TENS of thousands of people will be heading to York Racecourse over the next two days for the John Smith’s meeting.

On Saturday, the richest ever running of the famous John Smith’s Cup raceday will see £385,000 on offer for the 59th staging of a day that contains the famous handicap itself.

The £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme that now includes the newly upgraded John Smith’s Silver Cup as a Group Three contest worth £65,000 and the Listed John Smith’s City Walls sprint.

The headline contest is the longest continuous commercial sponsorship of a flat race in the country.

James Brennan, of York Racecourse, said: “It’s one of the traditional highlights of our season and will have been in many diaries since Christmas. The weather is set fair and the races look ultra-competitive. We are looking forward to the 59th renewal.”

With the prospect of hotly contested races matched by the forecast, the decision has been taken to relax the dress code in the County Stand Enclosure for both days. Gentlemen can leave their jackets at home, though a collared shirt and tie is still required.

The highlight on the opening day today is the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes.

The £65,000 William Hill Summer Stakes is the feature of today’s seven-race card.

On both days, locally-sourced and home-made food will be available at the racecourse, as well as a number of cask ales.

Catering for broad musical tastes, both days offer the summer vibe of a steel band or Murphy’s Marbles brand of foot-stomping Irish tunes. Saturday also hosts Paradise Lane performing their melodic set of popular covers on the bandstand as the last race crosses the line.

The Giant Screen overlooking the Roberto Lawn will offer uninterrupted coverage of the FIFA World Cup; providing a home to Wimbledon coverage on Friday and earlier on Saturday.