STAFF at York Racecourse have been busy getting the grounds ready for the Sky Bet Ebor festival to begin tomorrow.

The Sky Bet Ebor Festival is due to commence at the Knavesmire Racecourse tomorrow, running from Wednesday, August 17 to Saturday, August 20, showcasing live racing, fashion, and hospitality.

Pictured are staff members, Milly Woods, who had the all-important role of polishing the Sky Bet Ebor trophy, the honours board and the number cloths.

York Press: York Racecourse staff Milly Woods polished the Sky Bet Ebor trophy Picture: York RacecourseYork Racecourse staff Milly Woods polished the Sky Bet Ebor trophy Picture: York Racecourse

Head Groundsman, Adrian Kay, and Tommy Maloney have been mowing the race track and the lawns, while Mick Clowes has been trimming the hedges.

And on the York Gin catwalk, dog Willy the Whippet has been entertaining the staff with his ‘dog walk’, and helping Raceday clerk, Anthea Leigh.

A spokesperson for York Racecourse said: "Everyone at York Racecourse looks forward to the Ebor Festival nearly as much as the racegoers.

"We can’t wait to welcome the world class horses and the thousands of visitors who enjoy watching them.

"Racing is a key part of the North Yorkshire economy, so these are four very important days.”

York Press: Sky Bet Ebor festival begins at York Racecourse tomorrow Picture: York RacecourseSky Bet Ebor festival begins at York Racecourse tomorrow Picture: York Racecourse

The highlights of the week include the Juddmonte International Stakes tomorrow, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Thursday and Friday respectively and the Sky Bet Ebor race itself on Saturday.

Plus, Ladies' Day, and the farewell of racehorse Stravidarius will take place on the Thursday and Friday respectively

On all four days, racegoers can watch and participate in the York Gin Ebor Fashion Lawn without needing to prebook.

The top cash prize is now up to £6 million - £1.3 million more than last year - and the minimum prize for any race is increased up to £80,000.

York Press: Willy the Whippet staging York Gin "Dogwalk" Picture: York RacecourseWilly the Whippet staging York Gin "Dogwalk" Picture: York Racecourse

However, racegoers travelling from further afield are being warned of the national RMT rail strikes taking place this week, as rail operators are running limited services.

The Racecourse has said that due to the industrial action taking place on two of the race days – the Thursday and the Saturday – racegoers are permitted to leave their vehicles overnight in the car parks, at their own risk, for free of charge, provided they are collected before 11am the next day.

Although, the spokesperson added: “The richest race of the four days is run on Wednesday when there is no strike, so sports fans can make plans to see the world’s highest rated horse, Baaeed, who is entered in the Juddmonte International.

“With Friday also clear of this particular challenge, then an early start to their weekend and a chance to say farewell to the mighty stayer, Stradivarius, has proven popular.”

York Racecourse was voted UK ‘Racecourse of the Year’, from both the Racegoers Club for three years’ running and Racehorse Owners Association.