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Loads of fun at the races
RACEGOERS headed to the Dante Festival in their thousands to launch the start of the racing season in York.
Despite the relatively chilly temperatures about 10,000 racegoers, a similar number to last year, were in attendance yesterday – many dressing up for the occasion.
Well-known faces in the crowd included Manchester Utd midfielder Paul Scholes and golfer Lee Westwood, the co-owner of Hoof It and Hoofalong.
Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s horse The Fugue, won the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, to the delight of his wife, Madeleine.
James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship at York Racecourse, said: “It’s great for us to be back under way. We have spent six months planning and looking forward to this day.
“It’s a lovely meeting because it’s about looking forward. It’s the time of year the horses are having their first races and people are thinking, if they do well, what they could go on to.
“It is a bit fresh, but then we are in North Yorkshire and at least we are looking forward to it getting warmer.”
Among the more remarkable costumes, was a vegetarian version of the famous Lady Gaga meat dress – a haute couture number commissioned by York Racecourse Hospitality – made completely from Yorkshire produce for the first day of the festival. The dress consisted of asparagus, broad beans, leeks, lettuces, beetroot, red cabbage, carrots and purple sprouting broccoli. Racegoers also watched a carousel-themed show fashion show hosted by McArthurGlen’s York Designer Outlet.
Legendary jockey Bob Champion was among the punters at the racecourse as part of a fundraising challenge to help beat testicular and prostate cancer.
Grand National-winning jockey Mr Champion, 60, is criss-crossing the country in a 10,000-mile marathon and stopped off in York as part of the challenge.
The Duke of York will attend York Races today, which is expected to be attended by about 16,000 people.