RIGHT on cue, glorious weather arrived just in time for the start of the 2014 season at York Racecourse.

Almost 10,000 racegoers enjoyed the sunshine on the first day of the Dante Festival yesterday, said course spokesman James Brennan.

He said the figure was up on the first day of the season last year, when temperatures were probably 10 degrees lower.

"It's the first time we have had a sun-kissed first day for a number of years and it's great for the regulars," he said.

Mr Brennan said a lot of racegoers had also made positive comments about the re-development of the racecourse's Northern End, which includes a new pre-parade ring, saddling boxes and vets facilities - the first phase in Knavesmire's £5 million project which opened yesterday.

He said the project architect Brendan Phelan and project manager Chris Clayton were at the course for the festival, adding: "Our thanks to everyone on the project and build team including main contractor Lindum of York."

He said the meeting had also seen a series of successes for horses trained in North Yorkshire, including several from stables in the Malton area. These included Aetna, trained by Mick Easterby, which won the second race.

The weather forecast is good for the remainder of the three-day meeting, with temperatures climbing as high as 21C, or 70F, by tomorrow , and a total of between 35,000 and 40,000 racegoers are expected to attend.