The totepool Thirsk Hunt Cup moves to Wetherby Racecourse

Thirsk moves key fixture to Wetherby to alleviate Tour de Yorkshire clash

Following the announcement in December that Stage 3 of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire cycling event will be routed directly through the centre of Thirsk on Saturday, May 5, the British Horseracing Authority has agreed to a fixture exchange between Thirsk and Wetherby Racecourses.

The Saturday, May 5 Flat fixture was scheduled at Thirsk, but is now very impractical to stage there due to the Tour de Yorkshire and instead will take place at Wetherby. Conversely the Tuesday, May 8 Flat raceday that was set to be run at Wetherby will be run at Thirsk.

The Saturday programme at Wetherby remains fully sponsored by Totepool and the conditions of the feature race, the Totepool Hunt Cup, a Class 2 handicap over a mile, will be unaffected by the switch.

The 2018 renewal of the Totepool Hunt Cup will also see a significant increase in prize money, with the total value of the contest increasing from last year’s £25,000 to £40,000. The best recent winner of the Totepool Hunt Cup was Godolphin’s Farhh in 2012, who went on to win to G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2013.

Thirsk Racecourse General Manager & Clerk of the Course James Sanderson explained today: “The 2018 Tour de Yorkshire route was announced in December and, to our utter dismay, we immediately spotted that the peloton would be coming directly through Thirsk town centre on an already busy Saturday raceday, thus necessitating the closure of several key roads through peak arrival time to the racecourse.

“The Tour de Yorkshire is a very successful regional event, attended by thousands the length and breadth of its route; it is a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart that was staged in Yorkshire.

“While we obviously wish the organisers every success with their 2018 event overall, it is extremely frustrating that they should wait until December, 2017, to finalise and announce their route, which would have clashed horrendously with our planned raceday.

“Thanks to some much appreciated help from the Wetherby Racecourse team and the BHA, we have now agreed to transfer the scheduled Thirsk fixture on Saturday, May 5, to Wetherby, where it can be accommodated on Yorkshire’s most recently created Flat track, which has already proved to be a big hit with horsemen over the past three years. “The important thing is the Saturday fixture can take place at Wetherby without being disrupted by the Tour de Yorkshire event.

“In turn, the Flat fixture that was originally scheduled at Wetherby on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, will happen at Thirsk.

“Customers who have already booked their tickets for either fixture are being contacted and offered the opportunity to switch their bookings, or to be refunded in full. Annual badge holders at each racecourse will be able to attend both fixtures.

“We believe the swap is in the best interests of all of our customers, including horsemen and their horses, as well as, ironically, the Tour de Yorkshire’s organisers and attendees too.

“We are very grateful for everybody’s support in agreeing to the move.”

Commenting on the fixture switch, Adam Smith, Marketing Manager at Totepool, sponsor of the Saturday programme at Wetherby which features the Totepool Hunt Cup, said: “The Totepool Hunt Cup has long been a feature of the early Flat season in Yorkshire and credit to Thirsk and Wetherby, who have worked quickly for a solution.”

Wetherby Racecourse Chief Executive Jonjo Sanderson added: “Wetherby has been happy to provide assistance to a fellow Yorkshire racecourse to keep the fixture within the county and we are now looking forward to staging the first-ever Saturday Flat raceday at Wetherby.

“All of the information relating to the Saturday, May 5, fixture, and to Wetherby Racecourse itself, including admission prices and hospitality packages, is now available on the Wetherby website .

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