YORK Racecourse is gearing up for the highlight of its year, with up to 90,000 people expected to attend the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor meeting later this week.

Racecourse spokesman James Brennan has revealed some of the startling statistics surrounding the four-day event, which starts on Wednesday.

He said it would have record prize money of £3.5 million and feature the richest race ever staged at York - the Group One Juddmonte International, the £800,000 showpiece of the opening day.

More than 2,300 people would be employed on the course each day, including 80 chefs, with the majority of jobs filled by people from the York area. Many additional jobs would also be created at businesses across the city to cope with additional demand from racegoers.

"Seafood will be delivered from the Yorkshire coast every morning, including 2,000 crab, joining Dales lamb and 3,000 homemade beefburgers, Hawes cheeses, 6,000 fresh baked fruit scones and locally made diary ice cream on the various menus," he said.

"In celebration of that local food connection, Royal Opera House set designer, Caitlin Jones, will create a sculpture made from fresh food. Past creations have included a horse, jockey and even a bicycle."

Weathermen are currently predicting mostly dry and some sunny weather over the period of the meeting, albeit with temperatures in the low 60s - in stark contrast to the blazing hot weather of meetings in July.

William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course, said: “The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is simply the highlight of our year.

"With the new development, the record investment in prize money, the stellar entries and all the new initiatives and innovations, this year looks set to be a landmark event of top quality racing action as well as a tremendous social and fashion event.

"I very much hope racegoers, punters and viewers will enjoy the feast on offer.”