The York area, we are told, has gained massively from playing host to Royal Ascot 2005. £60 million extra in immediate financial terms, and perhaps a lot more if York manages to learn how to put on big events like this, and do more in the future. Those were probably not the immediate thoughts of most York students however – the glitz of Ascot has to come first in the minds of most. Horses are big money, and as we know, the event attracts big hats and big entrances. Most locals, including students, seemed to get into the spirit of things and many could be seen in Ladbrooks flaunting the remains of their student loans in the hope of hitting the big time.
So that is that. Ascot was great. But why ‘was’? Because York only gets it when the South cannot manage it. But why should Ascot just be a Home Counties affair? This year has shown that the North can cope just as well, if not better, with organising the national event and it created the most wonderful atmosphere in the city.
It’s simply tradition that keeps the heart of Ascot in the South, but whilst there are some good traditions associated with Ascot, like Pimms and weird lampshade-hats, the traditional location is perhaps a little out-dated. The event was not spoiled by re-rooting it to a more Northerly clime this year so why not allow the financial benefits to be spread across the country? York racecourse was not solely designed to host Grad Ball and JCR Christmas meals.
Lets just hope Ascot at York will be tried again – It may just become a tradition.