The Golden Ball Pub in Bishophill, York is free to racegoers

With the Dante Festival currently taking place at York Racecourse, staff at the Golden Ball in Bishophill have decided to restrict entry as part of a trial.

The pub said on social media: “We’re going to be a trial run pub this week with no racegoers.”

“Golden Ball regulars rejoice!

“We feel that the races often discourage our dear regulars from visiting the pub on race days so we wanted to offer you a safe haven.”

“Tell us what you think about it. I look forward to seeing you all. Greetings from all the Golden Ball staff.”

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The hugely popular pub became York’s first community pub ten years ago and is run as a cooperative with almost 200 members.

The Golden Ball was first mentioned as a pub in 1773, so it has a rich history.

It is also known for having the only known example of a bar booth and many original 1930s furnishings.

Author Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor to the pub and many people have moved to the area because of their love of pubs.

York Press: Looking back at when The Golden Ball became a co-opThrowback to when The Golden Ball became a co-op

This year’s Dante Festival, the three-day horse racing event in Knavesmire, started on Wednesday (May 17) and will run until Friday (May 19) with prize money totaling £1.425million.

That’s a nearly six-figure increase from 2022, with each race being worth £25,000 or more.

The festival attracts thousands of people each year from across the region and beyond, many of whom head to the city’s pubs and bars after a day of racing.

Friday’s main race, the Yorkshire Cup, also boasts a record £180,000 in prize money thanks to the help of new sponsor, jewelery brand Boodles.

York Press: The Dante Festival at York RacecourseThe Dante Festival at York Racecourse

Today and tomorrow, racegoers will have the opportunity to meet retired racehorse Remy, better known as Goldream, a two-time Group 1 sprinter for Robert Cowell.

He will be there to represent the York based charity New Beginnings, which cares for horses that have retired from racing.

Also opening in the new racing season is Theakston’s sponsored draft beer pub, The Flying Frankie.

Racegoers will also find the main racegoer restaurant, the York Kitchen and Café – formerly known as the Grandstand and Paddock.

The new name is a nod to the home-made specialty dishes, which include deep-filled Yorkshire puddings.

The County Stand also offers grab-and-go food, and customers can scan a QR code to order drinks at Champagne Lawn.

Before the race begins, racegoers can take behind-the-scenes tours led by former professional jockey and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Robert Earnshaw, who will help explain the sport.

York Racecourse will be supporting Racing Welfare throughout the festival in its Mental Health Awareness Week. The Golden Ball Pub in Bishophill, York is free to racegoers

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