YORK certainly showed the southerners how - how to be hospitable, how to wear pretty, impractical frocks in weather more suited to January than June, and how to enjoy racing more than frivolity.

Royal Ascot at York is a big success, even if the A64 route caused long waits for those heading for the course.

And the first horse past the post on Tuesday was a northern one - but it didn't count!

Quiz night anoraks should memorise that Imperial Sword, trained by David Barron, was the first horse to cross the line in the opening Coventry Stakes.

Problem was he chucked Seb Sanders on the way to the post and galloped loose before being withdrawn from the contest.

While Lambourn trainer Barry Hills landed the race with Red Clubs, we had the second and third with Pacific Pride (Howard Johnson) and Amadeus Wolf (Kevin Ryan).

We take the impressive French winner of the King's Stand Stakes, Chineur, as almost one of our own.

Mikel Delzangles, who trains at Chantilly, was formerly with Jimmy FitzGerald as assistant and well remembered York when he first went racing here, Sapience winning the Ebor in 1989.

Delzangles trains Chineur for his godmother, the Marquesa de Moratalla, whose colours were most familiar in FitzGerald's day.

The Ascot Stakes later, over two and a half miles and the new stretch of track, saw Mark Johnston's Golden Quest just out-battled by Irish runner Leg Spinner, going down by a head. Richard Fahey's Ski Jump was fourth.

We were hopeful on Wednesday that Patrick Haslam's Kinnaird would do well in the Group 2 Windsor Forest.

She slipped at the start, made up for lost time under Kevin Darley, but faded towards the finish to be seventh of the eight. Her day will yet come.

The Queen Mary, for two-year-olds, saw Mick Easterby's Bow Bridge a good third under Dale Gibson and Karl Burke's previously unbeaten Clare Hills fourth, Darren Williams up.

Ooh Ah Camara was withdrawn by trainer Vicky Haigh from the Queen Mary, dashing her hopes of a Group winner, as the filly, belonging to Willie McKay, was listed in the paper as being trained by his other handler, Richard Guest.

There is reportedly a dispute between Miss Haigh and the owner.

Burke is in flying form and sent out ten winners in a fortnight, two ridden by his young apprentice, Andrew Elliott, son of former jockey and recently-retired trainer Bobby Elliott. The youngster has now ridden five winners.

Stable senior jockey Darren Williams partnered Banba to two wins in the week and lightweight rider Dale Gibson sprang a 20-1 surprise on Orphan at Ripon on Saturday, but those who remembered that this was Burke's one to follow this year had their money down.

Robert Winston had his first four-timer on a card at Catterick this time last week, including one for the Howard Johnson-Graham Wylie team, one of their new large string of two-year-olds.

Johnson has reportedly sold his cattle so that he can concentrate better on the large jumps and Flat mixed team at his County Durham yard.

We expect his Masta Plasta to do well on Ladies Day, as we go to press, as the wily trainer said this is working better than Pacific Pride.

And while David Nicholls - especially at Sandown - Mark Johnston, Tim Easterby and Richard Fahey have all been faring well around the country, Ascot winners still evaded them.

We wish them better luck today and tomorrow - best of them, Elliots World in the King George V today and a fight between Celtic Mill and Somnus (Golden Jubilee, tomorrow), plus Fire Up The Band (Wokingham, tomorrow).


Thursday last week. - Ripon: Banba (trained by Karl Burke, at Wensley; owned by M J Halligan), ridden by Darren Williams; Barcardero (Mark Johnston, Middleham), Kevin Darley; Patxaran (Patrick Haslam, Middleham; David H Morgan), Ms Carol Williams.

Wolverhampton AW: Locombe Hill (Noel Wilson, Upper Helmsley; Mrs N C Wilson), Daniel Tudhope (claiming 5lb); Fullandby (Tim Etherington, Norton; Mrs M Greenwood), D R McCabe.

Friday. - Sandown: Thinculo (David Nicholls, Sessay; Nigel Shields), Adrian Nicholls.

Catterick: Millfield (Howard Johnson, Billy Row; Transcend Bloodstock), Robert Winston; Queens Hand (Alan Swinbank, Melsonby; A Barnes), R Winston; Inter Vision (Allan Dickman, Sandhutton; trainer), M Halford (5); Robinzal (Tim Easterby, Great Habton; H Tweddell), R Winston; Best Port (John Parkes, Upper Helmsley; M Wormald), M Lawson (5).

Wolverhampton AW: Lord Of The East (D Nicholls; The Wayward Lads), P J Benson (7); Rancho Cucamonga (David Barron, Maunby; Hb (homebred by owner or connection), P D Savill), Seb Sanders.

Saturday. - Ripon: Orphan (K Burke; M R Johnson), Dale Gibson; Observatory Star (T Easterby; Mr & Mrs J D Cotton), John Eagan; Good Investment (P Haslam; Dennis Rogers), Andrew Elliott (5).

Hexham NH: Adjawar (John Quinn, Settrington; Mrs M Taylor, Mrs V Stone), Russ Garritty; Bluecoat (Mick Easterby, Sheriff Hutton; Lord Daresbury), Mr Tom Greenall (3).

Leicester ev: Snowed Under (James Bethell, Middleham; Hb, Mrs G Fane), Philip Robinson.

Sunday. - Doncaster: Black Charmer (M Johnston; A D Spence), K Darley; Stage School (M Johnston; Sheikh Mohammed), K Darley; Tax Free (D Nicholls; Ian Hewitson), A Nicholls.

Monday. - Thirsk: Flying Key (Richard Fahey, Musley Bank; trainer), Paul Hanagan; Grandad Bill (T Easterby; Taylor Fry), David Allan; Banba (see above), Darren Williams; Tedstale (Kevin Ryan, Hambleton; Yorkshire Racing Club & Derek Blackhurst), A Mullen (5).

Warwick ev: Platinum Charmer (K Burke; Spigot Lodge Partnership), A Elliott (7); Azuree (David Chapman, Stillington; E Hollinson), George Baker.

Tuesday. - Carlisle: Indigo Heights (Mrs Ann Duffield, Constable Burton; Middleham Park Racing XVI), Paul Fessey; Flash Ram (T Easterby; Les Connolley), Fergal Lynch; Whitethorne (R Fahey; Mrs Doreen M Swinburn), Franny Norton; Passion Fruit (Chris Fairhurst, Middleham; Hb, G H & S Leggott), Joe Fanning.

Wednesday. - Hamilton: Danceinthevalley (A Swinbank; D G Williams), R Winston; Next Flight (Ron Barr, Seamer; Malcolm O'Hair), P P Mathers (3).