CITY council leader Steve Galloway, left, hailed the success of Royal Ascot at York - but hit out at those who had tried to profit from the event.

Coun Galloway said he was grateful to those who had helped produce an event "that the city is proud of" and promised to drive forward the York Pride campaign with "new vigour".

But those who claimed the city could not organise an event the size of Royal Ascot were branded "wrong" and those who "sniped" at organisers were "exposed as short-sighted and lacking in ambition," by Coun Galloway.

He said: "There were some who sought to exploit both residents and visitors though excessive prices. Most have found that people are not as gullible as they had hoped.

"The city of York has witnessed a once in a lifetime event of unparalleled spectacle. Those who attended will cherish memories of the city for the rest of their lives."

Coun Galloway said the city's higher profile would help drive the provision of a new Yorkshire sports stadium in York, state-of-the-art indoor sports and fitness centres, and a premier division entertainments complex at the Barbican.

He also highlighted the York Central site as another area where the city's ambitions would now be fulfilled.

Updated: 10:04 Tuesday, June 21, 2005