Organisers of Saturday’s Skipton Races are hoping to do its former clerk of the course Tom Bannister proud.
Mr Bannister, who had a great passion for Point to Point, owned his own horses and was course clerk for many years, died in a road accident in June last year.
His role has now been taken on by his former assistant, Jo Foster. His favourite horse, My Old Piano, will be racing for the club set up by his family at Coniston Hotel in his memory.
The event at Heslaker Farm, Carleton, will feature seven races over a three-mile course with 19 huge fences. There will also be plenty of attractions for all, including the chance to place a bet on the races.
Top jockeys from across the north will be riding, including National Ladies’ Point to Point champion Jacqueline Coward and Sally Coates, daughter of David Coates, of Craven Country Ride, Pot Haw Farm.
“The point to point has been running for almost 100 years now and some illustrious names have been engraved on the trophies,” said new clerk of the course Jo. “It is such an amazing tradition and is now more popular than ever.”
And she hoped this year’s event would do Tom Bannister proud.
“The sport was Tom’s absolute passion and he worked incredibly hard on ensuring his point to point was a great success,” she said.
“This year will be especially poignant with his best horse, My Old Piano, running in his colours for the Coniston Racing Club. I just hope we can do him proud.”
The event was originally held at Sawley, before moving to Gisburn, and then for the last 15 years at Heslaker Farm, off the A59 between Skipton and Broughton.
It is a true country event for all the family, with plenty to see, including trade stands, refreshments and a funfair for the children.
Rehabilitated racehorse charity New Beginnings will be there with retired Wetherby specialist Mr McGoldrick to parade at 1pm before the start of racing.
Regular racegoers, and even those less familiar with the sport, will also be able to place a bet on the races.
“We usually get around 4,000 people attending, most of whom come back year after year, as it offers something just a little bit different for the whole family and can get very exciting,” said Jo.
“There is nothing better than cheering home a horse you’ve backed, plenty of people bring a picnic along and as people don’t need to book, everyone can just turn up on the day and get in.”
The first race takes place at 2pm and admission is £20 per car, or £10 per person, with under-12s being admitted free.