MICK EASTERBY’S old green jacket was handed over to York Racecourse this afternoon.

The jacket, which has been worn by the legendary Sheriff Hutton-based trainer for over half a century, was put up for sale to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

It may no longer be in the best of condition and, as green jackets go, will never have the same kudos as it’s rival in the world of golf - but this ripped and frayed old ‘puffa’ is still a piece of Yorkshire’s racing ‘heritage’, and dates back to Boismoss’ 1967 victory in the Cesarewitch.

“It is very kind of York to pay £500 for this - although I don’t think it is enough!” quipped Easterby. “But, seriously, I never even expected this and it’s all for a good cause.”

Raising money for charity is always the big theme of the annual June meeting and tomorrow brings MacMillan Charity Raceday. With temperatures heading for the high 80s, the course has already announced that ‘no jackets are required’ in the County Stand.

Favourite backers enjoyed a winning start when Tulip Fever, trained by William Haggas, won the Coopers Marquees British EBF Novice Stakes, at a price of 5-2. Jockey Pat Cosgrave needed to work hard to get the filly home in a photo finish with Paul Hanagan on board Sosian.

Big Country was, arguably, the best backed horse of the day and duly obliged in the second race, the Peter ‘Sooty’ Sutton Memorial Stakes. The horse is owned by ‘The Horse Watchers’, a syndicate of four led by Racing UK broadcaster Chris Dixon from Hull.

Dixon dedicated the victory to his late father Brian, saying: “He was going to come today, he was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, he was suffering from cancer and passed away just over two weeks ago. It’s nice for us to have a winner that he was really excited about.”

Big Country, which was ridden by Andrea Atzeni, had won the Rosebery Handicap at Kempton in April.

“Dad would always have told us to sell,” said Dixon. “But, when people tried to buy him after he won the Rosebery, it was one of the few times when he said ‘Don’t sell that one yet!’ We would have been very disappointed if he had not won. Hopefully he will sneak into the John Smiths Cup now and we really believe he will win a big handicap.”

Malton’s John Quinn trained Seaella the winner of the SKF Rous Selling Stakes - the only selling stakes at York this season. So impressive was the victory that owner Bill Hobson had to pay £15,500 to buy the horse back in the post-race auction.

Brian Ellison’s Be Kool was a shock 33-1 winner of the The Jigsaw Sports Branding Stakes. The bay gelding finished fifth out of of ten on his last outing at Pontefract three weeks ago but Malton-based Ellison said: “The hot weather turned him at Pontefract. He lost the plot because he was lathered and ran keen. He was a lot calmer today and has got loads of speed.”

Eartha Kitt showed a clean pair of ‘cha cha heels’ to win the feature race, the EBF Breeders Series Fillies’ Handicap (Class 2), for trainer Tom Dascombe

Theydon Grey, ridden by Georgia Cox, completed a double for trainer Haggas when winning the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Stakes. The final race, the eventmasters.co.uk Apprentice Stakes, was won by 5-2 favourite Opposition ridden by Adam McNamara and trained by Ed Dunlop.