THOUSANDS of people are expected to visit York Racecourse today, as the 2018 season draws to a close.

The Coral Sprint Trophy rounds off the October finale for the racecourse, and the season has seen huge crowds enjoy - mainly - good weather during the summer’s events, though wind and rain are expected throughout today.

Since 2014, the prize money for the two-day October meetings has almost doubled in value, with all races seeing an increase and the record total on offer now almost £500,000. Today’s feature race - the Coral Sprint Trophy, a competitive sprint handicap - is also worth £100,000.

James Brennan, spokesman for the racecourse, said Friday had been “very blustery”, but surprisingly warm, with similar weather expected today.

He said: “It will have been a good season, perhaps not a record season in terms of attendance because the glory of the England team doing so well in the World Cup meant a complete distraction from people doing anything else. It’s not quite going to break any records but we have had great performances and people enjoyed their time here.”

This season was the first for York Racecourse following a £5 million improvement scheme, which saw the grassed infield area parallel to the final furlong of the track - formerly the Course Enclosure - renamed The Clocktower Enclosure, with new canopies, cover, improved access and turnstiles and facilities for visitors.

In July, the racecourse apologised after extreme rain and wind meant a concert by Sir Tom Jones had to be cancelled at the last minute, with many fans upset that they were only entitled to partial refunds for their tickets.

However, the following day’s Boyzone concert went ahead as planned in glorious sunshine, and August’s four-day Ebor Festival saw more than 82,000 people visit the racecourse as about £5m in prizes were handed out.

As well as next year’s race meetings, the racecourse is already planning other special events for 2019, including hosting a concert from Sir Rod Stewart in June.

The show- which will include the building of a special temporary arena for the star - has already proved popular enough to require 10,000 extra tickets to be made available.