Racing gathers to pay final respects to stalls man Yarborough
Next week thousands will flock to the Knavesmire at York for four days of top-class racing, but there will be one notable absentee, Stephen Yarborough, the leader of the northern stalls team who was tragically killed in an accident at Haydock Park on July 21.
In a quiet ceremony in the course's Ebor stand on Tuesday, many of his friends, family and former colleagues gathered with other members of the racing fraternity to pay their final respects to the well-respected RaceTech employee who died doing the job he loves.
At a memorial service conducted by humanist minister Steve Emmett, they remembered the life and times of the adopted Yorkshireman.
Emmett said: "Steve was originally from Grimsby, being one of eight children, but being a slight lad after he left school at 17 he was advised to go into racing and got a job working for Peter Easterby at Habton in North Yorkshire and it was there that he met his wife Molly.
"But like many youngsters, he became too heavy to be a jockey but as he was determined to stay in racing he got a job with RaceTech working for the northern stalls team."
Emmett added that Yarborough, who loved his work, also enjoyed playing golf, was an adept darts player, but above all else was a great family man and a devoted grandfather.
Tom Phillips, speaking on behalf of RaceTech, said: "Steve was with us for 30 years and was a dedicated and highly regarded member of the northern stalls team. His death has hit us all hard."
He said racing has been brilliant in getting together to support his family and underlined the key role the handlers play in the safety of horses and their jockeys.
During the ceremony there was a video playing of a few incidents of horses playing up badly in the stalls, which vividly illustrated the bravery of the stalls team in general and of Yarborough in particular.
Dale Gibson, of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: "Steve was a great guy, I knew him well in my riding days. You can go for weeks, even months, without an incident and then suddenly a horse kicks off and as jockeys you are reliant on the expertise of the handlers and Steve was one of the best."
Others to attend the ceremony included Alan Delmonte from the Levy Board, Stephen Atkin of the Racecourse Association, Kevin Darley from the PJA, Jason Callaghan representing the starters, jockey George Chaloner, northern course inspector Chris Dennis and William Derby and Anthea Morshead representing York racecourse.