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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 15:40 UK

York prepared for return of Ebor

York Racecourse
All four days of last year's Ebor meeting were lost because of flooding

Officials at York racecourse are making the final preparations for the first Ebor Festival meeting in two years.

Last year's four-day event had to be abandoned when record rainfall caused the course to flood.

Clerk of the course, William Derby told BBC Radio York: "It was a desperately disappointing time for everyone.

"We've done a drainage project that's gone really well and we're really looking forward to it. There's even more excitement for next week now."

The drainage work had been planned for two-and-a-half years before last August's rain forced the meeting to be called off.

"It was a desperate disappointment to us, to race-goers, to connections, to horses but we picked ourselves up," Derby added.

"We're always at the mercy of the elements but it certainly puts us in a better position to cope with the deluges we got last year.

It's a great thrill for the City I think. It's like Usain Bolt coming to run in York

York Clerk of the course William Derby

"But it looks a reasonably good forecast for next week. Lets hope it comes to fruition."

Derby said the Ebor is the flagship meeting at York with the cream of the racing world attending.

"The big race during the week is one of the top five rated throughout the world. Last year it was the top-rated race in Britain.

"It's our flagship race, the sporting and the racing world focuses on us and we're looking forward to staging what should be a fabulous four days of racing.

"We've got the highest-rated horse on the planet due to come to York on the Tuesday for our flagship race (the Juddmonte International), the richest race we've ever staged on the racecourse including Royal Ascot at York.

"Sea the Stars, the Irish horse is worth £50 million pounds when he goes to stud.

"He's won our English Derby, he's won group one's galore, he's the best officially-rated horse on the planet.

"It's a great honour and a thrill for us that horses of his quality and of others coming next week come to York.

"It's a great thrill for the City I think. It's like Usain Bolt coming to run in York.

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see also
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
Bad weather cancels race festival
19 Aug 08 |  North Yorkshire
Ebor Festival to last four days
08 May 08 |  Horse Racing

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