There are certain UK horse racing events that are known well-known amongst equine enthusiasts worldwide. Most have heard of the Grand National, held annually at the Aintree racecourse in Liverpool. Likewise, the Cheltenham Festival, including the prestigious Gold Cup is globally renowned. Then there’s the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot, both of which attract huge global interest.
Under the Radar
Another showpiece event that has maybe flown under the radar of some horse racing fans outside of the UK is the York Ebor Festival. York racecourse is second only to Ascot in terms of the prize money offered per meeting and the course is visited by over 350,000 racegoers every year. The highlight of the season is the Ebor Festival which has been held since 1843 and features 28 races including three at Group 1 level.
Scene of Some of Racing’s Greatest Moments
York betting activity is amongst the liveliest of the summer with many of the year’s top performers in action. The top-rated horse of all-time, Frankel, won the Juddmonte International Stakes here in 2012, just three years after the legendary Sea the Stars claimed victory in the same race. More recently, jockey Frankie Dettori led the talented filly Enable to victory in the Yorkshire Oaks in 2017 and 2019.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) August 24, 2020
Classic Showdowns Expected in 2021
Some of the big names in the betting markets this year include Derby winner St Marks Basilica and $10m Saudi Cup champion Mishriff who are set to go head-to-head in the Juddmonte International. The two met in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July, where St Marks Basilica came out on top, while Mishriff was edged into third place by Addeybb. St Marks Basilica is -150 favorite, while Mishriff is priced at +300 in the early markets.
🔥 More Group 1 success for @AgaKhanStuds‘ SIYOUNI 🔥
🏇 ST MARK’S BASILICA puts on a dazzling performance to win the Gr.1 Eclipse Stakes @Sandownpark, his 4th consecutive Gr.1 win ❗️
— EBN (@bloodstocknews) July 5, 2021
Also in action will be English and Irish Oaks winner Snowfall who goes in the Yorkshire Oaks, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint champ Golden Pal who will go up against King George Qatar Stakes winner Suesa in a much-anticipated Nunthorpe Stakes showdown. The racing gets underway on Wednesday, August 18 and finishes on Saturday, August 21.
More Than Just a Racecourse
York racecourse is one of the most popular with racegoers and has regularly been voted the UK’s best racing venue over the years. As well as hosting elite-level horse racing, the course also featured as the starting point for the second stage of the 2014 Tour de France cycling race. In 1982, nearly 200,000 people packed into the racecourse to welcome Pope John Paul II. The course has also hosted music concerts since the mid-1980s, the first of which was headlined by English rock band Echo & the Bunnymen in 1984.
With so much horse racing and cultural pedigree, and a reputation for being one of the most welcoming racecourses in the UK, there are plenty of reasons why August’s York Ebor Festival should definitely be on your radar.