THE celebrated John Smith’s Cup returns to York Races this weekend to mark its 60 anniversary.

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who is the royal patron of York Racecourse, will attend this Saturday to toast the event's diamond jubilee.

First won by the horse Fougalle back in 1960, the £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Throughout the afternoon celebrations will continue with a giant flag, fun installations for the selfie generation as well as a display of images of both the race and the wider racing world over those six decades.

Prince Andrew will be laying a time capsule near the Parade Ring, to commemorate the occasion, containing memorabilia from down the years, as well as the raw ingredients of John Smith's brew and samples of the finished product, which will include both Magnet Ale and Johns Smith’s.

Watching from the stands will be previous winning jockeys in the race such as Philip Makin, of 2015 fame, and Jimmy Quinn who rode to success in 1998.

See our gallery of photos from John Smith's meetings over the years.  

Also attending are two local men, Steve Hayes, 69, from Dringhouses and Steven Clovis, 76, from Pocklington who have been to 59 and 58 of the John Smith’s meetings respectively.

Mr Hayes said: “It’s like a local festival.

"It brings in the largest crowds of the year and you see a great mixture of people across the generations, who get together for a great day out.

"It’s enduring, and it’s this sense of continuity - the same week every year - that local people love. People who only go to the races once or twice a year pick this day because it’s so special.”

Mr Clovis added that he had only missed two John Smith’s Cup meetings, one of which was for his wedding to his wife Betty in 1964. “The date of the John Smith’s Cup is a permanent fixture on my calendar.”