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FLAT racing in the north is absolutely thriving. That’s an absolute given due to the winner factories overseen by Richard Fahey, Mark Johnston and David O’Meara. But the days of the north’s dominance of UK horse racing over jumps are long gone. The halcyon days in the late 1970s and 80s where Michael Dickinson, Peter Easterby, Arthur Stephenson and Jimmy Fitzgerald ruled the roost were a joy to behold.

But 2017 saw a revival. One For Arthur’s success in the 2017 Grand National was a huge moment for Scottish racing. Malcolm Jefferson, Brian Ellison, Donald McCain and the upwardly mobile yards of Lucinda Russell, Keith Dalgleish, Iain Jardine and others are beginning to send southern trainers back down the motorway empty handed.

A day at the races is a wonderful thing. And the north has some fabulous racecourses. The nine tracks in Yorkshire all offer something slightly different: the undulations of Ripon, the magic of Thirsk and the beauty of Kelso. There is no other racecourse in the world like quirky Cartmel. And then there is the thriving Scottish racing scene with delightful Perth and others.

Then there are the big guns: the UK horse racing tracks that host graded and group races. Aintree needs no introduction as it stages the world’s greatest steeplechase. There is Haydock, Wetherby and the “Roodee” at Chester. And the jewel in the crown of northern Flat racing, York. If there is a better day out than York, I’ve yet to experience it…

Racing Up North should prove a useful guide to a day out at the races. Browse our comprehensive racecourses section or dip into some racing nostalgiaWe will highlight key horses to follow and feature some of the personalities that make northern racing tick. Hope you enjoy the ride…

Jason Heavey
(Racing journalist, blogger and northerner)

Picture: York racecourse