Saturday, while a series of other Group races have found sanctuary elsewhere. After three days of starvation, indeed, the betting public will now be offered a bewildering banquet.

Two more Group One prizes, the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, will be contested at Newmarket tomorrow, while the Ebor Handicap – renamed for one year only as the Totesport Newburgh Handicap – goes to Newbury the same afternoon along with the Gimcrack. The Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur will be run at Goodwood on Saturday

Nowadays, happily, the sport is safe to assume that its best races will be salvaged, reliably and resourcefully, from bad weather. It was not ever thus, of course, and certainly the authorities have never previously been obliged to rescue quite so many Flat races.

The loss of all four days of the North's most prestigious Flat meeting will have required the BHA to bang plenty of heads together, in the hope of persuading any obstinate racecourses, broadcasters and sponsors to see the bigger picture. In some cases, inevitably, they will have failed, but they have certainly done their duty to the racing public. Whether the York management can say the same of their own performance this week is another matter. Their interpretation of the weather forecast on the eve of the meeting proved recklessly optimistic, which was always going to invite suspicion in view of the fact that they had insured their projected profits for the meeting.

At least they have recognised that the racing surface itself has become the one hole in York's otherwise watertight credentials as an outstanding venue, with an admirable clerk of the course in William Derby. By a bitter irony, the track was already scheduled to close until the Dante meeting next May, for a £2.5m redevelopment, incorporating extensive new drainage.

Nicholas Wrigley, the course chairman, resented some of the criticisms made yesterday. "We are very sorry for everybody, but I feel especially sorry for William and his team as they have worked incredibly hard," he said.

"It is also very disappointing to hear suggestions about our motives for racing to be abandoned. There is no financial incentive for us to abandon. We are here to race, we want to race, and in the sense that we are a not-for-profit organisation then the whole committee does want to race.

"The decision we had today was if the track was raceable on Thursday and whether it was worth going through the agonies of prolonging it for another day, and the possibility of racing Friday and Saturday. You only have to look at the level of the river and the water table, and the further severe weather warning we have just received for more rain. In life you always have difficult decisions but this one was quite straightforward."

As it happens, with the obvious exception of York's taverns and taxi drivers, many will be very satisfied by the way things have turned out. Chief among these will be trainers, not least Aidan O'Brien, who is understood to be eager to run Duke Of Marmalade on better going in the rescheduled Juddmonte International Stakes. Jim Bolger had meanwhile been reluctant to run New Approach in bad ground following his lay-off.

Punters, too, will know that they have probably been spared a bloodbath. The betting industry was reckoning on a dip in turnover of £100m from the loss of the Ebor meeting. In heavy ground, much of that would have been clear profit.

l Tomorrow's evening meetings at Newcastle and Hamilton are both subject to inspections today at noon and 2.00 respectively.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Lagavulin

(Fontwell 5.25)

NB: Soviet Sceptre

(Stratford 2.30)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project