A WILLOW horse sculpture will take pride of place in the parade ring at Thirsk Racecourse at the track’s opening event of the season.

Whitby artist Emma Stothard, whose clients include the Prince of Wales, has loaned the willow horse sculpture to the course to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse. The opening event, on Saturday (April 12) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Injured Jockeys Fund, with racing starting at 2.15pm.

The racecourse has undergone a programme of refurbishment over the past six months, with a new dine and view restaurant in Premier Enclosure, which has been named after the Thirsk-born founder of Lord’s Cricket Ground, Thomas Lord.

The overhaul has also seen the creation of the Shrimp and Stirrup Seafood Bar, which will offer fresh seafood and chilled champagne from a site between the Parade Ring and the track.

The racecourse has 15 scheduled racedays this year, which include themed events ranging from Irish Day and Champagne Tuesday to two family days, jazz and blues nights and Ladies’ Day.

For details, visit thirskracecourse.net or call 01845-522276.