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MUSIC SHOWCASE WEEKEND

The 80’s icon RICK ASTLEY has been confirmed as the first headliner for the Music Showcase Weekend at York Racecourse, taking to the stage after racing on Saturday 25th July.

His era-defining classic ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ topped charts the world over and catapulted the 80’s icon on a journey that would encompass 8 consecutive UK Top 10 hits and 40 million sales. After stepping aside to focus on his family, he shot back to #1 almost 30 years later with his Platinum-selling album ’50’. Last month, he released his career-spanning compilation ‘The Best of Me’, which also included an independently recorded set of reimagined interpretations of his songs, old and new.

Last year saw Rick complete a gargantuan 38-date stadium tour as special guest to Take That, during which he played to over 500,000 people. Showing his mass appreciation across genres, he also graced the main stage of the legendary Reading Festival this summer, performing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ with one of the worlds biggest rock bands, Foo Fighters.

Selling over 100,000 tickets to his own UK headline shows since releasing ’50’, his forthcoming tour dates include gigs in Australia and Japan as well as his first ever show in New Zealand; before arriving at York Racecourse on 25th July.

James Brennan, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship said, “Everyone at the course is really excited that a northern boy is set to play York, add in the spectacle of the racing itself and we hope it will prove a great value summer day out.”

The early announcement of the combined racing and music event means that those booking now can take advantage of the price freeze on general admission tickets*. To book visit yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk>; admission to the main Grandstand and Paddock enclosure, starts at just £25 per person for a group of six** and racegoers aged 5-17 enjoy a special rate of just £10 (subject to limited availability). As well as free car parking, there are no booking fees.

On the racecourse itself, the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes will be the centerpiece of a seven race card that will precede the concert.

It promises to be a fun filled summer for racing and music fans as both Saturday 27th June and Friday evening 24th July will also see the combination of great racing and live music, details of the music acts for these dates will be announced once they are confirmed, so keep checking the course’s website yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk> .

The tickets for Rick Astley and racing officially go on sale at 8.30am on Friday 22nd November with music and racing fans alike being able to take advantage of some attractive deals by visiting www.yorkracecourse<http://www.yorkracecourse>.co.uk or calling 01904 620911.

LEADING jumps trainer Donald McCain will turn his attention to the Flat on Friday when he sends Navajo Pass to the RaceBets Handicap at York.

The Grand National-winning trainer, whose father Ginger was indelibly associated with the Aintree showpiece through the exploits of three-time victor Red Rum, has experienced plenty of success on the level previously.

Most famously, McCain saddled top dual-purpose performer Overturn to win the Northumberland Plate and Chester Cup in 2010 and 2011 respectively – and Navajo Pass sports the same blue and yellow silks of owner, Tim Leslie.

The son of Nathaniel has run four times to date, breaking his maiden in tenacious fashion at Carlisle in August.

And while McCain acknowledged the stiff competition awaiting his charge in what is the twenty second race of the York season to offer at least a six figure prize, he issued an upbeat bulletin on both his future and well-being.

“He’s grand,” McCain said. “He’s set to go hurdling soon enough, but we thought we’d take a punt here.

“It’s a very competitive race and I don’t really know where we stand with the form – the race from Carlisle has worked out okay, but this is a big step up in grade.

“He was bought for the other job, and he’s been schooling away over hurdles since he was two, but we know he stays and running in a race of this nature will teach him a bit more about life.”

Reflecting on his win at Carlisle, in which Navajo Pass repelled the sustained challenge of the Tom Dascombe-trained Celestial Force by a short-head, McCain added: “He was always going to want further and slower ground.

“The ground looks to be drying out a bit at York, but hopefully it will be just slow enough.”

However, the Cholmondeley-based handler will be handing responsibility for race tactics over to his Gold Cup at Royal Ascot -winning jockey Graham Lee, who was also in the plate when Ginger saddled his fourth Grand National winner – Amberleigh House in 2004.

Asked about his approach to the race from stall one, McCain said: “I’ll leave that to G Lee – he knows a lot more about Flat racing than I do!”

The £100,000 RaceBets Handicap has attracted an 18-strong field, including the William Haggas-trained Hamish.

Carrying the colours of his father Brian, the three-year-old won the Sky Bet Melrose Race to the Ebor Handicap at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival and will be bidding to enhance his career record to three wins from five starts. The yard is already eyeing the £1m Ebor of 2020.

Mark Johnston who is closing in on a record number of winners on the flat in a single year, landed the spoils last year with Elegiac and he is double-handed this time around, courtesy of Mondain and Mister Chiang. Current leading handler at York this season, John Gosden has also entered an interesting duo in El Misk and Koscluszko.

McCain will be able to keep an eye on future competition for Navajo Pass as the national hunt action from Downpatrick will join Newmarket in being shown in the Racing TV zone.

Friday’s seven-race card at York is scheduled to start at 2pm. The curtain comes down on another season on the Knavesmire after Saturday’s seven-race card, which gets underway at 2.05pm.

 

THE Flat Jockeys’ title may have eluded him this year, but there is no doubt that Danny Tudhope has been one of the stars of the 2019 season.

And he is the favourite to secure the Living North-sponsored riding crown at York with the course set to stage its final two-day meeting of the year, this Friday and Saturday (October 11-12).

The Thirsk-based Scot has notched eight winners on the Knavesmire so far – the same number as Frankie Dettori.

But Tudhope has the edge on the Italian pilot, based on the fact he has ridden three more second-place horses.

Another factor in Tudhope’s favour is that Dettori is likely to be in action elsewhere on both days of York’s finale fixture.

On the Friday, at least, Tudhope will be riding close to home. And he has a decent book of rides as he aims to add to his 2017 top-jockey-at-York title.

Tudhope said: “I’ve done it before, so it would be nice to do it again. It’s a good achievement but I need to probably bag another winner because I don’t think I’m going to be there on Saturday. Hopefully I can ride another winner on Friday to secure it. From what I know I’ve got a couple of good rides there.”

Tudhope has ridden almost 150 winners since January 1, smashing his previous best tally (122, set in 2017) for a calendar year.

It has not just been about quantity of victories, either. The 33-year-old enjoyed four winners at Royal Ascot, including one aboard Lord Glitters in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, a horse he has also partnered to Ebor Festival pattern race success in the past.

Tudhope said: “It is my best year by far. Everything has gone great to be honest I’ve got that many memories of this year. It has been very good.”

Tudhope and Upper Helmsley-based trainer, David O’Meara, have become a formidable partnership over the last eight years, while the jockey is retained by Leeds business, Clipper Logistics.

Indeed, it was in the familiar grey silks of Steve Parkin, the founder of Clipper Logistics, that Tudhope booted home the Karl Burke-trained Living In The Past, in the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2019.

With all his successes at York over recent years it’s no wonder Tudhope is a fan of the racecourse.

He said: “It’s one of the best tracks – one of my favourites, obviously. A local track – I’m not far away from there. David likes to target a lot of his horses at York, so obviously I have a number of rides there.

“There’s a good atmosphere and it’s always busy. More importantly it’s a great track to ride around. It’s a very fair track – you can ride your horse to its own strengths. I think most jockeys enjoy riding around there.”

His growing number of admirers will be able to follow all the action from York on Racing TV as Friday’s seven-race card is scheduled to start at 2pm. The curtain comes down on another season on the Knavesmire after Saturday’s seven-race fixture, which gets underway at 2.05pm.

TIM EASTERBY is eying up a late bid to land the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York title for 2019.

The Habton Grange handler has sent out five winners on the Knavesmire so far this season – that puts him three behind Newmarket-based, John Gosden.

But at the racecourse’s concluding two-day fixture this Friday and Saturday (October 11-12) Easterby has made no fewer than 27 entries – albeit several horses are entered in more than one race.

And Easterby said: “Everything that gets in, runs.”

He has five entered in Saturday’s feature, the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy. But three of those have also been handed alternative engagements on the opening day of the meeting.

However, it does look as if Easterby will have a decent hand for the six-furlong race with Staxton and, almost certainly, Hyperfocus set to make the cut for what would be maximum 22-runner field.

Ayr Silver Cup winner, Golden Apollo, was successful over course and distance back in June 2017 and  is rated 93 so may also just get in at the bottom end of the weights. Ayr Bronze Cup winner, Music Society, and Flying Pursuit another with York form, make up the quintet but are rated in the 80s so are more likely to be seen in Friday engagements at York.

Looking at his Coral Sprint Trophy entries, Easterby said: “All are in good form. It’s a matter of what gets in and which gets the best draw.

”Staxton (rated 97) will get in alright. Both he and Golden Apollo handle soft ground. Hyperfocus (rated 94) loves soft ground if he got in.”

One horse that Easterby needn’t worry about in terms of making the cut for a race is Lampang, who is on schedule to contest the six-furlong coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes on Saturday.

The unbeaten son of Dandy Man will move up into Listed company after running away with a novice race at Ripon on 28 September.

Easterby said: “A very good horse, he is. He runs. It’s a natural step up for him.”

And there are no concerns about the soft underfoot conditions for Lampang with Easterby adding: “He didn’t seem to mind the ground at Ripon – it was soft-ish that day.”

Fellow Yorkshire-based trainer, David O’Meara, can also harbour hopes of reining in Gosden in the race to finish as the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York. He has notched six winners at the track in 2019, so is just two adrift with a superior number of second place finishes, should there be a tie.

With over £400,000 in prize money on offer; Friday’s seven-race card is scheduled to start at 2pm. On Saturday the opener is at 2.05pm.

The last chance to enjoy racing action at York in 2019 comes on Friday and Saturday (11 and 12 October). With prize money in excess of £400,000 on offer. Since 2014, the prize money for these two days has almost doubled in value, with all races seeing a boost in that time.

The feature of Friday, a handicap for three year old stayers backed by returning sponsor at York, RaceBets, is amongst the twenty-three races of the York season to have at least a six figure prize pot, offering £100,000. Only in its fifth year, this race is intended to provide an autumn opportunity for the highly rated horses that may well have competed in the Sky Bet Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Last year’s winner, Elegiac, for trainer Mark Johnston, has had a truncated 2019 campaign.

The feature race of the Saturday meeting is also worth £100,000, the Coral Sprint Trophy, an ultra-competitive sprint handicap. Last year’s victor, Major Jumbo, has represented Kevin Ryan’s yard with credit in several Group One sprints this season. Always with the potential for drawing a full field, that would number twenty-two, courtesy of the supersize stalls recently purchased by York.

The Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes, which showcased smart juvenile, Vintage Brut for Malton based, Tim Easterby last season, once again offers £50,000.

The ITV cameras will be at the track for both days, covering two races on Friday, including the £25,000 RaceBets Money Back 2nd 3rd 4th Stakes Handicap over a mile.

Friday will see the seventh staging of ‘Countryside Raceday’ with its biggest ever Countryside Market.

Looking to combine the delights of the rural life with the excitement of a raceday, the ‘Countryside Raceday’ on Friday will mean seven races being complemented by rural activity and products; including a sheepdog display. For those wishing to start their Christmas shopping early, there is a Countryside Market of local produce and crafts.

Friday’s card begins at 2pm and blends competitive handicaps with contests to develop the two year olds, as well as honing the talents of apprentice jockeys. Regular race sponsors on this day include TSG (this year in partnership with Brewin Dolphin), the IT provider that supports the racecourse team. Regulars at York and visitors to the city will recognize The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Cloisters Spa at Escrick who return in support of a race on this day. The European Breeders’ Fund continue their backing of York with support of the contest for maiden two-year-olds that acknowledges their links to the Racing to School organisation. Completing a day of returning sponsors are Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and The Elevator Company.

Saturday’s quality seven race programme begins at 2.05pm with the first of six races backed by Coral, a brand that first supported this day back in 1979. The last day of the season will mark the relationship with the Coldstream Guards Cup, courtesy of a middle-distance handicap that will bring the curtain down on 2019.

The meeting will also see the conclusion of the season long contests to be top jockey and trainer at York. In the Living North-sponsored jockeys’ race, northern based Danny Tudhope has continued his fine form at York and sits ahead of a chasing of Frankie Dettori , albeit on countback, as they both sit on eight winners.

The leaderboard of the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York is headed by John Gosden in eight, with the Malton based, David O’Meara and Fellow Newmarket handler, William Haggas, on his heels, both just two behind.

Racegoers will be able to enjoy the Chris Brown quartet or an upbeat style of Superlicks.

A specially created Racing TV zone will cover both racing on the Knavesmire and the major contests from Newmarket. The Punters’ Panel will offer tips before racing on each day.

There’s fun for all at the annual Press Family Sunday at York Racecourse (Sunday 8 September), including valuable prize money for a seven-race thoroughbred card worth approaching £150,000.

The feature race, the Listed LNER supporting CALM Garrowby Stakes alone, backed by locally based train operator, LNER, in support of their charity partner, offers £50,000.

Back by popular demand to the day is children’s favourite, Chase, from the hit show, Paw Patrol, who will make appearances at intervals throughout the day on the Knavesmire.

The only Sunday of the season sees the return of the Finals as young riders take part in the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series.

It is a full day out for both the novice and regular racegoer and those under 18 years of age will be admitted free of charge into all enclosures, though the under 16s will need to be accompanied. Continuing from the previous years is the popular offer of a single admission combining both the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure with the improved Clocktower Enclosure for just £13. This will enable racegoers bringing a traditional picnic into the Clocktower Enclosure to enjoy their lunch and then take advantage of the special ‘picnic hamper cloakroom’ and then cross over the track to see the horses close up in the Parade Ring and sample the facilities on the stands side.

Also, for this special family meeting, the County Stand dress code is relaxed, with smart casual being the advice.

The action on the track begins at 12.50p.m. with a couple of races, the respective Conditions Finals in the 2019 Charles Owen Pony Racing Series, showcasing the talents of the next generation of riders.

Racing under rules starts at 1.50pm with the long term partners, Coopers Marquees backing a competitive looking handicap. At the close of play, the advertising agency used by the course, SHA & Carat, back an apprentice contest that forms part of the “Future Stars” Series created by Go Racing in Yorkshire.

In between, the card also remembers a regular York racegoer as the family and friends of Judith Marshall, continue to give their support to a race that carries her name.

Sprinters take part in the afternoon’s richest race, LNER supporting CALM Garrowby Stakes, this is the eighth running of this Listed race run over six furlongs, won last year by Limato for Henry Candy’s yard. Stayers have their opportunity in The Little Green Rascals Children’s Nurseries Stakes (a handicap contest over two miles), which sees the leading local nursery group continue on the roster of York supporter on the most appropriate of days. The sporting action also includes a chance for those whose specialism is the middle distance as Hanson Springs return to support the race run over the mile and a quarter trip.

The ongoing support of the European Breeders’ Fund is recognised in a pair of contests, part of their generous twenty-two race backing of the action at York of the season.

The final contest for the upcoming jockeys is part of the ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire’ Future Stars Apprentice Series – now in its seventh year – which culminates in a Final at Doncaster in November. Coming into this race, two time winner, Kieran Schofield, leads by three points from Harry Russell, but with the legs at York and Catterick plus the Final itself still to go, there are still enough races for the situation to change.

The Racing Interactive Zone will offer the chance to ride a virtual racehorse, to try on racing silks, question our experts and enter a colouring competition. Meanwhile, the retired racehorses are former stars of the track waiting to meet racegoers.

New this year is a range of Giant Inflatables such as the Giraffe Slide and Jungle Run, joining the perennial favourites, the bouncy castles, in the Big Top Entertainment Zone. The energetic can have a go at Zorb football, whilst those wanting a seat can take to the cab of one of the mighty machines from Diggerland.

Proven popular in recent years is Sam’s Safari, the chance to get close nature as well the face painting competition.

Younger racegoers can enjoy a Pony Ride either by using a voucher in the racecard or by paying a small charge. This is the only activity with a “top up charge” this year, after the Racecourse decided to include the other entertainments in the ticket price, bringing their operation more in-house and so not having the outdoor funfair rides this year.

‘Tommo’ – well-known broadcaster, Derek Thompson will share his knowledge of the sport. Listen out for his racing guide and be ready to say hello and see yourself on the big screens as he roams the stands.

Three-course Sunday lunches are being served from noon or you might want to enjoy a fresh sandwich on one of the many lawns; whatever your culinary choice, a great afternoon awaits.

  • York Racecourse voted Racecourse Of The Year by the Racegoers Club, British Racing’s official supporters Club.
  • Official presentation took place on day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

York Racecourse has been crowned Racecourse Of The Year for the third year running by the Racegoers Club, the official supporters Club for British Racing fans.

On Juddmonte International Day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, three of the longest serving members of the York Racecourse team; Karen Dunbar, Alison Storey and Annette Wilks joined track Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, to be presented with a commemorative plaque to celebrate their win in the Racegoers Club Racecourse of the Year Competition.

The award celebrates all aspects of the customer experience and asks Club members to nominate their favourite racecourse with this high benchmark in mind. One Club member said of York, “The staff at York are the most welcoming and helpful on any racecourse. We went to three days of the Ebor Festival and each day was enhanced by the wonderful staff.”

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse, said “The Racegoers Club is a fantastic organisation which represents a membership who are committed followers of the sport with horseracing being both their hobby and passion. To be ranked as number one by some of the most knowledgeable visitors to Britain’s many great racecourses is a real honour.

“To retain the accolade of ‘Racecourse of the Year’ for three consecutive seasons is such a huge tribute to the hard work of so many that make racing at York such a special experience.”

Matthew Jones from the Racegoers Club said “It was an honour to attend day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York racecourse. This is the third year in a row that our members have voted for York to be their champion racecourse, and with the raceday experience that is offered at every fixture it isn’t hard to see why.”

For more information, please contact Matthew Jones—matthew.jones@racecourseassociation.co.uk or 07791 562031

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival will receive a truly international shop window this week with the likes of NBC in the US, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), SuperSport in Africa, TV Poland, and Network 10 in Australia showcasing the week to their audiences.

The four-day fixture, which starts tomorrow (August 21), will offer record prize money of well over £5 million. The racecourse has attracted the highest-rated horse in the world (Crystal Ocean), the highest-rated mare in the world (Enable, below), the highest-rated filly in the world (Magical) and the highest-rated stayer in the world (Stradivarius).

Racecourse Media Group (RMG), the UK-based media rights organisation which produces and distributes top-class horseracing around the world, and York Racecourse, have generated global interest in the fixture.

The racing will receive an excellent shop window in the US, via NBC’s household reach of 80million and TVG’s reach of 40million, while neighbouring Canada can count on coverage from national public broadcaster, CBC, and horseracing channel HPI TV.

Forty-eight countries in Africa will be served by leading broadcaster SuperSport, while South Africa racefans can also watch via Tellytrack.

The eagerly-anticipated participation of the 2017 Japan Cup winner Cheval Grand means The Green Channel, Japan’s hugely popular horse-racing channel, will broadcast live coverage of the action tomorrow. Australia will receive coverage via Network 10’s Ten Play and Sky Thoroughbred Central Channel, with Trackside broadcasting the action in New Zealand.

The Dubai Racing Channel will broadcast the fixture to 17 countries in the MENA region, while Yas TV (Abu Dhabi) will also show live coverage from all four days.

In Europe, broadcasters include TV Poland, Match (Russia), Silknet (Georgia), Equidia (France) and Teleippica (Italy). Extensive domestic coverage will be provided by ITV in the UK, and Virgin Media in Ireland, while Racing TV is the only place to see all 25 races in both countries.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival will offer record prize money of well over £5 million, so looks set to attract the highest rated horse in the world (Crystal Ocean), the highest rated mare in the world (Enable), the highest rated filly in the world (Magical) and the highest rated stayer in the world (Stradivarius) for York’s flagship meeting, over four spectacular days of racing action from Wednesday 21 to Saturday 24 August.

The stellar racing action forms the centre-piece of a festival brimming with award winning hospitality, high summer fashion and all that contributes to the hoped-for fabulous atmosphere of the flagship meeting at Britain’s Racecourse of the Year (as voted  by the Racegoers Club in each of 2016, 2017 & 2018).

The increase in prize money of more than £600,000 is largely focused this year on Sky Bet Ebor Saturday, where the feature contest for four year olds and upwards becomes the richest flat handicap in Europe with prize money of £1,000,000; double that of last year.

York’s ongoing commitment to the sport and its partnership with Sky Bet has also meant that the Sky Bet City of York on Ebor day, will offer a record purse of £225,000 (+25%) reflecting its upgrade to Group Two status. Darling of Yorkshire racing, Laurens, has been entered by Owner John Dance.

Earlier in the week, both the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes will see their prize money rise to £400,000; an increase of £50,000 on 2018. The highest rated mare in the world, Enable, is set to contest the former, with the highest rated sprinters in Europe (Ten Sovereigns & Battaash) contesting the big sprint.

The prize money threshold for all races is £70,000, including the richest Maiden (Friday’s Convivial as backed by the European Breeders’ Fund) as well as the richest nursery handicap, one of a dozen contests to be supported by Sky Bet.

Independently ranked in the top five races in the world last year, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, also has £1 million on offer to the horse seeking to follow such superstars as Frankel or Sea the Stars into the Winner’s Enclosure on the opening day. Star of Mark Johnston’s Middleham stable, Elarqam, has been given a supplementary entry and so is set to take on Crystal Ocean, the Sir Michael Stoute- trained thoroughbred who sits atop the world rankings.

The Sky Bet Lowther on Thursday is at £225,000 the same level as the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack, run this year on Friday, retaining them as Britain’s richest Group 2s for juvenile fillies and colts, respectively.

From sprinters to stayers on Friday, with the richest ever renewal of Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup, offering £225,000 for the best stayer, joining the Group One races as the fourth contest to be part of the Qipco British Champions Series.  A celebration of the best races of the season that culminates at the richest day of racing in this country, Qipco British Champions Day, in October.  The support of Qipco is clear on all four days; with the BCS racemakers in attendance to help guide less experienced visitors around the racecourse and share their knowledge. Once again the Lonsdale is the final leg of the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Bonus with Stradivarius in contention for the £1 million bonus, having won the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Qatar Goodwood Cup.

York Racecourse and its home city are the only European destination amongst the 39 communities spread over six countries that will host the 17th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour. The famous three handled Gold Cup, valued at £100,000, will be on secure display to racegoers on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; alongside the Sky Bet Ebor Trophy. As part of the partnership between the two tracks, the Winning Owners in the Sky Bet Ebor will receive a fabulous trip to Melbourne with exclusive invitations and VIP treatment for the Carnival. A lucky ticket in a Sky Bet supported raffle will see two racegoers travel to Melbourne to experience the race that stops a nation; the unlucky ticket-holders will have played their part in supporting New Beginnings, as all proceeds will go to this local “life after racing” charity.

Continuing the support of good causes, this is the first year of the Sky Bet Ebor Community Fund; an initiative that will award a local charity or community group a £5,000 grant; each good cause will be allocated a runner in the Sky Bet Ebor with the winning horse earning its partner, the cash.

On all four days, stand-side racegoers will be able to watch and participate in the Slingsby Ebor Fashion Lawn by simply registering before 12.30pm. The eye-catching, flower-clad catwalk, set in the picturesque surroundings in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room, will offer a touch of “modern vintage”.  A panel of judges will cast an expert eye over the preparations and attire before them, ready to decide winners on each day. On Thursday, the best dressed racegoer will win a very special prize, courtesy of Al Basti Equiworld, a short break for two people to Dubai including a trip to Meydan Racecourse. There will also be prizes for “Best Hat, Best Dressed Gent, Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Child and Best Dressed Couple” on each day. A rising star of the millinery world, Georgina Durdy, will be on hand to help assess the style and match hats to outfits.

Expect to see a host of world-class jockeys competing for top honours at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.  In a fitting tribute to popular racing journalist who passed away in 2015, the “Ray Gilpin Red Armband” will be worn by the leading rider during the week, with a special prize offered by Sky Bet to the most successful jockey over the twenty-five races.

The global nature of the top quality competition is reflected with the three Group Ones all being part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, and the Juddmonte International and Darley Yorkshire Oaks attracting huge bonuses for the winner to go to race in Japan. The Juddmonte International is the only contest in Europe to be designated as a “win and you’re in contest” for the Breeders Cup Classic. York will welcome representatives of international racing from Japan, Europe, the Middle East and Australia, in a meeting that continues to grow in global profile and reach.

There is horsepower of a different nature on display in the foyer of the Knavesmire Stand with the latest Volvos on show, courtesy of Ray Chapman Motors.

On Ladies Day and the closing day of the four day meeting at 1.20pm, parachute display teams are set to drop in on the Knavesmire with the RAF Falcons on Thursday and the Silver Stars of the Royal Logistics Corps on Ebor Saturday.

The first four races on each of the four days will be broadcast live on ITV1, in addition to every race being covered live on Racing TV and SIS.  GBI Racing will be transmitting the event to over 30 countries around the world. Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani will head the BATFA winning ITV coverage which will feature use of the “Batcam” as well as capturing the fun with fashion experts, Mark Heyes and Charlotte Hawkins. For the first time, the festival will be broadcast live on NBC in the USA as well as on the national broadcasters of both Canada and Poland.

All runners will carry speed sensing equipment from Coursetrack who are working in partnership with Racecourse Media Group (RMG) to continue the development of sectional timings and race data information.  The intention is that the results, once they are processed and validated, will be shared both on course to racegoers via a noticeboard adjacent to the parade ring, as well as via social media @yorkracecourse.

This is only the second ever Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival for the renamed Clocktower Enclosure, the grassed infield area which runs parallel to the final furlong of the track. Retaining its great views back towards the main stands, it benefited from a £5 million improvement scheme in 2018. Main contractor, Lindum York, delivered two large, modern toilet blocks at either end of the grass banking, a row of canopies either side of the famous Clocktower that offer catering and betting facilities as well as some racegoer cover, improved access for pushchairs and wheelchairs plus a refurbishment of the turnstiles. The on the day entrance price for this Enclosure is just £12 with accompanied under 18’s free of charge. It is the first year for the Premier Racing Lounge, a space that offers a special atmosphere and reserved seating on the ground floor of the Melrose Stand, already popular with racegoers, it has sold out for this big week.

Away from the track, a brigade of some 80 chefs, backed by a wider raceday team of over two thousand staff, will provide the welcome, services and treats that come with a major sporting event.  Seafood will be delivered from the Yorkshire coast every morning including 2,000 crabs, joining Dales lamb and 3,000 home-made beef burgers, Hawes cheeses, 6,000 fresh baked fruit scones and locally made dairy ice cream, on the various menus. Extending the White Rose provenance this year will be fresh crustaceans provided by the Yorkshire Lobster Company, from the waters off Scarborough.

Partner Moët et Chandon support the meeting with Mercier champagne priced at £38, Moët et Chandon Brut Imperial NV at £56 and selected bars stocking York’s house champagne at even less.

An additional place to enjoy food and drinks this year is the Garden Pavilion, a pre-booked area that offers exactly what it sounds like, a beautiful garden in the centre of the course to compliment the hospitality and sporting action.

York is proud of its flowers and floral displays growing many of its displays and plants from seed or seedling and last year won a RHS Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award. Very much a signature of 2018, the Ebor Festival this year will offer a new “selfie flower wall” by the Parade Ring for racegoers to show off their fashion and capture the moment on social media. So it is easier to share these images or also send pictures of the ice sculptures and chocolate fountains in the main restaurants, or simply to capture the feel good factor, racegoers will be able to use the free Wi-Fi service installed at the track by local tech firm, York Data Services.

Over the week, those seeking musical entertainment will have their choice, as Yorkshire based jazz and brass bands perform on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn, with Murphy’s Marbles playing their own blend of Irish foot stomping, good time tunes.  Local bands, The Monotones and Paradise Lane, will play to racegoers after the last race into the early evening on each of the four racedays from the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn.

There will be a record number of eight giant screens relaying the action in HD quality, including a screen overlooking the both the Veuve Clicquot & Roberto Lawns. Live action from the Ashes Test Match cricket (Thursday onwards) and Premier League (Saturday lunchtime) will be shown.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, concluded “The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is simply the highlight of our year. With the record investment in prize money, the stellar entries, ongoing investment across the site and all the countless initiatives and innovations, this year looks set to be a landmark event of top quality racing action as well as a tremendous social and fashion event. I very much hope racegoers, punters and viewers will enjoy the feast on offer.”

TATE JUVENILES SET TO CLASH AT YORK

TRAINER James Tate will be doubled-handed in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York on Thursday having supplemented impressive Princess Margaret Stakes winner Under The Stars.

Connections of the Saeed Manana-owned filly paid £15,000 to add their unbeaten juvenile to the Group 2 line-up, which also includes stable companion Nasaiym.

A three-length winner on debut at Ripon, Under The Stars built significantly on that form when landing the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot last month, staying on strongly under PJ McDonald to win with something in hand.

Having pleased Tate in her recent homework, the daughter of Night Of Thunder will now test her credentials in the £225,000 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes – run on Thursday, August 22, the second day of The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

“We supplemented her for the Lowther as this was the logical next step after Ascot,” said the Newmarket-based handler.

“Although she works nicely, she doesn’t overdo herself at home, so we didn’t know how much she had in hand before the Princess Margaret.

“But it was nice to see the improvement she made there and she seems to have come on again. Hopefully she can repeat that form, or even build on it.”

Under The Stars has been strong at the finish in both starts so far, but Tate has no fears about the sharp six furlongs on the Knavesmire.

“She hit the line hard in the Princess Margaret because we waited with her,” Tate added.

“PJ held her up and only asked her for her effort in the last furlong. She was very impressive there.

“She didn’t blow after the race and it didn’t take much out of her. The quicker six furlongs won’t hold any fears and I am very optimistic about her.”

Nasaiym is on an upward curve of her own having beaten a subsequent winner when breaking her maiden at Newbury and Tate has reason to be believe she is capable of further progress

He said: “Nasaiym has always been a filly we’ve liked. She won nicely enough at Newbury, but I thought she won in spite of the soft ground and she did it on class.

“These are lightly-raced horses and we’re still learning about them. While this is obviously a big step up, my gut would be that she could take a significant step forward on better ground.”

A total of 16 fillies remain engaged in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes, while the card also includes the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

The seven-strong line-up for that £400,000 contest is spearheaded by the exceptional Enable, who won this race in 2017 and is unbeaten in her last 11 starts.

Old foe Magical, who finished behind the John Gosden-trained superstar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, has been supplemented by Aidan O’Brien at a cost of £30,000.

The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August 21 until Saturday 24 August  inclusively.

IMPRESSIVE debut winner, Huraiz, is set to have his sights raised in the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York on Wednesday.

The Mark Johnston-trained colt made a striking introduction at Newcastle earlier this month, pulling two and a half lengths clear of his 11 rivals.

A son of Sepoy, the talented juvenile is part of a 16-strong entry to have been received for the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes – one of three Group races to be run on the opening day of The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The £100,000 contest was won by subsequent Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, Phoenix Of Spain, twelve months ago, while Dutch Connection landed the spoils in 2014 prior to finishing placed twice in Group 1 company.

Huraiz has a long way to go before he emulates the exploits of those high-class individuals, but Richard Hills – assistant racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum – issued a positive bulletin on their representative.

“I was quite impressed with him at Newcastle, coming across from a bad draw before winning alright,” Hills said.

“I don’t know how strong the race was and this will be a big step up from a maiden, but he stuck it out good and seven furlongs will definitely suit him.

“Mark has made some Group 1 entries for him – in the Middle Park and the Dewhurst – and his horses are flying at the moment.  If he’s keen to run, I can’t see why we won’t go to York.”

The famous blue and white silks of Sheikh Hamdan are set to be well represented across the four days of The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Huraiz’s stable companion, Elarqam, has been supplemented for the Juddmonte International where he could face up to 11 rivals in the £1 million showpiece.

The potential opposition includes Enable and Crystal Ocean, who finished first and second respectively in a thrilling renewal of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month; although the John Gosden-trained Enable is being targeted at the Darley Yorkshire Oaks – run on the Thursday of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Charlie Hills will saddle Sheikh Hamdan’s Battaash in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday as the brilliant speedster seeks to supplement his electrifying victory in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

On the same afternoon, the Roger Varian-trained Molatham could represent the same owner in The British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes, the richest maiden in the land.

The son of Night Thunder finished a neck second on debut at Ascot and Hills reported: “He’s come on for that run. He’s a nice horse.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival kicks off with The Sky Bet and Symphony Group Handicap Stakes at 1.55pm on Wednesday, while the first-day action also includes the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes.

The £170,000 Group 2, which is a traditional stepping stone to next month’s St Leger – the final Classic of the season – has attracted 11 confirmations.

They include six representatives from Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle stable, headlined by Epsom Derby fourth, Broome.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.

A statue of racing legend, Lester Piggott, will be unveiled at York Racecourse on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Wednesday 21 August.

Though born in Wantage, the Piggott family trace their roots back to the north and the eleven time champion jockey often described York as his favourite track.

It was also a successful venue for the man often known as “the Long Fellow”; with five victories in the Group One Juddmonte International, four in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and seven in the fastest race of the season, the Coolmore Nunthorpe, all forming part of a career total of 4,493 wins.

The life size bronze, by sculptor William Newton, will be set in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room; the base for his rides on great horses such as Dahlia and Rodrigo de Triano.

The statue was commissioned by David and Christopher St George for whose family Piggott rode many top-class horses including dual Gold Cup at Royal Ascot winner Ardross, a fine stayer that also brought two Yorkshire Cups his way.

Racing journalist and broadcaster Brough Scott reported on the many highs of a career that saw winners spread over six decades and has been a key part of the project to see a permanent memory of Piggott on display at nine courses around the country, he said; ”Lester loved York, the crowd understood a good horse and a good ride, generous in their praise and astute in any criticism. Bringing home Jupiter Island as a 9/1 winner of the Ebor went down well in these parts”.

With the man himself due to be in attendance, it will be a pleasant duty for York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, to unveil the statue; he commented, “as well as the many pattern race successes Lester enjoyed here, I have fond memories of the summer of ’69 when he partnered My Swannee to victories in a brace of traditionally competitive Knavesmire Handicaps, including the  Magnet Cup of that year”.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and York Racecourse are to celebrate their close ties with the announcement of a new exciting initiative to further cement their global partnership.

The VRC will provide the winning connections of the £1 million Sky Bet Ebor Handicap with a once-in-a-lifetime experience for two to the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival. The package includes business class flights, accommodation and money-can’t-buy invitations to special events during Cup Week in Melbourne.

Similarly, York will conduct a public raffle throughout the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival to raise funds for local re-training and re-homing racehorse charity New Beginnings, with the star prize being a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to Melbourne to enjoy the thrill of Cup Week racing.

The VRC’s celebrated Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will visit York for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival on 21-24 August as part of the iconic trophy’s annual journey across Australia and the globe.

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott and the Cup will be there to officially mark the new partnership and present the winners with their prizes alongside York Racecourse.

Mrs Elliott said she was delighted to strengthen the VRC’s bond with York Racecourse and the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival are both icons of world racing, and our relationship has always been a strong one,” Mrs Elliott said

“The Ebor Handicap has built a reputation as an important international pathway to the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“Four of the past five Ebor Handicap winners have gone on to run with tremendous credit in the Cup and we hope to see the 2019 winner at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.”

Mrs Elliott also said the experiences on offer were like no other.

“It is hard to describe the atmosphere at Flemington on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.

“I’m delighted that four people will get to experience the magic of Cup Week and I thank York Racecourse Chairman Lord Grimthorpe and York Racecourse Chief Executive William Derby for embracing this global partnership between York and the VRC so enthusiastically.”

Chairman of York Racecourse, Lord Grimthorpe, said, “The Lexus Melbourne Cup and Sky Bet Ebor are both steeped in history and heritage and are central to very special weeks in the global racing calendar.

“For the connections of the winning horse in the Sky Bet Ebor to experience Flemington and Melbourne during Cup Week will provide a memory for a lifetime. Similarly, the lucky winner of the New Beginnings raffle will have an amazing reward for their support of a fantastic local equine charity.

“The links between the VRC and York were already strong, yet this initiative takes the partnership to a new level. I am grateful to Victoria Racing Club Chairman Amanda Elliott and her team at the VRC for all their support and we look forward to welcoming them and the Lexus Melbourne Cup to York for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival next week.”

Champion Trainer John Gosden is looking forward to bringing back to York the outstanding Enable for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday 22 August.

The five-year-old mare, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, has become a racing superstar over the last three seasons, winning 11 races on the trot.

Nine of those successes have been at Group 1 level, including the 2017 renewal of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, which she landed by five lengths from stable-mate, Coronet.

This season has already seen her triumphing in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, followed up by a memorable win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month.

Connections have long outlined that the big target is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which Enable will attempt to win for an unprecedented third straight season.

Newmarket-based Gosden said: “We are pointing at the Yorkshire Oaks – we were keen to stay at a mile and a half, rather than coming back in trip again – and obviously trying to use it as a springboard to the Arc.

“She has had a nice easy time since the King George. She just did a breeze on her own with Frankie (Dettori) on her on Saturday – into a strong headwind, so they just did a nice quiet bit. She’ll pick up again in her work this week, but she is out there enjoying herself, looking well and moving nicely.

“She’s a lovely filly, obviously, and she has done extremely well this year. She really enjoys her training and her racing, which obviously makes the trainer’s job a lot easier. Everyone is interested in her when she is out on the Heath. So we are very lucky to have a filly like that in the stables.

“Obviously it comes with plenty of responsibility but all being well we’ll be there next Thursday with her. She has been to York before. The crowd were thrilled to see her last time she was there when she came after the King George.”

From a raft of other entries in the £400,000 race Gosden expects Enable to be joined in it by Lah Ti Dar with the likes of Coronet, Anapurna and Star Catcher having planned assignments elsewhere.

Lah Ti Dar is proven at York, having won at last year’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in the Listed British EBF and Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes and also at Group Two level in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes in May.

Gosden confirmed: “Lah Ti Dar may well be in the Oaks as well. The owner-breeders are very keen to run her – they’ve been wanting to run her in the race all year, so I’m sure that’s where she’ll probably be going. She is training nicely.”

The following day – Friday 23 August – Stradivarius will seek to win the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup for a second successive year. If he is victorious, the brilliant five-year-old will land the £1million Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers Bonus again; after pulling off a series of big-race successes in the past two years.

So far this season Stradivarius has once more triumphed in the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, the Gold Cup at Royal and, late last month, the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

Gosden said: “He is as cheeky as ever!  He is full of himself, a very happy horse. He is training up nicely for the race. Obviously, the Goodwood Cup was not that long ago, so we come into the Lonsdale just trying to keep the freshness in him.

“He probably had tougher races coming through last year – the Gold Cup last year was a formidable race, whereas they probably didn’t go as hard this year. Therefore, for him, it didn’t drain him so much.

“We are looking forward to the race. He did struggle in it last year – no doubt about that. It’s quite a lot of races, but they are spaced well and he has already been to York once this year for the Yorkshire Cup.”

On the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival – Wednesday 21 August – Gosden is planning to send out King Of Comedy in the £1million Juddmonte International Stakes. The Kingman colt finished a narrowly-beaten second in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out and will step up to an extended mile and a quarter for his Knavesmire appointment

Gosden said: “We feel that is his trip. Since Royal Ascot this has been the plan.”

On the same card, the Clarehaven  Stables based string is set to be represented by the unbeaten Logician in the Group Three Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes. The son of Frankel is three from three to date, running away with a Newbury handicap on his last start.

Gosden said: “We are planning at this moment to run Logician in the Voltigeur. Obviously it’s a considerable move up in class, but he has been going nicely at home.”

Such high-profile runners bring about scrutiny and pressure. But Gosden has a measured viewpoint on the situation.

He said: “It’s a whole lot tougher if you don’t have horses of the quality to compete at a meeting like York. If you have something that can compete there that is, funny enough, less pressure than not finding a horse that can compete there. That’s tough to live with if you’re a trainer and I think that’s something that people forget.”

So Gosden will enjoy next week when he steps onto the Knavesmire to saddle up some of his powerful yard’s stars.

He said: “We feel York is a phenomenal racecourse and the Ebor meeting is a real stand-out in the year. And I always say the Yorkshire crowd are definitely the most knowledgeable and the most passionate of race-goers. So it’s very fulfilling if you can find horses good enough to run in these races.”

The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.

Champion Trainer John Gosden is looking forward to bringing back to York the outstanding Enable for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday 22 August.

The five-year-old mare, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, has become a racing superstar over the last three seasons, winning 11 races on the trot.

Nine of those successes have been at Group 1 level, including the 2017 renewal of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, which she landed by five lengths from stable-mate, Coronet.

This season has already seen her triumphing in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, followed up by a memorable win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month.

Connections have long outlined that the big target is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which Enable will attempt to win for an unprecedented third straight season.

Newmarket-based Gosden said: “We are pointing at the Yorkshire Oaks – we were keen to stay at a mile and a half, rather than coming back in trip again – and obviously trying to use it as a springboard to the Arc.

“She has had a nice easy time since the King George. She just did a breeze on her own with Frankie (Dettori) on her on Saturday – into a strong headwind, so they just did a nice quiet bit. She’ll pick up again in her work this week, but she is out there enjoying herself, looking well and moving nicely.

“She’s a lovely filly, obviously, and she has done extremely well this year. She really enjoys her training and her racing, which obviously makes the trainer’s job a lot easier. Everyone is interested in her when she is out on the Heath. So we are very lucky to have a filly like that in the stables.

“Obviously it comes with plenty of responsibility but all being well we’ll be there next Thursday with her. She has been to York before. The crowd were thrilled to see her last time she was there when she came after the King George.”

From a raft of other entries in the £400,000 race Gosden expects Enable to be joined in it by Lah Ti Dar with the likes of Coronet, Anapurna and Star Catcher having planned assignments elsewhere.

Lah Ti Dar is proven at York, having won at last year’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in the Listed British EBF and Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes and also at Group Two level in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes in May.

Gosden confirmed: “Lah Ti Dar may well be in the Oaks as well. The owner-breeders are very keen to run her – they’ve been wanting to run her in the race all year, so I’m sure that’s where she’ll probably be going. She is training nicely.”

The following day – Friday 23 August – Stradivarius will seek to win the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup for a second successive year. If he is victorious, the brilliant five-year-old will land the £1million Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers Bonus again; after pulling off a series of big-race successes in the past two years.

So far this season Stradivarius has once more triumphed in the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, the Gold Cup at Royal and, late last month, the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

Gosden said: “He is as cheeky as ever!  He is full of himself, a very happy horse. He is training up nicely for the race. Obviously, the Goodwood Cup was not that long ago, so we come into the Lonsdale just trying to keep the freshness in him.

“He probably had tougher races coming through last year – the Gold Cup last year was a formidable race, whereas they probably didn’t go as hard this year. Therefore, for him, it didn’t drain him so much.

“We are looking forward to the race. He did struggle in it last year – no doubt about that. It’s quite a lot of races, but they are spaced well and he has already been to York once this year for the Yorkshire Cup.”

On the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival – Wednesday 21 August – Gosden is planning to send out King Of Comedy in the £1million Juddmonte International Stakes. The Kingman colt finished a narrowly-beaten second in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out and will step up to an extended mile and a quarter for his Knavesmire appointment

Gosden said: “We feel that is his trip. Since Royal Ascot this has been the plan.”

On the same card, the Clarehaven  Stables based string is set to be represented by the unbeaten Logician in the Group Three Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes. The son of Frankel is three from three to date, running away with a Newbury handicap on his last start.

Gosden said: “We are planning at this moment to run Logician in the Voltigeur. Obviously it’s a considerable move up in class, but he has been going nicely at home.”

Such high-profile runners bring about scrutiny and pressure. But Gosden has a measured viewpoint on the situation.

He said: “It’s a whole lot tougher if you don’t have horses of the quality to compete at a meeting like York. If you have something that can compete there that is, funny enough, less pressure than not finding a horse that can compete there. That’s tough to live with if you’re a trainer and I think that’s something that people forget.”

So Gosden will enjoy next week when he steps onto the Knavesmire to saddle up some of his powerful yard’s stars.

He said: “We feel York is a phenomenal racecourse and the Ebor meeting is a real stand-out in the year. And I always say the Yorkshire crowd are definitely the most knowledgeable and the most passionate of race-goers. So it’s very fulfilling if you can find horses good enough to run in these races.”

The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.

BATTAASH will spearhead a strong team for trainer Charlie Hills at The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, which gets underway on Wednesday 21 August at York.

Battaash is currently the bookies’ favourite for August 23’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes after winning the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood for the third straight year.

In 2017 and 2018 Sheikh Hamdan’s five-year-old speedster followed up by running in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, finishing fourth on both occasions.

But Lambourn-based Hills is hoping it’s third time lucky in Battaash’s quest to land the Group 1 sprint on the Knavesmire.

Hills said: “Battaash has come out of Goodwood very well. He didn’t lose much weight there and is actually heavier now than what he was before, so that’s good news.

“We were quite conscious not to try and give him such a hard race at Goodwood this year. Maybe try and have him a bit fresher for York.

“So we are happy with him. He is back doing routine canter work at the moment. We’ll do that for another week and then we’ll just give him a couple of pieces of faster work leading up to the race.”

Battaash may have yet to win at York but Hills remains positive about the gelding’s future prospects at the course.

He added: “I would have thought a track like that should really suit him. For whatever reason so far it hasn’t. But at the same time he hasn’t run bad races. Anyway, we’ll give it another go.”

Battaash may well be joined by stable-mate Garrus in the £400,000 five-furlong contest. The four-year-old, owned by Paul and Susan Roy, won in Listed company at York’s Dante Festival and has since run second and third in respective Group 3 and Group 2 assignments.

Hills said: “I know from speaking to the owners of Garrus, they are quite keen to run him there. He has obviously won at York before. There is a Group 3 in France as well for him though, so we’ll have to decide nearer the time for that one. I think he’s done really well – he has grown a bit actually. He’ll be a lovely horse next year as well.”

In Dutch Connection (2014) and Phoenix Of Spain (2018) Hills has sent out two of the last five winners of the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes and he’ll have a ‘live’ chance with his candidate for the latest renewal on Wednesday 21 August in the shape of Persuasion.

He impressed with victory on his debut in a seven-furlong maiden at Glorious Goodwood and the Group 3 at York should prove informative for connections as they plan for the future of the Acclamation colt.

Hills said: “He is a very professional horse – he has got a great mind. And the Acomb looks the perfect race for him.”

Hills has a clutch of talented two-year-olds to run over the four days of the meeting. Flippa The Strippa will contest either the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes or the Sky Bet Nursery, while Royal Commando is under consideration for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes

Hills said: “We’re probably going to run Royal Commando in the Gimcrack. He got a very unlucky run at Goodwood last week.”

In the same Goodwood race Hills charge Fleeting Prince was another to endure a less than straightforward passage. Connections are now eying up the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes.

Hills confirmed: “Fleeting Prince is going to run in the sales race. He is a nice horse, has got a bit of a class and I think he’d have a good chance in a race like that.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is always one that Hills looks forward to and he said: “It’s certainly one of the highlights of the season – lots of championship races. And we’ve always enjoyed going up there. It’s always great to try and have winners there.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.

TRAINER Michael Dods is hoping Mabs Cross can go one better than last year in her quest for success in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

The five-year-old mare went down to Alpha Delphini by a nose in the thrilling 2018 renewal of the Group 1 sprint on the Knavesmire.

Mabs Cross went on to land a deserved success at the highest level with victory in the Prix de l’Abbaye last autumn.

And she returned in 2019 with success in a Group 3 at Newmarket and was last seen in public when finishing fourth to Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Dods, based near Darlington, has since freshened up his stable star in readiness for a shot at the £400,000 five-furlong contest at York on Friday 23 August.

He said: “We are happy with Mabs Cross. She is in good form and we’re building the work up ready for having her A1 on the day.

“We just gave her a few easy weeks. The idea was to let her down a bit and then build her back up ready for York.

“The important thing to her is pace in the race. If she’s off the bridle at halfway you know she’ll come on at the end.

“I thought when she ran at Ascot she travelled too strongly throughout the race. But she’ll get a fast pace to aim at, at York.

“Last year, obviously we got pipped on the post but she ran a blinder. That set her up for France. So we’re aiming at going the same route.

“We’re happy where we’re at. We’re at a similar stage to where we were this time last year – we’re very pleased with her at the moment.”

Dods expects to bring a team of horses to the meeting over the four days.

The curtain-raising Sky Bet and Symphony Group Handicap could see him triple-handed with Dakota Gold, Jawwaal and Camacho Chief. The trio recently finished first, third and sixth respectively in the Sky Bet Dash at York.

Two more of Dods’ charges – Troubadour and Que Amoro – won at York last month. Both are pencilled in for return visits to the Knavesmire during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. The progressive Troubadour is ready to tackle the Sky Bet Nursery Handicap on Wednesday; while Que Amoro is being aimed at the closing race of the Festival, the Sky Bet Apprentice Stakes; both contests offer an eye catching £70,000 purse.

Dods confirmed: “We have a few that we intend to run there, all being well and if the ground conditions are what they want.

“We like to run at every York meeting but obviously at this fixture – and the horses seem to excel.

“There is never that many hard luck stories at York – it’s a great track, owners are well looked after, the facilities are fantastic for everybody, the horses, the staff.

“It’s just a fantastic racecourse, extremely well run and we like to have runners there.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.

JOHN QUINN has nominated the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival as the intended target for improving filly, Liberty Beach.

The talented juvenile has been one of the success stories of the season, blitzing her nine rivals in the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown, prior to a taking success in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

The daughter of Cable Bay holds an entry in both the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes and the Prix Morny at Deauville, but Quinn said the former engagement – a £225,000 Group 2 – is the preferred option.

“She’s in the Morny and the Lowther, but I think she’ll run in the Lowther,” Quinn said.

“She’s been absolutely fine since Goodwood. She’s had an easy-ish time since. She cantered lovely on Monday and I couldn’t be happier with her.”

Liberty Beach has yet to race beyond five furlongs, but Quinn remains open minded about the prospect of his charge stepping up in trip by a furlong on the Knavesmire.

The Malton-based handler is also relaxed regarding ground conditions for Liberty Beach, highlighting her versatility in a five-start career that has so far yielded four victories and a fourth-place finish in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“Obviously you never know until you try (six furlongs), but she hits the line hard and we shall see,” he said.

“She’s won on good-to-firm and good ground, while she ran very well on soft ground at Ascot. She’s not ground dependent.”

While Quinn is hopeful Liberty Beach can continue to climb through the ranks, he said a potential supplementary entry for the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes – run on the Friday of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival – had never been under consideration.

“We’ll leave the Nunthorpe until next year!” the trainer added. “She hasn’t done much wrong against some very good horses. Hopefully she can keep going.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival has been a fruitful hunting ground for Quinn before, saddling New Planet to success in the 2010 renewal of the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes, and he reaffirmed the importance of York’s flagship fixture.

Quinn said: “Obviously, everybody would love to have a winner at the Ebor Meeting.”

The Sky Bet Lowther Stakes is scheduled for the second day of The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, which runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.

 

stylish fashion and summer cocktails will be the order of the day as racegoers up the glamour stakes for Flemingate Ladies Day.

The prestigious raceday, presented in partnership with Beverley’s Flemingate centre, returns on Wednesday, August 14, with superb racing, excellent entertainment, mouth-watering hospitality, wonderful prizes and a celebrity guest!

TV’s favourite barman Merlin Griffiths will be mixing up the perfect tipple in bars around the racecourse.

The celebrity bartender, who will be creating cocktails specially designed for a fabulous summer day out at the races, said: “I’m hugely excited to be shaking things up at Beverley Racecourse at their social highlight event of the year, Flemingate Ladies Day.

“We’ve got a couple of great cocktails and a non-alcoholic drink so there should be something for everyone to enjoy. And you never know, I might even have a flutter myself!”

Sophisticated vintage group The Candy Girls will transport racegoers back in time with wartime harmonies by stars of the 1940s, including Glen Miller, The Andrew Sisters and Vera Lynn. The six-piece variety act will entertain the crowds at various points around the racecourse.

Acoustic duo Maple North – Tom Gorringe and Lily Hope – will be performing popular numbers in the Pavilion marquee. The local singer-songwriters’ repertoire includes a foot-tapping mix of soul, Motown and swing.

Kate McKee, Marketing Manager at Beverley Racecourse, said: “Flemingate Ladies Day is Beverley’s social highlight of the summer and we have a really lively, fun day lined up.

“We’re so excited to have celebrity bartender Merlin mixing up cocktails in the racecourse bars. We also have great live music by wartime harmony singers The Candy Girls and local duo Maple North.

“The prizes for our Most Stylish competition are fantastic and I’m sure racegoers will have a really exciting and enjoyable day out!”

Popular Viking FM presenters Alex and Ellie will play the biggest tunes of the summer throughout the day and will host the Flemingate Most Stylish competition, sponsored by Humberside Airport.

Winner of the coveted Most Stylish Lady title will enjoy a weekend for two to the Christmas Markets of Cologne. The prize will include a private flight experience from Humberside Airport and two nights’ accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.

The winner of the Most Stylish Gent will claim a stylish watch donated by Beverley jeweller Guest & Philips, worth more than £500.

Attracting a bumper crowd of 12,000 visitors, Flemingate Ladies Day is the best-attended meeting in Beverley’s busy calendar and is a day not to be missed.

With racegoers making a big effort to look their very best for the occasion, Flemingate Ladies Day brings an added touch of glamour to the racecourse’s unbeatable combination of socialising, sport and first-class hospitality.

All tickets for the Premier Enclosure are sold out but there are still some tickets available for the Grandstand, Paddock and Course Enclosure, so racegoers are being urged to book to ensure they don’t miss out on a very special day on the Westwood.

 

Gates for Flemingate Ladies Day will open at 11am, with the first race at 2pm and last race at 5.05pm. For more information, or to book tickets, visit www.beverley-racecourse.co.uk/event/flemingate-ladies-day or call 01482 867488.

Japan Cup winner, Cheval Grand, is being prepared for a tilt at the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York, a fortnight today.

Trained in Japan by Yasuo Tomomichi, the seven-year-old has been a top-tier performer for a number of seasons, winning the 2017 Japan Cup, prior to finishing fourth behind fellow international star Almond Eye, in the latest renewal at Tokyo in November.

Cheval Grand has subsequently embarked on an international campaign, running second behind Old Persian in the Dubai Sheema Classic before his arrival at Abington Place Stables in Newmarket, where he is housed alongside last week’s Nassau Stakes winner and compatriot, Deirdre.

Cheval Grand made his first British outing in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, finishing sixth behind the all-conquering Enable, but his chance of a stronger finish seems to have been scuppered by late rainfall.

“Cheval Grand is in very good form. He’s training towards York and we’re trying to get him better than last time,” said assistant trainer Yusuke Oe.

“The ground was too soft for him in the King George. It was very unfortunate that it kept raining from the night before until the afternoon of the race and it was too slippy for him. He is a horse who prefers firm ground.”

Despite the inclement weather, Oe said Cheval Grand’s preparation had gone smoothly since his Ascot outing.

Riding arrangements have yet to be finalised for the son of Heart’s Cry, who was partnered by Oisin Murphy at Ascot.

“He will have another few gallops before York. He was fit in the King George, but he was beaten by two very brilliant horses in Enable and Crystal Ocean,” Oe added.

While Cheval Grand will be making his first outing at York in the £1 million showpiece, Oe himself has already gained experience of the Knavesmire having made his maiden trip to the track in July.

He said: “Last month, I visited York myself to see the racecourse and meet with the Clerk of the Course, William Derby. It felt like a racecourse with a good atmosphere.”

Cheval Grand is part of a 21 strong entry that remain engaged in the Juddmonte International – the feature contest on the Wednesday afternoon of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Included among the potential opposition are the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean, who finished a gallant second in the King George, and John Gosden’s St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up, King Of Comedy.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday, August 21 until Saturday, August 24 inclusively.

TALENTED apprentice Megan Nicholls will be looking to maintain her unbeaten record in the eventmasters.co.uk<http://eventmasters.co.uk> Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap at York on Friday.

Nicholls, who is apprenticed to her father, 11-time champion National Hunt Trainer Paul, won the inaugural renewal of the race last year when guiding the Richard Fahey-trained, International Man, to a one-length success.

Nicholls has since had her claim reduced to 3lb, which she will put to good use aboard the Simon Crisford-trained, Chance. Her mount goes in search of a hat-trick having posted convincing victories at Chepstow and Nottingham, on his last two starts.

“He’s two from two since going handicapping and he’s a horse who has taken a bit of time to relax,” Nicholls said.

“He used to run very keen, but the penny seems to be dropping and he looks progressive. He’s up to a mark of 81, but he’s going in the right direction and if he relaxes again, he’s open to more improvement.”

Nicholls also believes this test will suit the upwardly mobile three-year-old, who will face a slight step up in trip and is versatile regarding underfoot conditions.

“I imagine it will be beautiful ground, but if it did end up with a bit more cut, he should handle it being a son of Lope De Vega,” Nicholls added.

“I can’t imagine it will be too much of a problem either way. I also think he’s a horse who will get further in time.”

Nicholls will be partnering Chance for the first time on the track tomorrow, but she has experience of the three-year-old having sat on him at Crisford’s Newmarket base.

Indeed, Nicholls has been a familiar figure on work mornings at Kremlin House Stables this summer.

“Some weeks I ride out for Simon two or three days, others I can’t get in – Simon has been very good and he leaves it to me,” Nicholls said.

“I link it with my rides and so far it has worked out quite nicely. I very much enjoy going in and riding out and sitting on some nice horses – it’s great to be part of the team and to be getting a couple of chances. Long may it continue.”

Regarding Chance, Nicholls added: “I’ve ridden him at home and he seems very well in himself. I’m looking forward to sitting on him on the track.”

Chance is one of ten runners set to line up in the eventmasters.co.uk<http://eventmasters.co.uk> Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap, which kicks off York’s six-race card at 6pm on the only evening of the Knavesmire season.

The £50,000 feature contest, is the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes, which has attracted a field of eight fillies and mares.

They include William Haggas’ Frankellina, who finished placed in the Tattersalls Musidora over course and distance then sixth in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. Also entered is Encapsulation, who made a highly-promising debut for Andrew Balding when running on strongly to grab second in Listed company at Sandown, suggesting this extended mile and a quarter will suit her well. Both face the unbeaten charge of James Fanshawe, Kirstenbosch, who is the market leader despite  her step up in class.

The action continues on Saturday with a high-class seven-race card, spearheaded by the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes.

York’s two-day Music Showcase weekend on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon (July 26 & 27), supported by Sky Bet, combines Pattern race quality action on the track and live performances on the music stage, so it is no surprise that each event has a track record of being the best attended meeting of its type, in the country.

Given the forecast for a sunny week ahead, racegoers in County Stand are being advised that a formal jacket is not required, however Gentlemen still need to wear a collared shirt and tie.

An act that has already sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, will perform after racing on Friday evening 26 July, as Tears For Fears will be on stage.

After racing on Saturday 27 July, James Arthur, a northern pop powerhouse, with a string of hits including the Number Ones, “Impossible” & “Say you won’t let go” will perform.

The only evening fixture of the season at York gets underway at 6.00 pm on Friday with gates opening at 4pm.

The highlight of a six race card has prize money of £125,000; is the eleventh running of a Listed race for fillies and mares, the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Stakes. On its own, it offers an impressive prize fund of £50,000 and is one of twenty-two contests on the Knavesmire this year supported by The European Breeders’ Fund. Last year’s race was won by the Juddmonte Farms owned, Desert Diamond, giving Sir Michael Stoute a third success in the race (after Diploma in 2016 and Nouriya in 2010) and a first win for jockey, Oisin Murphy.

Also featured on a Friday evening this year is a handicap contest over five and a half furlongs that demonstrates Sky Bet’s commitment to the sport as they help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Professional Jockeys Association.

Both days form part of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, an initiative that links the eight flat courses in the county, over nine days of fantastic sport. The Leeds based online betting firm have also taken the chance to demonstrate their support for racing in the County by backing this entire week.

Lady riders are in the spotlight in the opening race, The Silks Series Handicap, as this nationwide initiative that focuses on female riders. It gains the support of eventmasters, a leading nationwide supplier of high quality event hospitality at major sporting occasions, including at York.

Whilst a competitive handicap takes the name of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, confirming that the minimum value of any race at York this season is £15,000.

Saturday’s quality seven-race programme means the prize money for the two days will approach £400,000. The action starts at 2-05 p.m. with the entire card sponsored by Sky Bet – the Leeds based firm who are also the sponsors of the first £1m Ebor Handicap at York.

The principal race on Saturday is the fourteenth running of The Sky Bet York Stakes, with prize money of  £120,000; this Group 2 contest is run over the extended one mile and a quarter. Won to emotional scenes last year by Thundering Blue, a first pattern race victory for the star of David Menuisier’s yard who returned to York to take third place in the Group One Juddmonte International. So watch for this year’s champion in the richest race of York’s season, the £1,000,000 Juddmonte International on Wednesday 21 August.

Also featured on Saturday’s strong card is the fastest race of the two days, the Sky Bet Dash. This £50,000 sprint is over six furlongs. Last year’s winner was Flying Pursuit, who defended the race won in 2017 for Malton-based trainer Tim Easterby, though Nathan Evans and Rachel Richardson share the rider credits.

Several giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action from both the track and the stage on both days, as well as following the action from the other big Saturday race meeting at Ascot.

Away from the main stage, there will be music from both Doctor Thirsty and The Monotones. The popular ‘Punter’s Panel’ takes place prior to racing helping racegoers to identify possible winners.

For the best in racing and live music York is the perfect venue.

 

NEWMARKET trainer Simon Crisford is looking forward to running the high-quality Mordin in the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup at York on Saturday.

The consistent five-year-old, who recorded a fourth career success when easily winning on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock, already boasts significant form in heritage handicap company having finished runner-up in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket last season.

Mordin was last seen lining up in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot where he was beaten just over four lengths into tenth, and the son of Invincible Spirit will return to the extended mile and a quarter on the Knavesmire having run midfield in the corresponding race last season.

However, the in-form Crisford – whose fine season was headlined by a first success at the Royal meeting last month – is under no illusions of the task facing Mordin as he goes to post for a red-hot renewal of the £200,000 feature contest.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Crisford said. “It’s such a famous, historic race and it’s one of those races that is so difficult to win because it’s so competitive.

“The horse is approaching the race in good form – he ran in the contest last year – and we’re very pleased with him.”

A maximum field of 22 are set to enter the new larger stalls at York for the 2019 running of the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup – a race first staged in 1960 and one that has often produced a subsequent Group-level winner.

Mordin has been drawn in stall 20 on Saturday and Crisford admits he would have preferred a lower stall.

“He’s got an awkward post position, which doesn’t give us a lot of options being drawn out wide,” the trainer said.

Mordin, rated 106, will be partnered for the first time by apprentice Seamus Cronin, who will claim a handy 5lb on what is his second ride for the stable; seeking to emulate subsequent Champion Jockey Paul Hanagan who took the contest back in 2002.

“Mordin has reached a very respectable level and he’s obviously a very good horse, but with the rating he has it makes life tough for him in handicaps, but also tough if he steps beyond handicap company,” Crisford added.

“He’s in one of those areas where the racing is particularly competitive and it’s hard for him to be winning, but he deserves to take his chance.

“I was looking for someone to take a bit of weight off his back. Seamus is a very promising young jockey and hopefully the horse can give him a good ride.”

The action begins on Saturday with the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes, a Listed contest run over five furlongs, and the ten-strong field includes veteran speedster Caspian Prince.

Later on the card, Gold Mount – who won the Listed Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes over York’s one mile and six furlong-trip last month – will return to the same course and distance in the Group 3 John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes where a number of contenders for the £1m Sky Bet Ebor itself will be put to the test.

The six-year-old was mooted as a potential Melbourne Cup aspirant following that two and a quarter-length victory and he will face seven rivals as he bids to maintain his unbeaten record for Ian Williams.

The high-class, seven-race card gets underway at 2.05pm.

ARCHER’S DREAM will bid to protect her 100 per cent record when she contests the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes at York on Friday.

The James Fanshawe-trained filly has kept improving since making a winning debut at Doncaster back in April.

She made it three from three when dead-heating in the Listed Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury last month.

Now she is being asked to step up again in class as part of a 17-strong field for Friday’s six-furlong feature on the Knavesmire.

Newmarket-based Fanshawe said: “She has done nothing but progress all season.

“We’re trying to take it step by step. She’s strong and a powerful filly but she’s not the biggest.

“You’re only going to learn on the racecourse how good she really is because at home she never actually shows you a great deal. She’s pretty relaxed about things.

“But saying that, at the two-furlong pole at Salisbury she really did go and quicken up well there, so I think she’s got a good turn of foot. Will that be effective as she goes up in grade? Well, we’ll see.

“At Salisbury she was really tough and probably took it up soon enough – she was in front a long time up the hill. Hopefully at York she can take her time a bit more.”

Whatever happens, Archer’s Dream is proving another success story for Fred Archer Racing who have gone from strength to strength since Fanshawe’s wife Jacko established the partnerships ahead of the 2014 season.

Their chief flag-bearer has been Group 1 hero The Tin Man but Archer’s Dream is just the latest in a series of successful horses to run in the increasingly recognisable dark blue and dark red silks.

Fanshawe added: “Jacko started it off and the first decent horse was The Tin Man but the syndicate had ten winners from 11 horses last year. It’s always difficult to follow that up, but Archer’s Dream has won three and been another good example for Fred Archer Racing – and she didn’t cost a fortune either. We bought her because I trained her dam and she was pretty useful and it’s a good family.”

York’s two-day meeting begins on Friday at 2.05pm with a seven-race card. Saturday’s feature is the renowned John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup, worth £200,000.

ARCHER’S DREAM will bid to protect her 100 per cent record when she contests the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes at York on Friday.

The James Fanshawe-trained filly has kept improving since making a winning debut at Doncaster back in April.

She made it three from three when dead-heating in the Listed Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury last month.

Now she is being asked to step up again in class as part of a 17-strong field for Friday’s six-furlong feature on the Knavesmire.

Newmarket-based Fanshawe said: “She has done nothing but progress all season.

“We’re trying to take it step by step. She’s strong and a powerful filly but she’s not the biggest.

“You’re only going to learn on the racecourse how good she really is because at home she never actually shows you a great deal. She’s pretty relaxed about things.

“But saying that, at the two-furlong pole at Salisbury she really did go and quicken up well there, so I think she’s got a good turn of foot. Will that be effective as she goes up in grade? Well, we’ll see.

“At Salisbury she was really tough and probably took it up soon enough – she was in front a long time up the hill. Hopefully at York she can take her time a bit more.”

Whatever happens, Archer’s Dream is proving another success story for Fred Archer Racing who have gone from strength to strength since Fanshawe’s wife Jacko established the partnerships ahead of the 2014 season.

Their chief flag-bearer has been Group 1 hero The Tin Man but Archer’s Dream is just the latest in a series of successful horses to run in the increasingly recognisable dark blue and dark red silks.

Fanshawe added: “Jacko started it off and the first decent horse was The Tin Man but the syndicate had ten winners from 11 horses last year. It’s always difficult to follow that up, but Archer’s Dream has won three and been another good example for Fred Archer Racing – and she didn’t cost a fortune either. We bought her because I trained her dam and she was pretty useful and it’s a good family.”

York’s two-day meeting begins on Friday at 2.05pm with a seven-race card. Saturday’s feature is the renowned John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup, worth £200,000.

KEVIN FROST holds lofty aspirations for progressive five-year-old Francis Xavier and the Staffordshire-based trainer is looking forward to unleashing his “raging bull” in the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup at York on Saturday.

Purchased from the Tattersalls July Sale during the corresponding week last year, Francis Xavier won his first two outings for Frost, including a smooth success on the Knavesmire in September.

Pitched into Listed company on his seasonal reappearance at Goodwood, the son of High Chaparral finished seventh behind subsequent winner Elarqam, but Frost outlined how his charge had legitimate excuses for that performance.

“I’m hoping he’s better than a handicapper – he didn’t show that at Goodwood, but he came home ill and was all wrong there,” Frost said.

“He’s bouncing now – like a raging bull – and the plan is very much to run at York. I think he’s improved physically this year.”

One of 46 confirmations for the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup, Francis Xavier looks likely to have conditions to suit in the £200,000 feature.

“I think he’ll get a mile and a half, and that’s a trip I would like to try in a few runs time when he’s got the tickle out of his toes, but a strongly-run mile and a quarter will be right up his street,” Frost added.

“I know this is a better contest, but he tanked through the race when he won over course and distance last year.”

Reflecting on his purchase of Francis Xavier, a 22,000 guineas buy having won two of his previous four starts for Hugo Palmer, Frost said the gelding is not be the most straightforward to train, but is one with plenty of ability.

“He’s a horse who came with a bit of a reputation – I think he spent more time galloping loose on the main road in Newmarket than he did on the gallops themselves,” Frost said.  

“We’ve had our moments with him. We treat him differently – he goes out before the main string first thing and he’s happier to get done and dusted that way. But so far he’s been professional on the racecourse for us.”

The John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup was first run in 1960 and the race boasts an illustrious roll of honour, including subsequent Group 1 winners Cezanne and Wigmore Hall.

The contest is one of seven scheduled on a high-class card at York, which also features the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes, run over five furlongs, and the John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes – a one mile and six furlong Group 3.

York’s latest two-day meeting gets underway on Friday, when the afternoon feature will be the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes – a six-furlong contest for fillies and mares.

That £65,000 race has attracted 23 entries and they include sprint star Mabs Cross, who was beaten a nose in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York last season prior to landing the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.

The Royal Patron of York Racecourse, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG will help celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the John Smith’s Cup. The longest running sponsorship in flat racing will mark its 60th running on Saturday 13 July at York Racecourse.

First won by Fougalle back in 1960, the milestone will be noted by a Royal presentation of the unique Wedgewood Trophy, after the completion of the £200,000 contest.

Throughout the afternoon celebrations will continue with a giant flag, fun installations for the selfie generation as well as a display of images of both the race and the wider world over those six decades.

The Duke will lay a time capsule near the Parade Ring, that marks that history and points to the future of the race; containing memorabilia from down the years, as well as the raw ingredients of the brew from its Yorkshire homeland and samples of the finished product, both Magnet Ale and Johns Smith’s.

Watching from the stands will be previous winning jockeys in the race such as Philip Makin (2015) and Jimmy Quinn (1998) as well as successful Yorkshire trainers David Barron, Richard Fahey and Karl Burke who have been proud to land the prize. Regular racegoers at the meeting and members of the brewery staff at Tadcaster will be amongst those who will be introduced to His Royal Highness.

Of course, there will be a special commemorative cake.

On the track the £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme that now includes the recently upgraded John Smith’s Silver Cup as a Group Three contest worth £65,000 and the Listed John Smith’s City Walls sprint..

The opening day on the Friday features a commemorative fly past by RAF Tucano aircraft from nearby Linton-on-Ouse; regular if fleeting visitors to this occasion. There will be a collection for an RAF charity on the ground.

As a racing highlight on Friday is the Group Three William Hill Summer Stakes, offering a black type opportunity to the fastest filly down the six furlong course, as well as marking the provider of SP Betting shop services on the Knavesmire.

One of Europe’s most prestigious and competitive middle-distance heritage handicap contests, the winning owner will join His Royal Highness on the podium on Saturday as he presents the specially-commissioned perpetual Wedgwood challenge trophy as well as a special diamond themed memento

Since Fougalle was the first winner back in 1960, there have been many dramatic moments, with the race becoming a major betting heat of the summer. In 2018, Euchen Glen provided trainer Jim Goldie with a first win in the race, indeed a first win for a thoroughbred stabled in Scotland. It was a big day for jockey Alistair Rawlinson who also landed his first win in the race.

The Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup continues to be a valued title for stayers, last year, the Marco Botti trained Dylan Mouth, recorded his final victory before starting a new career at stud.

The sprinters have their say in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls over five furlongs and the 2016 winner, Marsha, went on to multiple success at Group One level, including the Coolmore Nunthorpe, before going into the record books when she was sold to become a broodmare.

Always one of the big days of the year, this event has become a showcase for ‘Yorkshire’s Finest’, and sees John Smith’s treasuring its Yorkshire roots with a full Yorkshire menu of locally-sourced and home-made food. In addition, there will be a number of cask ales available at the racecourse, thanks to collaboration with fellow Yorkshire brewers, Theakston’s.

The highlight on Friday, The William Hill Summer Stakes, is a Group Three sprint contest over six furlongs for fillies and mares, with a purse of £65,000. Last year’s race was won by Raven’s Lady for Newmarket trainer, Marco Botti; further success at Group Two level in Germany followed and she now races on the American stage.

Friday sees a number of other long-standing supporters of the Knavesmire return with Acturis back in attendance; alongside the accountancy firm responsible for audit matters at the track, Garbutt + Elliott. Once again, it is an “ITM Friday” as the Irish organisation responsible for promoting bloodstock sales from the emerald isle back a five furlong handicap.

The two days of racing get underway with an interesting novice contest over the unusual distance of five and a half furlongs. It is among the twenty-one contests backed by the European Breeders’ Fund.

Catering for broad musical tastes, both days offer the summer vibe of a steel band or the upbeat fun of Doctor Thirsty and after racing, The Monotones.

The Giant Screen overlooking the Roberto Lawn will continue to provide a home to Wimbledon coverage on Friday and earlier on Saturday.

A number of other giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action on both days, along with racing from Newmarket’s July Meeting and Ascot. The popular punters’ panel held prior to racing on the winners’ podium will preview the card on both days.

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The 49th staging of Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse raised a record amount for charity, with over £640,000 and counting.  With people still able to make donations, the aggregate figure since its inception in 1971 is now approaching £9 million.

The long-lasting partnership between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support remains the biggest single fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support as well as being the largest charity raceday in British Racing.

Over 20,000 racegoers enjoyed an action-packed afternoon which saw the £100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint go to Recon Mission, trained by Tony Carroll and ridden by Robert Winston.

The finale to Macmillan Charity Raceday saw a further record as the supporters of the eleven riders in the Ernest Cooper Macmillan Ride of their Lives contributed more than £300,000 to the overall figure raised. On the track, the honours went to Charlotte Atkinson from Ireland riding Instant Attraction, however all participants should feel like winners as they all braved torrential rain to complete the race.

The group of riders included Macmillan Cancer Support President Lady Halifax who went the extra mile, or perhaps that should read ‘the extra mile and a furlong’. One of her many supporters commented “You are crazy – but awesome!”; in truth it is all the supporters of the riders who are the truly awesome ones.

Over 200 Macmillan volunteers helped with the fundraising events across the day with in addition to the support of countless individuals and organisations with fundraising activities of auctions, raffles, fundraising lunch and donations.  Of the near £9m raised, 90% goes to Macmillan Cancer Support to improve the lives of people living with cancer.  The remaining 10% goes to a number of charities such as York Against Cancer, St Leonard’s Hospice, Eye Cancer Moghissi Trust, Racing Welfare and the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:

“On behalf of all our Macmillan nurses, doctors, support workers and cancer experts, I wanted to say a massive thank-you to everyone who made this year’s Macmillan Charity Raceday such a success. Macmillan Cancer Support receives no government funding and relies almost entirely on donations – we simply couldn’t help the growing number of people who need us, without the support and generosity of everyone here today. You will help ensure Macmillan can continue to be there for people living with cancer, from the moment of their diagnosis.”

Sarah Proud, Macmillan Counsellor at York Hospital, explained how the annual York Racecourse fundraiser would help Macmillan:

“Just £140 could pay for a Macmillan grant to help cover a patient’s cancer treatment travel costs. While £204 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for a day, who can help patients and their families by providing essential medical, practical and emotional support. So, it’s thanks to the likes of our fantastic fundraising jockeys, not to mention the countless York racegoers, that Macmillan can help anyone impacted by cancer find their best way through.”

William Derby, York Racecourse Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course commented; “To have raised a record amount at the 49th time of asking is an amazing achievement and a tribute to everyone who has contributed to make this raceday such a wonderful event.  Countless individuals and organisations have been so generous with their time, involvement and support of the day from throughout the racing and Yorkshire community – it is a special day everyone associated with it can be very proud of.”

Lee Cooper, Director at Ernest Cooper Transport sponsor of the Ride of Their Lives race said: “All the riders are doing this for an amazing charity which is close to all of our hearts. Passionate individuals riding for one common goal, raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and Ernest Cooper is proud to be supporting Macmillan and the riders for this year’s running of the incredible Ride of Their Lives.”

Macmillan Charity Raceday is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. The day of professional racing and fundraising has been held annually since 1971.

You can still donate to the riders’ fundraising pages at: www.macmillan.org.uk/charityraceday

Macmillan Charity Raceday will be back to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday 13 June 2020.

MARK JOHNSTON has enjoyed a fine season with his staying types and the Middleham-based trainer looks to hold another strong hand in the Listed feature of Saturday at York, the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup.

Johnston saddled three of the first four home in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown last month, with Dee Ex Bee landing the spoils as Austrian School and Making Miracles finished third and fourth respectively.

Both Austrian School and Making Miracles are set to lock horns again on the Knavesmire, which will be their fourth clash of the season.

The score currently stands at two-one to Austrian School, who put eight and a half lengths on his stable companion in the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh, although Making Miracles comprehensively reversed that form when romping home in the Chester Cup.

Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father, believes the duo will be closely matched in the £50,000 prize this weekend, although he thinks the drop back to one mile and six furlongs will be more in favour of Austrian School.

“I think trip wise, coming back to a mile and six will probably suit Austrian School in particular,” Johnston said.

“I think he has another gear that Making Miracles doesn’t have and maybe just a bit more class and speed – he showed plenty of the latter when he won at Musselburgh.”

Reflecting on his Sandown exploits, Johnston added: “Austrian School has a neck to find with Mekong on that form, but he’s quite versatile regarding ground. I expect him to go well and this is on the way to either the Northumberland Plate or the Curragh Cup at the end of the month.”

A similar programme awaits the strong staying Making Miracles, who had been mooted for a potential tilt at Royal Ascot’s Queen Alexandra Stakes before connections opted to target the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup.

“We know Making Miracles stays very well and he, too, will be going onto the Northumberland Plate,” Johnston added.

“There is some good prize money to be picked up and I hope both of them will be in the shake-up.”

Tomorrow’s £50,000 prize has attracted eight declarations, including Henry II runner-up Mekong, who is trained in Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute, and Raheen House, who will make his first outing for William Haggas.

Later on the card, Kingsley House is set to saddle top weight Blown By Wind in the £100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap.

The son of Invincible Spirit chased home fellow progressive three-year-old Awe in a competitive Newmarket contest last Saturday and Johnston is hopeful his colt can make another step of improvement tomorrow.

“We were very pleased with his run at Newmarket and I think time will tell trying to give 11lb to Awe was a big ask,” Johnston said.

“Unusually for one of ours, I think he’ll still come forward again, even from his second run.

“He had a long time off after getting injured in midsummer last year and I think he went to Leicester first time at about 560 kilos – we wouldn’t send many horses to the races that heavy.

“He’s done really well from two to three and he’s a great big brute of a thing now.”

In respect to the return to six furlongs, Johnston added: “Obviously it was seven furlongs last week and James Doyle was very happy with him at that trip. But he did say afterwards he has enough speed to come back to six.”

A maximum field of 22 runners has been assembled for the Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap, the most valuable prize on Macmillan Charity Raceday. First held in 1971, the annual event has raised over £8 million for the charity.

Saturday’s seven-race card is scheduled to get underway at 1.50pm.

York Racecourse and its home city are delighted at the recent announcement by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) that it will be host to the 17th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

York is the only European destination amongst the 39 communities spread over six countries that will host the $200,000 Gold Trophy.

This year holds special significance for Australia’s most iconic trophy, with the VRC celebrating 100 years of the renowned three-handled design.

As part of the Cup Tour’s overseas expedition, the trophy will attend the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival (August 21-24) as well as visiting some of the famous landmarks in the City.

Speaking at the announcement of the schedule, VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said this year’s Tour will celebrate the appeal of racing and the iconic Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy with more communities than ever before.

“Since the Tour began in 2003, we have delighted in bringing communities together in the shared history and magic of the Melbourne Cup,” Mrs Elliott said.

“This year is especially significant, with 2019 marking the 100th anniversary of the three- handled Melbourne Cup trophy design.”

In response to the news, Chairman of York Racecourse, Lord Grimthorpe said; “We’re extremely honoured and excited to be playing host to the Melbourne Cup. The links between the most famous races at our respective tracks, the Lexus Melbourne Cup and Sky Bet Ebor, grow ever closer and this is a tremendous example of the partnership between the venues”.

Since its beginning, the Tour has travelled more than 600,000 kilometres and visited more than 450 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations. It has provided communities with an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Melbourne Cup and hear the many stories connected with Australia’s greatest horse race.

PAM SLY plans to bring smart speedster Dazzling Dan to York this Saturday for the £100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint.

The Thorney-based trainer hit the headlines in 2006 when she took on the big guns and won, thanks to Speciosa’s heroics in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Now her comparatively small operation has unearthed another talented performer in the shape of Dazzling Dan.

Apart from his debut, the gelding by Dandy Man has not finished out of the first two in five subsequent starts.

Indeed on his last outing – on May 18 – he triumphed in a £50,000 handicap at Newmarket.

And, in terms of the horses she has trained, Sly has no doubt about Dazzling Dan’s level of ability.

She said: “He’d be the best one since Speciosa, wouldn’t he – he definitely is.”

Dazzling Dan is owned by four people, one of whom also had a stake in Speciosa. The lucky man is Dr Tom Davies, but he won’t be at York on Saturday.

Sly said: “He has just retired as a doctor – I think, he’s North London way. And they’re giving him a big party, so he said, ‘I can’t come.’

“I said, ‘Tell them to get on with the party and you come racing!’”

Dazzling Dan was raised in the handicap to 99 after his Newmarket success. As a result he is the second-highest rated horse in this Saturday’s six-furlong showdown on the Knavesmire.

The horse has been ticking over since his victory on the Rowley Mile and worked last morning ahead of his York engagement.

Sly assessed: “He’s absolutely fine. He’s in good form.

“He’s not over big but he’s just a ball of muscle, really. He’s gradually stepping up the whole time, which is good and he’s got a great mind.”

With rather unseasonal weather hitting much of the country Sly wouldn’t want extreme underfoot conditions for Dazzling Dan.

But she added: “When he won at Doncaster as a two-year-old it was on the soft side there.

“We won’t mind if it’s good to soft or on the soft side. I don’t suppose he’d want it heavy.”

The Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint is one of seven races at York’s Macmillan Charity Raceday. The longstanding fixture has raised over £8.5million since its launch in 1971.

York’s latest two-day meeting gets underway on Friday afternoon (1.50pm) with a seven-race card.

PROGRESSIVE four-year-old, Enbihaar, will take the next step up the ladder when she lines up in the William Hill Brontë Cup at York on Saturday.

Trained by John Gosden, who won the inaugural £90,000 contest with Precious Ramotswe, Enbihaar is one of nine declarations received for the most recent Group 3 to join the York programme.

Unraced at two, the daughter of Redoute’s Choice improved across her three outings last season, supplementing her victory in a Kempton novices’ race in September with a close fourth in a competitive Listed contest at Ascot.

Given another winter to mature, Enbihaar produced her best performance to date when accounting for the improving Klassique in a Listed contest at Goodwood on May 4, pulling away to score by a length and three quarters at the line.

Enbihaar, who carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, will tackle one mile and six furlongs for the first time on the Knavesmire and Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to the owner, expects the step up in trip to suit.

“She improved from three to four and I thought she did it really well at Goodwood as she had to make her own running,” Hills said. “Hopefully she’s improved again and this is the next step up.

“We kept her in training as a staying mare. She’s by Redoute’s Choice – she’ll love the ground – and she’s come out of her last race well. She’d have a really good chance.”

On official figures, Enbihaar is rated equal second-highest of the runners in the William Hill Brontë Cup – a perch she shares with the Andrew Balding-trained Maid Up, who finished ninth in the St Leger last campaign.

Roger Varian’s Pilaster is the highest-rated member of the line-up having got the better of Maid Up by a short-head in the Group 2 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood in August, while she finished third in the Listed Further Flight Stakes on her return at Nottingham. This pair both hold entries for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot so are clearly well regarded at home.

Fellow Newmarket handler William Haggas is double handed courtesy of the lightly raced Alexana and Listed winner, Dramatic Queen; while Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston has declared the hat-trick seeking Bayshore Freeway.

Later on the card, a competitive field of 19 speedsters will assemble for the William Hill Leading On Course Bookmaker Sprint Handicap.

They include a brace of representatives for Tim Easterby, spearheaded by recent course and distance winner Copper Knight, while John Quinn’s El Astronaute will return to handicap class following a fine sixth in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at the Dante Festival.

Queensland-based trainer Toby Edmonds certainly gains the plaudits for the longest traveller at the meeting as he prepares to take the wraps off Acqume, a Listed-placed daughter of Sepoy, in the £50,000 contest.

The seven-race card gets underway at 2pm.

Glamour, sophistication and socialising are all synonymous with a day at the races, but it is ramped up when it comes to Ladies Day.

Each of the nine racecourses in Yorkshire will be offering superb prizes for their Best Dressed Lady. The first competition is at Wetherby on Thursday, May 30 and they continue across Yorkshire throughout the summer before the final Ladies Day at Doncaster on Friday, September 13.

These are exciting days when everyone gets the chance to dress to impress and, uniquely in Yorkshire, all nine winners are invited to attend a Grand Final at Doncaster on Saturday, October 26 where they and their guest will be wined and dined in a private box for the day as well as having the chance to be crowned Go Racing In Yorkshire’s Best Dressed Lady 2019.

In addition to the title, the winner will take home a diamond ring worth £2,000 from loveVintageDiamonds.com, a two-night spa break at the Best Western Mount Pleasant Hotel and a £500 clothing voucher from new sponsor, Incognito.

So just what do you wear for Ladies Day? For Malton racehorse trainer Ruth Jefferson, choosing an outfit on a normal race day is fairly standard.

“I had 15 pairs of the same brand of black trousers at the last count,” said Ruth, when asked how she plans what to wear for the races. “Being practical is a must, there’s no point wearing a skirt that’s too tight for me to leg the jockey up!”

However, when it comes to special occasions like Ladies Day, Ruth who took over the training licence from her late father Malcolm, admits she needs a bit of help.

After an invite to Royal Ascot last year was followed up with a social media post along the lines of, “Can I wear trousers to Royal Ascot? Mum says no but I haven’t got a dress,” it was evident a spot of shopping was required!

Like all trainers, Ruth puts the needs of the horses and staff before herself and while she likes to keep an eye on the fashion scene, having the time to follow it up comes way down the ‘to do’ list.

“I need to be smart yet comfortable and able to work. It’s a balance between being able to be hands on with the horses but presentable to the owners and in the racecourse enclosures. I only wear white trousers if we’re running a grey!” Ruth added.

Just what to wear is an age-old problem for female racegoers, but fashion boutique, Incognito can certainly come up with the answer. The business which is now based in Bawtry has been in existence for over 30 years and has a keen racing clientele.

“Doncaster racecourse is just up the road and both my sister and I are regular attendees” said Jackie Reynolds, joint partner.

“We stock collections from very well-known designer brands, plus we are always careful to guide clients as we know that friends will be attending the same social events and don’t want to be wearing the same dress as someone else. Our personal service also helps to mitigate any fashion faux pas!” she added.

The boutique has a range of styles for all tastes and the sisters have an eye for knowing what will suit clients as soon as they walk through the door. With so much variety and expert guidance, finding the perfect outfit for Ladies Day will not be a problem.

Jackie and her sister Bernie took on the challenge of kitting out Ruth in garments that are both practical and stylish and did so with fantastic results.

“I live in jodhpurs and a fleece, so it’s really nice to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I’ve worn things at Incognito that I wouldn’t normally pick up in a shop and I’m pleasantly surprised by the outcome!” said Ruth, who also put herself in the hands of students from the White Rose College of Beauty for her hair and make-up.

“I definitely look younger and must try harder on a daily basis,” she joked when she saw the final result.

However, it wasn’t all about work as Jackie and Bernie prepared a glamorous look for Ruth and her mum Sue in readiness for their annual trip to York’s Ebor meeting in August, when Ladies Day is on Thursday, August 22.

“We’ve always loved going to York,” said Sue, “it’s a fantastic racecourse and it comes at a time when we are less busy at home so can relax and enjoy ourselves among colleagues and friends”.

While the outfits are the main focus of attention it is the accessories that enhance the detail. The winner of the Best Dressed Lady Final will have the perfect accompaniment as she sports a glistening 1920’s vintage ring made of 18 carat white gold from loveVintageDiamonds.com.

The two-stone twist crown is set with oval, cushion-shaped, rose-cut diamonds of the period and the total diamond weight is approximately 0.70 carats with a value of £2,000!

The winner will be able to tie in their trip to Incognito with a two night stay in a Spa Suite at the Best Western Mount Pleasant Hotel, a stay which includes champagne and home-made chocolates produced by the hotel’s own chocolatier on arrival, dinner with wine in the newly-refurbished Brassiere Artisan from the Table D’Hote menu, a full English breakfast on both days as well as a luxury fruit basket and Espa gift bag.

Helen McIlroy, of the Mount Pleasant Hotel said, “Given our proximity to Doncaster Racecourse we regularly have owners and trainers staying with us for the races or the sales and like to offer them some high-end luxury, whether their visit is for pleasure or for work purposes. It’s fitting that we should be able to offer something similar to Go Racing In Yorkshire’s Best Dressed Lady.”

ACQUME is poised to add an international dimension to proceedings at York on Saturday, as the Australian sprinter tries to emulate some illustrious compatriots who have succeeded on the Knavesmire.

The Paul Messara-trained Ortensia produced a devastating turn of foot to land the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in 2012 and Acqume, who is trained in Queensland by Toby Edmonds, is one of 25 entries for the William Hill Leading On Course Bookmaker Sprint Handicap.

The daughter of Sepoy has spent the last two months in Britain as a galloping companion to her stable-mate, Houtzen, who is being prepared for a tilt at Royal Ascot next month.

But Edmonds is set to take the wraps of Acqume this week following a pleasing racecourse gallop at Ascot on Monday.

While the three-time winner holds an alternative engagement over six furlongs on Friday, Trent Edmonds – assistant trainer to his father and the man tasked with overseeing Acqume this week – said an outing over the minimum trip at York was the preferred option.

“We want to run her this week and we’ll have a look at both races, but I think the five-furlong option would be more up her alley first up and we’ll probably kick her off over that trip,” Edmonds said.

Having arrived on these shores at the end of March, Acqume has been stabled at Abington Place in Newmarket and Edmonds reports the mare to have flourished in her new surroundings.

“She took a little while to settle in and she had a few little niggles, but she seems to be through all of that now,” he said.

“The last four or five weeks have been super – she’s thriving.”

Allocated an official rating of 96, Edmonds admits to being unsure of how well handicapped Acqume is ahead of her first start outside of Australia.

However, he is confident conditions at York will suit the mare, who has straight course experience having been beaten just over two lengths in a Listed race at Flemington in November.

“Whatever she does in her first run she’ll improve on, but it’s also a matter of us getting a grasp on the form,” Edmonds added. “I think she’s probably been rated a touch high, but we’ll see where she fits in.

“She didn’t get beaten very far at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day and she handled that well. She’s a big, heavy mare and I don’t think she’s necessarily a firm, firm track horse so the ground in Britain should suit her.”

While Acqume is likely to be a new name for racing fans in this country, plenty of old favourites have also been entered in the £50,000 contest.

They include a trio of representatives for Yorkshire trainer, Tim Easterby, spearheaded by last week’s impressive Knavesmire winner Copper Knight, while David Griffiths has made an entry for the admirable veteran Duke Of Firenze, who has won twice before over this course and distance.

Earlier on the card, the Group 3 William Hill Brontë Cup Fillies’ Stakes will be run for the second time.

John Gosden landed the inaugural renewal of the mile and three-quarter £90,000 contest with Precious Ramotswe and the champion trainer has made two entries this year, including impressive recent Goodwood winner, Enbihaar.

William Haggas may also be double handed courtesy of Alexana and Dramatic Queen, while the Mark Johnston-trained Bayshore Freeway, could try to complete a hat-trick having won handicaps at Bath and Musselburgh earlier this month.

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TOO DARN Hot is ready for his eagerly anticipated seasonal return this Thursday when he’ll contest the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.

Last year’s champion juvenile will face seven rivals in the £165,000 Group 2 race, regarded by many to be the leading Investec Derby trial.

The unbeaten son of Dubawi, owned by Lord Lloyd Webber, has raced up to a mile before, but his fifth career engagement will see him tackling an extended mile and a quarter.

Trainer John Gosden said: “In the case of Too Darn Hot we had to change the programme.

“A few days before the Greenham he came up with a splint issue and he had two weeks of walking.

“So, the Dante became the obvious place to go. And although we are happy with the horse it has been a very tight schedule to get him to this race.

“I’ve no doubt in my mind he will improve for it. Certainly, another ten days to prepare him would have been suitable, but we have no more time to play with now.

“Obviously we see the Dante as the best trial and it looks a very good field – and from the race we will know whether to point towards the Derby or the St James’s Palace.”

Gosden has won three of the last four renewals of the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante and he will also saddle Turgenev alongside stable-mate, Too Darn Hot. Turgenev was third at Epsom in the Blue Riband Trial last month.

Gosden added: “He has improved in himself and he’s there on his own merit, but he is a horse who likes to go at an even pace. He’s a lengthener, not a quickener.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a crawl, looking at the field.”

Amongst a host of notable runners in the line-up is the Aidan O-Brien trained, Japan, who won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his last start – in September. Ballydoyle has swept all before them in this year’s recognised Derby trials but O’Brien has not won the Dante since Cape Blanco triumphed in 2010.

Surfman (Roger Varian) and Line Of Duty (Charlie Appleby) are two further interesting big-race contenders from powerhouse stables.

The Group 2 contest on Thursday’s card for fillies and mares is the Al Basti Equiworld Middleton Stakes. Again, the spotlight in this £125,000 contest, will fall on a Gosden contender as Lah Ti Dar makes her seasonal bow.

A year older than her full brother Too Darn Hot, she has previous course experience having won the Sir Henry Cecil EBF Galtres Stakes last August, before finishing second in the St Leger.

Gosden said: “We’ve been pleased with Lah Ti Dar. This has been planned for some time.

“So, you might say this has been Plan A – with her brother it has not been Plan A!

“She’s happy in herself. It is a good starting point for any filly and we’re looking forward to running her.

“The Middleton is a lovely race, placed well in the calendar.”

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 15 – Friday 17 May inclusive.

ENTITLE will seek to enhance her Investec Oaks credentials when she lines up in the £100,000 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York tomorrow.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s filly is sure to be the focus of understandable attention in the race preliminaries as she is a half-sister to the outstanding Enable, winner of the last two renewals of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Like her elder sibling, Entitle is trained by John Gosden. So far she has raced just twice, the second of those bringing a one-length victory in a novice stakes at Lingfield.

The Tattersalls Musidora Stakes will be a much stiffer challenge as she progresses into Group 3 class. She will face nine rivals over an extended mile and a quarter on the Knavesmire.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid, said: “It’s only Entitle’s third race and so she is still very much a work in progress. But she has always been a very likeable filly.

“Obviously this will be a big step up for her, but she has been in good form – John has been pleased with her. I think this will be an interesting assignment for her.”

Prince Khalid will also be represented in the same race by Sand Share. Unlike Entitle she doesn’t hold an entry for Epsom but does have more experience in Pattern class. She was third, two lengths behind the winner, in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last September before finishing fourth – albeit beaten by just a length and a quarter – in a Group 3 in Deauville late last autumn.

Lord Grimthorpe assessed: “I thought Sand Share ran a decent race in the May Hill. Then in France she wasn’t beaten very far but we slightly expected a little bit better.

“She has taken a while to come to hand – a month ago she was quite wintery. But she has been moving forward and (the Musidora) will tell us where we ought to be. Sand Share isn’t in the Oaks. I would think she’s probably more a mile-and-a-quarter filly at this stage.”

On the same card Prince Khalid will also have two runners in the Sky Bet Race to the Ebor Jorvik Handicap. First Eleven, from the stable of champion trainer John Gosden, and the Hugo Palmer-trained, Collide, will contest the mile-and-a-half race, offering both a £50,000 purse and a berth in the handicap feature of York’s season, the £1m, Sky Bet Ebor itself. First Eleven will be having his first start since tackling a Group 3 at Ascot last October, while Collide comes into the race off the back of an all-weather triumph at Kempton last month.

Lord Grimthorpe assessed: “Collide has been a very progressive horse. He did well to get up and win at Kempton after a little bit of a battle in the straight. He showed that he was back on course. He wouldn’t want it too firm.

“First Eleven is starting out for this year. He’s a nice horse. He was third in the Cumberland Lodge – it was probably just a bit too soft for him, but he ran pretty decently and won a good handicap the time before. He’s in pretty good shape – I’d hope he’ll do himself justice.”

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 15 – Friday, May 17 inclusively.

PROGRESSIVE four-year-old, Yafta, is reported to be in fine form ahead of his outing in the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on Wednesday.

Trained by Richard Hannon, Yafta was one of ten declarations received for the £125,000 Group 2 – the opening-day sprint feature, as racing gets underway on the Knavesmire for 2019.

A dual winner last year, including the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury, Yafta was a narrowly beaten runner-up on his seasonal return in Newmarket’s Abernant Stakes last month.

The son of Dark Angel suffered a less than straightforward passage on the Rowley Mile before eventually going down by a head.

But he is in sparkling shape ahead of his York engagement, according to Richard Hills, assistant racing manager and former retained rider to owner, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Hills said: “He’s absolutely flying and Richard’s team are really, really chuffed with him.

“He was making a challenge between horses at Newmarket but was stopped in his run and lost momentum. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but I thought he was an unlucky loser.”

A four-time winner who has finished second on a further six occasions in 12 career outings, Yafta holds an entry in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

While Hills said he could not be sure if Yafta could reach such heights, he highlighted the horse’s toughness and versatility as key attributes.

Hills added: “He was hardly out of the first two last year. He’s a proper warrior, hence why we kept him as a four-year-old.

“He’s got the speed for six furlongs and the stamina for seven, so he’s a versatile horse and I couldn’t say what his best trip is. Obviously we’re stepping up in grade at York and it’s a cracking race, but he’s a decent horse.

“Whether he can get to Group 1 level we don’t know, but this is the next step up and he tries so hard.”

Included among Yafta’s nine opponents for the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes is the Henry Candy-trained Limato, who secured the Listed Garrowby Stakes over this course and distance last season.

Yorkshire-based trainer Kevin Ryan is a familiar face in the Knavesmire Winner’s Enclosure and he is set to launch a three-pronged challenge on a contest he has won twice before. Brando – who finished runner-up to champion sprinter Harry Angel twelve months ago, is set to be joined by stable companions, Hey Jonesy and Major Jumbo.

Malton handler John Quinn has declared fellow course regular El Astronaute, while James Tate will try to take the prize back to Newmarket courtesy of the progressive Invincible Army, who won the Listed Cammidge Trophy on his seasonal return at Doncaster.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May 15 – Friday 17 May inclusive.

York Racecourse is looking forward to the opening of its latest racegoer facility, the Premier Racing Lounge, which will see its first racegoers on Wednesday 15 May, the opening day of the Dante Festival.

The new concept has converted the ground floor of the existing Melrose Stand into a pre booked Premier Lounge, which offers a reserved seat in a great location (adjacent to the Parade Ring) combined with the benefits of modern technology, all delivered with a touch of luxury. The project has seen the transformation of a space that was previously a back of house area behind a bank of tote windows. New Tote positions on the exterior of both sides of Lounge are part of the reconfiguration.

As an indication that the new area looks set to prove popular, it has already sold out for all three days of this May Festival.

Designed as an upgrade from the traditional County Stand Badge, the Premier Racing Lounge will have a capacity of 132 racegoers, who will benefit from the reserved seat in a first class location, a bar serving premium drinks, dedicated betting facilities from both Totepool and William Hill, as well as having its own toilets.

Floor to ceiling windows towards both the track and Parade Ring aspects offer a bright feel, as well as creating a connection with the live sport unfolding outside. Tables are configured for parties of four, with new furniture handmade in Yorkshire by Andy Thornton, offering the choice of a comfortable casual chair with arm rests or the elevated style of a plush poseur stool.

There will be the convenience of table service for a range of premium drinks including local artisan gins such as Slingsby or Brittains. A courier service will offer the ability to place bets from a seat that the racegoers will have reserved in advance.

Located with easy access to a range of existing places that serve lunch, the decision was taken to devote the maximum space to racegoer use, so it does not include a kitchen. There will however be the option to enjoy a range of Proper Platters as well as premium treats from behind the bar. The Gimcrack Restaurant, Princess Mary Seafood Bar, as well as the John Carr Griddle are all easily reached for guests looking for something a little more substantial, safe in the knowledge that their seat is reserved in the Premier Racing Lounge.

Three 86 inch HD screens, alongside multiple conventional sized televisions, will showcase the racing from York as well as from other racecourses and the wider sporting world; as Yorkshire looks forward to hosting an Ashes Test Match and the World UCI Cycling Championships in 2019. This means the Lounge has the ability to host Premier Sports Events on non racedays; whether that is coverage of international racing or global sports events, such as World Cup Finals.

The popular William Hill Betting Shop at the southern end of the development, has also benefited from a refurbishment, serving racegoers inside the Premier Racing Lounge as well as in the wider County Stand.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Yorkshire Ice Cream counter remains in the area with the sweetie shop being found a new home, next to the nearby Ebor Stand.

Racegoers are able to book their seats and Proper Platters from the York Racecourse website (yorkracecourse.co.uk) with the benefits of the Premier Racing Lounge being priced to reflect the wider raceday. Starting at £56 for the Friday afternoons in June, July, October; with the Dante Festival at £65; £82 for Summer Saturdays & Music events; then £115 at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August. These prices are inclusive of admission to the wider County Stand as well as VAT and a racecard. Special advance booking deals will continue to be a part of the wider York proposition.

A six figure budget has been invested in the project, which follows the successful redevelopments of both the wider Northern End of the Racecourse and the Clocktower Enclosure, in the last five years. Up and coming Yorkshire architecture practice, Dawson Williamson Architects, have designed the scheme; with the structural works delivered by Lindum Construction of York.

Commenting on the new opening, William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course said; “This latest scheme makes a great use of premium space near the Parade Ring and I believe will bring an extra dimension to coming racing at York. The opportunity to reserve a seat in a well-appointed racegoer facility in a prime location is new for racegoers outside hospitality. I am proud of how the team have worked hard to deliver this next phase in the development of York, as part of our ongoing programme to continue to improve the experience of racing at the Knavesmire; it is a tribute to them that it is already proving so popular.”

ROGER Varian is hoping that his Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes entry, Surfman, can deliver on his significant promise for owner breeder Peter Winkworth.

Surfman, a half-brother to Group 1-winning filly Kitesurf, has already shown huge potential in easily winning his last two races, after making his debut at Nottingham last October.

Now the son of Juddmonte Farms star Kingman, is poised for a step up in class at York after yesterday’s confirmation stage saw 12 colts remain in the £165,000 Group 2.

Varian said: “We’ve always held him in the highest regard and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that he’s as good as we think he might be.”

Surfman broke through in a Nottingham novice race a month after his first outing. But it was on his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle on April 30 that he really stood out as an exciting prospect, landing a mile and a quarter novice contest by 14 lengths.

Varian assessed: “He beat a poor field, let’s be honest. He didn’t beat a lot but he beat them 14 lengths on the bridle. And it did the horse good to get out there – get an away-day from Newmarket.

“We didn’t learn much about him – we knew he was a nice horse and he proved he was a nice horse. But we didn’t learn how nice he is. His next start, we will do.”

That next engagement looks likely to be on Thursday in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai backed Dante Stakes, the mile and a quarter race, still regarded by many shrewd observers as the most informative Derby trial.

Surfman, who holds an entry for the most famous Classic of them all, warmed up for York with a piece of fast work in Newmarket on Friday morning.

Varian added: “He has worked well and he has come on for his run.

“He’s a highly promising colt. He has always worked at home like a pretty smart colt – we’ve got high hopes for him going forward.

“And if we do run in the Dante that’s going to tell us a little bit more where we are.

“I think York – a galloping track, a flat track – should suit him well. It looks a very hot race – we’ll have to see what shows up and see how we measure up. But I think he’s pretty good himself, so fingers crossed.”

If Surfman could triumph on the Knavesmire it would be a romantic result as Varian and Winkworth are old allies, stemming back to the days when the latter used to train.

“Peter is one of the sport’s enthusiasts and he has put a lot into the game over the years,” said Varian.

“I actually rode him a winner in my very short and undistinguished riding career. He supported me back then as a teenager – I was a 7lb claimer and it was over hurdles that I rode him that winner – and it’s nice that he has supported me as a trainer as well.”

Among the possible rivals that Surfman may face is last year’s champion two-year-old, Too Darn Hot, who was forced to miss the Qipco 2,000 Guineas after suffering a small setback. His trainer John Gosden is also represented by Turgenev at the latest forfeit stage.

Ballydoyle trainer, Aidan O’Brien, has left in a brace of geographically named contenders in Japan and Western Australia. While there are three Yorkshire based entries; record-breaking Mark Johnston from Middleham, has Dark Vision and Nayef Road as possible runners, while Karl Burke from nearby Coverham, could saddle Kadar.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May 15 – Friday 17 May 17 inclusively.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

LIMATO and Snazzy Jazzy remain under consideration for the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, the £165,000 sprint feature on the opening day of York’s new season – Wednesday 15 May.

The Henry Candy-trained Limato and Clive Cox’s charge, Snazzy Jazzy, both stood their ground at yesterday’s confirmation stage as 16 entries were left in the six-furlong Group 2 contest.

But the prospect of a clash between the two speedsters looks unlikely given their contrasting ground preferences. Candy wants good ground or better for Limato, while Cox is hoping for underfoot ease to suit Snazzy Jazzy.

However, both trainers appear eager to take the wraps of their respective charges, issuing positive bulletins. Indeed Candy was particularly upbeat in assessing two-time Group 1 hero Limato, who has previous strong course & distance form at York. He landed the Listed Ryedale House Garrowby Stakes last September, while in 2016 he was runner-up behind sprint star, Mecca’s Angel, in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes..

Candy said: “I’m delighted with the way he looks and he’s certainly retained all of his old enthusiasm – he’s in great form.

“As ever with Limato, him running is entirely ground dependent. He scrambled home on good-to-soft ground in the Garrowby at York last year and he didn’t like it much. I think in a race of that class next week he ought to have good ground or firmer.”

Cox, who saddled champion sprinter Harry Angel to a two-length success in this contest last year, also issued a positive update on rising force Snazzy Jazzy.

The son of Red Jazz progressed sharply last year, ending his three-year-old campaign with a Group 3 victory in France and he will be Knavesmire-bound next week as long as there is sufficient give in the ground for him.

“He has wintered really well,” Cox said. “He has been a prolific prize-money winner, landing the valuable sales race in Ireland as a two-year-old before excelling in the Silver Cup at Ayr last year, while he finished off with a great Group 3 success in Maisons-Laffitte.

“The going is the most important ingredient in his performance as that brings out the best in him. Ease in the ground would be crucial for him stepping up to Group 2 level and we’ll take a view.”

The confirmations for the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes also include last year’s runner-up, Brando, who landed the Prix Maurice de Gheest in 2017.

He is one of three entries for Hambleton-based trainer, Kevin Ryan, who could also be represented by Hey Jonesy and Major Jumbo, while James Tate has confirmed impressive Cammidge Trophy winner, Invincible Army.

The Group-race action is set to continue later on the card with the 59th running of the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes – a key trial for next month’s Investec Oaks and one that has attracted 14 potential participants.

Champion trainer John Gosden has won the £100,000 Group 3 five times in the last decade and he has made two entries this season – Sparkle Roll and Entitle.

The former defied a penalty in good style at Sandown last month while the latter – who broke her maiden at Lingfield in December – is a half-sister to the exceptional Enable, who lit up the Knavesmire when scorching five lengths clear of her rivals in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks prior to landing the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2017.

Irish trainer, Aidan O’Brien, fresh from landing both the Qipco 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, has made two entries in the form of Fire Fly and Peach Tree. William Haggas could call on Frankellina and Rainbow Heart as he seeks to keep the prize in Newmarket having saddled Give And Take to victory last year.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May 15 – Friday 17 May inclusively.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

LIMATO and Snazzy Jazzy remain under consideration for the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, the £165,000 sprint feature on the opening day of York’s new season – Wednesday 15 May.

The Henry Candy-trained Limato and Clive Cox’s charge, Snazzy Jazzy, both stood their ground at yesterday’s confirmation stage as 16 entries were left in the six-furlong Group 2 contest.

But the prospect of a clash between the two speedsters looks unlikely given their contrasting ground preferences. Candy wants good ground or better for Limato, while Cox is hoping for underfoot ease to suit Snazzy Jazzy.

However, both trainers appear eager to take the wraps of their respective charges, issuing positive bulletins. Indeed Candy was particularly upbeat in assessing two-time Group 1 hero Limato, who has previous strong course & distance form at York. He landed the Listed Ryedale House Garrowby Stakes last September, while in 2016 he was runner-up behind sprint star, Mecca’s Angel, in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes..

Candy said: “I’m delighted with the way he looks and he’s certainly retained all of his old enthusiasm – he’s in great form.

“As ever with Limato, him running is entirely ground dependent. He scrambled home on good-to-soft ground in the Garrowby at York last year and he didn’t like it much. I think in a race of that class next week he ought to have good ground or firmer.”

Cox, who saddled champion sprinter Harry Angel to a two-length success in this contest last year, also issued a positive update on rising force Snazzy Jazzy.

The son of Red Jazz progressed sharply last year, ending his three-year-old campaign with a Group 3 victory in France and he will be Knavesmire-bound next week as long as there is sufficient give in the ground for him.

“He has wintered really well,” Cox said. “He has been a prolific prize-money winner, landing the valuable sales race in Ireland as a two-year-old before excelling in the Silver Cup at Ayr last year, while he finished off with a great Group 3 success in Maisons-Laffitte.

“The going is the most important ingredient in his performance as that brings out the best in him. Ease in the ground would be crucial for him stepping up to Group 2 level and we’ll take a view.”

The confirmations for the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes also include last year’s runner-up, Brando, who landed the Prix Maurice de Gheest in 2017.

He is one of three entries for Hambleton-based trainer, Kevin Ryan, who could also be represented by Hey Jonesy and Major Jumbo, while James Tate has confirmed impressive Cammidge Trophy winner, Invincible Army.

The Group-race action is set to continue later on the card with the 59th running of the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes – a key trial for next month’s Investec Oaks and one that has attracted 14 potential participants.

Champion trainer John Gosden has won the £100,000 Group 3 five times in the last decade and he has made two entries this season – Sparkle Roll and Entitle.

The former defied a penalty in good style at Sandown last month while the latter – who broke her maiden at Lingfield in December – is a half-sister to the exceptional Enable, who lit up the Knavesmire when scorching five lengths clear of her rivals in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks prior to landing the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2017.

Irish trainer, Aidan O’Brien, fresh from landing both the Qipco 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, has made two entries in the form of Fire Fly and Peach Tree. William Haggas could call on Frankellina and Rainbow Heart as he seeks to keep the prize in Newmarket having saddled Give And Take to victory last year.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May 15 – Friday 17 May inclusively.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

TRAINER HUGHIE Morrison has reported that Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes entry Telecaster is in fine fettle ahead of a potential tilt at the £165,000 York feature on Thursday 16 May.

The son of New Approach, who inflicted a nine-length defeat on some fancied rivals in a Windsor novice last week, was one of 61 entries to stand their ground for the extended mile and a quarter Group 2 contest at the latest entries stage.

Having finished runner-up on his debut at Doncaster in March, Telecaster duly built on that promise when powering clear under Oisin Murphy last Monday, recording an eye-catching time and stamping himself as a colt with significant potential.

Morrison outlined on Wednesday that the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes is under serious consideration for his charge but added: “It’s not cast in stone. That is the race we are aiming at, but we’ve still got three weeks between now and then and there’s the possibility we change our minds.

“He has been fine after Windsor and he’s always full of himself. He’s only had two races, but I’ll know if he hasn’t taken a race well when he’s not full of himself afterwards.
“He’s a horse who has grown up a lot over the winter and we are learning about him all the time. He has a high cruising speed, he gallops and he has obviously got a lot of ability.

“Should we head to the Dante we would go there with hope and I am sure he would run a nice race, but you have got to be realistic – we had the trials last week and we’ve got the Guineas to come – and I’m sure the Dante will be a very strong race.”

Telecaster is from a family Morrison knows well given he trained his dam, Shirocco Star, to finish second in the Investec Oaks and the Summerdown-based handler drew favourable comparisons between the two.

“He is quite similar to his mother,” Morrison continued. “She was naturally talented and they are both your classic, staying-looking horse with a bit of scope and a bit of leg. She had a high cruising speed and so does he – they both can gallop.”

Also included among the remaining entries for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes is last year’s champion two-year-old, Too Darn Hot, who was this week ruled out of the 2,000 Guineas by trainer John Gosden.

Emerging Newmarket-based talent, Charlie Fellowes, could saddle King Ottokar, who posted a noteworthy seasonal reappearance when claiming some well-regarded scalps in a conditions race at Newbury earlier in the month. While Aidan O’Brien – who has won the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes four times in the last seven years – remains with a plethora of entries.

They include Broome, who romped home by eight lengths on his return in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and Cape Of Good Hope, who narrowly prevailed in Listed company at Epsom on Wednesday.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May to Friday 17 May inclusively.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

A host of horses with previous winning form at York remain engaged in the Group Two contests that are the highlights of the upcoming Dante Festival that will be staged on the Knavesmire between Wednesday 15 and Friday 17 May.

Last season’s champion two-year-old, Too Darn Hot, remains the stand-out name amongst the now sixty-one remaining entries for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes on Thursday 16 May. The colt’s trainer John Gosden has a fine recent record in the famous mile and a quarter Group 2 race, landing three of the last four renewals, including the 2015 running with subsequent Investec Derby hero, Golden Horn. The unbeaten Too Darn Hot has missed early season targets with this year’s £165,000 contest firmly in the mix as a potential return to action.

The previous York winner in amongst the colts in Thursday’s race is Phoenix Of Spain, who won the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes, for trainer Charlie Hills, last August.

Master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, has won the Epsom Blue Riband four times in the last seven years retains some 18 entries in the York showpiece – a race that many people identify as the key trial for the Classic showdown. They include Group 1 winner, Magna Grecia, as well as the hugely promising Japan, who won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his third and final outing when aged two.

Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston won this race in 2017 with Permian. A year later he saddled runner-up Dee Ex Bee and retains four entries for this spring’s renewal. Fellow Middleham handler, Karl Burke, has Kadar as a further potential local representative.

Earlier on Thursday the classy middle distance fillies will go to post in the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Middleton Stakes; York form could be at a premium with defending champion, Coronet, remaining amongst the fourteen strong entry. Possible opponents include Threading, who was a high-class two-year-old in 2017, winning the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York for Mark Johnston.

Champion Trainer, John Gosden, could be represented by improving filly, Lah Ti Dah, returning to the Knavesmire, scene of her impressive Listed race triumph in the EBF Galtres Stakes last August.

On the opening day of York’s season, the sprinters take centre stage in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes where Sands of Mali, the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack winner of 2017 could take on Invincible Army. The £125,000 Group Two is over the six furlong trip with thirty one horses still possibles for a spin out of the new twenty-two bay stalls that will be in operation at York.

At the other end of the stamina spectrum comes Friday’s feature, the Group Two Matchbook Yorkshire Cup. At this stage, twenty-nine stayers remain engaged with defending champion and superstar of the division, Stradivarius, the likely favourite. The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May inclusively.

The Group One Juddmonte International run at York, is set to be the only European race that offers “Win and You’re In” benefits to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be staged at Santa Anita Racetrack in California, this November.

The successful horse in the £1 million flagship contest on the Knavesmire will receive a range of benefits ahead of any tilt for the $6 million prize in the United States. Significantly, connections would see their entry fee of $150,000 (c£115,000) fully funded as well as receiving $40,000 to assist with travel expenses.

The showpiece contests of their respective Festivals are closely linked; just last season, Roaring Lion carried the silks of Qatar Racing to glory at York and across Europe, before a valiant run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Back in millennium year, the Coolmore owned superstar, Giants Causeway, provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with success at York and so would have benefited ahead of a second place in America.  In the last two years, three horses have headed stateside after their run in Yorkshire  (Roaring Lion, Thunder Snow and Churchill).

Already part of what is formally known as the Breeders Cup Challenge Series; are the two other Group One contests staged at York; with both the Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Nunthorpe linking to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint respectively, come 1st and 2nd November.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of York Racecourse, said, “Our continuing partnership with Breeders’ Cup further demonstrates the global reach and appeal of the top races at York.  The Juddmonte International was ranked in the top five races in the world in 2018 and the Breeders’ Cup Classic is the highest rated race in North America.  It is an honour to be selected by our friends at Breeders’ Cup as the first, and indeed only, European contest to offer the “Win and You’re In” benefits to their feature race. Our aim is to attract the best horses and jockeys to York and I hope initiatives such as these continue to add to the appeal of racing at York.”

Speaking on behalf of the Breeders’ Cup, President and CEO, Craig Fravel said; “In conjunction with York Racecourse, we are very pleased announce that this year’s Juddmonte International will be the first-ever Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race in Europe to award the winner an automatic starting position into the Breeders’ Cup Classic. As Group 1 stars from the Juddmonte International have been pointed to the Classic over the years, it is a natural decision to bolster that opportunity and reward horsemen with the Challenge Series’ incentives of a free berth, and no entry fees for the Juddmonte International winner to be entered into this year’s Classic.”

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LAST SEASON’S champion two-year-old, Too Darn Hot, is the stand-out name in an intriguing 89-strong entry for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes – the May 17 feature race of York’s curtain-raising three-day festival.
The colt’s trainer John Gosden has a fine recent record in the famous mile and a quarter Group 2 race, landing three of the last four renewals, including the 2015 running with subsequent Investec Derby hero, Golden Horn. The unbeaten Too Darn Hot is one of 14 entries made by the 2018 leading trainer for this year’s £165,000 contest on the Knavesmire.
Master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, has won the Epsom Blue Riband four times in the last seven years and has made 24 entries in the York showpiece – a race that many people identify as the key trial for the Classic showdown. They include Group 1 winner, Magna Grecia, as well as the hugely promising Japan, who won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his third and final outing when aged two.
Charlie Hills has made an entry for Phoenix Of Spain, who won the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes on the Knavesmire before succumbing by a head to Magna Grecia at Doncaster.
Tom Dascombe could be represented by Royal Ascot winner, Arthur Kitt, who finished runner-up to Too Darn Hot in the Solario Stakes at Sandown prior to running fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston won this race in 2017 with Permian. A year later he saddled runner-up Dee Ex Bee and has made seven entries for this spring’s renewal.
Plans remains fluid for the septet at this stage, but they include the 110-rated Arctic Sound, who has won four of his six starts – including a Newmarket Group 3 – and Living Legend, who struck in a Kempton novice in the manner of a progressive performer last Saturday.
Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father, assessed: “Living Legend probably deserves to be in the race least (of the Johnston entries) at the moment, given he was allocated a mark of 86 by the handicapper on Tuesday morning and he will have to improve a huge amount to be up to that level.
“That said, he’s an unexposed, exciting horse and one we’ve really been looking forward to. He wintered well and we thought he was capable of a good performance at Kempton, which he delivered.
“We’re nowhere near the bottom of him yet and he could still be anything, so he deserves those lofty entries. There is an argument that he should be running in a handicap off that mark in the near future, but he produced an impressive performance.”
Regarding Arctic Sound, he continued: “We’re not entirely sure what his optimum trip will be and he’s entered in pretty much every Guineas in Europe – the English, Irish, French and German.
“We’ll probably go down that route to begin with, but if you’d have asked me towards the middle of last summer, I would have expected him to improve when he was upped in trip.
“We thought he would go and win the Stonehenge (in which he finished last of six runners) at Salisbury and that was his most disappointing run, but he was very impressive back to seven furlongs at Doncaster and Newmarket. He’ll start back over a mile and then he has the option of going up in trip if he needs to.”

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May inclusively

CLASSY middle-distance campaigner Laraaib could step up in trip for a shot at the £165,000 Matchbook Yorkshire Cup at York on Friday 17 May.

The Owen Burrows-trained five-year-old signed off for 2018 with a gritty half-length victory in the mile and a half Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot. It meant he finished the year on a high after being laid low in midsummer with a viral problem.

The strapping son of Pivotal is lightly-raced and has a fine record of four wins from eight career starts.

On paper Sheikh Hamdan’s horse looks open to further improvement and could return in the John Porter Stakes at Newbury on April 13 before coming under consideration for the York Group Two. That would mean a first crack at a mile and three quarters for Laraaib, which Burrows feels could be within his range.

The Lambourn-based trainer said: “He was a big, unraced two-year-old and then won his first three starts as a three-year-old. I slipped him into the Rose of Lancaster at Haydock and he wasn’t quite right after that so we finished him for the season.

“Last year he started off at Sandown in the Brigadier Gerard and was beaten only by Poet’s Word, so I was thrilled with him that day. It went wrong for him at Royal Ascot where he was drawn very high and missed the kick. I took him next to the Princess of Wales’s at Newmarket. He ran so badly that he must have had something wrong with him, hence we did some tests. We had a virus in the yard and he was one that was affected.

“So to get him back to win the Cumberland Lodge was a big performance and he had to really tough it out on very soft ground. He handled conditions well that day but doesn’t need it bottomless.

“If we can keep him healthy I’m hoping for a real productive year with him. He wouldn’t go much further than a Yorkshire Cup distance – I’m not saying he’s a Gold Cup horse or anything like that.

“But he is a good horse to have. He is a five-year-old now with not a lot of mileage on him and, physically, he has done very well. He was always a big-framed horse and he has grown into that. The lads that ride him at home are saying he feels stronger this year, so I’m hoping that there is a bit more improvement from four to five.”

The Matchbook Yorkshire Cup is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, which showcases 35 of the UK’s finest Flat races. The entry for this year’s renewal includes outstanding stayer, Stradivarius, who landed the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million in 2018. The colt started his run of success with victory in the Yorkshire Cup last May and his trainer John Gosden has already indicated that will be this season’s starting point. Also in the 34-strong initial entry are fellow middle-distance stars Kew Gardens, Flag of Honour and Capri as well as a series of other fascinating prospects.

Lanigan and Johnston yard poised with potential challengers

SEA OF Class could make her seasonal reappearance at York after being entered in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes, which will be run on Thursday 16 May.

The William Haggas-trained filly was one of the stars of the 2018 season, winning two Group 1s – the Darley Irish Oaks and then the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire.

But arguably her best performance came in defeat at Paris Longchamp where she went down to the brilliant Enable by a diminishing short neck in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Sea Of Class remains in training aged four and is one of 18 horses in the initial entry for the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes, contested over a mile and a quarter.

The entry also contains last year’s surprise 1,000 Guineas winner, Billesdon Brook. Multiple Group 1 runner-up and defending champion, Coronet, is also listed; as are Nyaleti and Threading from the record-breaking yard of Middleham-based trainer, Mark Johnston.

The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes is under consideration for Nyaleti as she looks to build on a very good three-year-old campaign, which concluded with back-to-back top-three finishes in Grade/Group 1 races.
Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father, said: “She has been all around the world already, including finishing second in an Italian Group 1 on her final outing last year.
“She has lots of options on the table for her reappearance. She could either start in the Middleton, or something like the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket or even the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.
“Last year she came up a bit short at the top level in this country, but she was twice placed in Group 1 company abroad. We’re well aware that we might need to travel again to try and win a Group 1, but we’re prepared to do that and she’ll be entered far and wide.”
Threading was a high-class two-year-old in 2017, winning the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York. She returned to the track last May to land a Listed prize but her form dipped after a very creditable effort in behind Alpha Centauri at Royal Ascot.
Johnston added: “She was disappointing towards the back end of last year and we just want to see the same level of spark she showed when finishing second in the Coronation Stakes in June. She will definitely start over a mile – maybe in something like the Snowdrop at Kempton – and we’ll try and get her head back in front. The Middleton is a fall-back option if we want to go up in trip afterwards.”
Trainer David Lanigan is another with decisions to make about where to campaign a talented filly. His charge Worth Waiting won four races last year, including a Group 3 in Deauville. She returned to France where she ran a very creditable fourth in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille.

Her preparations for the new season are well underway and Lanigan will make a call nearer the time as to whether Worth Waiting will return in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes or stay closer to home to tackle the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket.

Lanigan confirmed: “It’s just a question of seeing how she comes in the next three weeks and then make a plan.

“She has wintered well and looks like she has filled out her frame. She was never a gross filly but has done very well, so I’m pleased with her.

“Hopefully she’ll progress. She’s had a good lay-off and is coming back nicely.”

Speaking last week, Champion Trainer John Gosden indicated that improving filly, Lah Ti Dah could well return to the Knavesmire, scene of her impressive Listed race triumph in the EBF Galtres Stakes last August.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May inclusively.

INVINCIBLE ARMY could have a third crack at Group 1 star Sands of Mali, with both horses entered in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, which will be the feature race on the opening day of York’s 2019 season – Wednesday 15 May.

Invincible Army impressed last Saturday when speeding to a two-length success in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster. His trainer, James Tate, had long ear-marked that race as a stepping stone to the £125,000 Group 2, staged over six furlongs on the Knavesmire.

But his four-year-old charge may end up facing old adversary Sands of Mali, who got the better of him in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes back in 2017. The pair were also involved in a thrilling finish to a Group 2 at Haydock last May in which Sands of Mali got up by a nose.

The latter colt went on to top-class glory, scoring on British Champions Day in the feature Sprint last October. As a result of that win he’d have to carry 5lb more at the weights than Invincible Army, should the pair go head to head at York in mid-May.

Newmarket-based Tate said: “It has kind of been the plan since we put him away for a break at the back end of last year, that we’d go for the Cammidge and then the Duke of York.

“He is already a dual Group 3 winner but we got beaten a nose in the Group 2 last year, so we could really do with a win in a Group 2.

“Anything can stop you with a horse, but if he is good on raceday the only thing that would stop us is very fast ground. So we will be hoping it’s not too quick on 15 May.

“I’m very pleased with his development, from what we’ve seen so far. He has been working well and looks bigger and stronger.

“We left a little bit to work on with his prep race and I also loved his attitude at Doncaster. As a two-year-old he was often all over the place – I remember him breaking someone’s foot when they tried to lead him up for a Group 3 at Kempton.

“At Doncaster I thought he was ever so professional, walking around relaxed but confident and he continued that right the way through the race. I think he has improved from three to four, but we’ll get a better test of that in the Duke of York, hopefully.”

In total 37 horses are listed in the initial entry for the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, including three-time Group 1 winner, The Tin Man. Fellow top-class performers Brando, Limato, Suedois in the sponsor’s colours and Mabs Cross are also among those named.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May inclusively.

York Racecourse is pleased to confirm that 2019 will see a further strengthening of its race programme; featuring both the upgrade of the Sky Bet City of York Stakes to Group 2 status, as well as the £1m Sky Bet Ebor becoming an open handicap.

These changes, approved by the European Pattern Committee and British Horseracing Authority, should further encourage the best horses – be they seven furlong specialists or the top of the staying division – to run at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Already a historic and successful race, the Sky Bet Ebor will celebrate a new chapter in a story that dates back to 1843 when up to 22 thoroughbreds compete for their share of a seven figure purse on Saturday 24 August. The new conditions will mean the top rated horse in the Ebor will carry 9st 10lb and all other Ebor runners’ weights will be allocated in reference to their rating in relation to the top weight.

This feature contest of the final day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival will be the culmination of the new Race to the Ebor Series – an initiative that sees the winners of three designated staying races offered a berth in York’s new 22 bay stalls. The three nominated contests are The Sky Bet Melrose of 2018 – meaning, Ghostwatch has already earned a slot for trainer, Charlie Appleby and Team Godolphin; the second race is the Sky Bet Jorvik run on Wednesday 15 May 2019 (day one of the Dante Festival); and then the Sky Bet Grand Cup, the pattern race highlight of Saturday 15 June (Macmillan Charity Raceday.)

York Racecourse is further delighted at the recent confirmation that the Sky Bet City of York Stakes has been upgraded in status to become a Group Two contest. Also run on the Saturday of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, the seven furlong contest has a proud roll of honour. Most recently, Expert Eye carried the famous silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah to victory ahead of further success in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Ongoing investment in this race will see the upgraded contest offer prize money of £200,000 – more than double the minimum value for a Group 2 race.

Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, as well as Racing Manager to Juddmonte Farms, and so to Expert Eye, said; “York takes a real pride in the quality of racing that it offers, so it is tremendous news that the Sky Bet City of York is to be upgraded and so become the fifth Group Two at the Ebor Festival. It was a special moment to win it with Expert Eye last season and I would be confident that the 2019 victor will need to be another good sort. The ongoing investment in prize money demonstrates our commitment to the race.”

Talking about the role of the Sky Bet Ebor for British Racing, Chief Operating Officer of the British Horseracing Authority, Richard Wayman, said, “The 2019 Ebor will be the first £1m Flat handicap to take place in Great Britain and the race is likely to become a significant target for quality stayers both nationally and internationally. All involved should be commended for taking this famous and historic race into an exciting new chapter as part of the sport’s strategy to support the production, ownership and retention of the staying horse.”

With Ebor hero, Quick Ransom, back in 1992, part of a now record breaking haul of flat winners, trainer Mark Johnston said “This prize-money is a huge boost for the Ebor and surely provides an incredible incentive, even greater than before, for owners to try and find a horse that can win them an Ebor. Making the race an open handicap is absolutely the right thing to do; no horse can now ever be too good for the Ebor”.

Leading Newmarket handler, Hugo Palmer, said, “This is wonderful news and something I have been hugely supportive of from the outset. I am sure that having a landmark open handicap for stayers in Europe will help to keep talent here in the northern hemisphere and, who knows, maybe an Aussie will try to win it one day too! We have all seen the impact that the Melbourne Cup has on Australian and world racing, and it is great that York and Sky Bet have been able to invest so significantly in this famous race.”

York Racecourse concluded its 2018 season today after a hugely busy year which has seen a strong attendance, as over 350,000 racegoers witnessed 122 races over 18 fabulous days of racing action. Nearly 1,400 horses competed for a record of more than £8.2m prize money delivering an impressive average field size, which looks set to retain its position as the largest in British flat racing.

In other excitements this year, Macmillan Charity Raceday in June raised a record sum of well over £500,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities, making it the biggest charity raceday in British racing and Macmillan’s largest single fundraising event, having now raised over £8m during the last 48 years.

Showing the variety of its customer offer, York sold out in all enclosures, on Summer Music Saturday (30th June), when seven races including the innovative “jump jockeys Nunthorpe” plus a concert by Paloma Faith drew in the crowds.

The opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw the million pound Group 1 Juddmonte International rewarded by a stellar field with seven of the eight runners having previously won at the highest level, eventually headed by Roaring Lion, currently the highest rated colt in Europe for his connections, Qatar Racing and trainer, John Gosden.

The balance of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw an outstanding four days of racing action with Stradivarius taking the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup as the final leg in earning the £1m WH Stayers Bonus, supported by the same sponsors. Leading filly, Sea of Class took the Darley Yorkshire Oaks as part of her sparkling season, which culminated in a thrilling close up second to last year’s York heroine, Enable, in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, just last weekend. Arguably the most dramatic moments of the season unfolded in the photo finish that decided the Coolmore Nunthorpe as Bryan Smart’s Alpha Delphini shaded Mabs Cross, trained by Michael Dods, in a battle of northern handlers. The gracious losers had their reward, last weekend when winning the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye. Tet another highlight of a tremendous week, was seeing Mark Johnston becoming the winningmost British trainer of all time after a dramatic win by 25-1 outsider, Poet’s Society, in the Clipper Logistics Stakes under Frankie Dettori.

The total attendance for the year of 350,998 showed a modest increase on last year, reflecting the highs of Summer Music Saturday, the glorious distraction of the Football World Cup, the disruption caused by train strikes on several racedays and the ill luck of some disappointing weather during a generally pleasant summer.

A wider challenge in July was the disappointing abandonment of the Tom Jones concert after thunderstorms in the South East disrupted the travel plans of the Welsh singer.

The final day saw nearly 19,000 racegoers brave Storm Callum to watch Josephine Gordon partner Major Jumbo to success in the Coral Sprint Trophy, for Hambleton based trainer Kevin Ryan. Indeed northern stables achieved a clean sweep on the final day, with five different Yorkshire yards adding a double for Tom Dascombe, based over the Pennines.

Malton based, Richard Fahey was crowned as the Charles Clinkard York Top Trainer; his hugely impressive sixteen winners giving him a ninth title. So the wonderful Skeaping Bronze will be heading to a familiar mantelpiece. The conclusion of the season long contest to be top jockey at York saw Oisin Murphy win the Living North-sponsored race after seven victories.

The 2018 season saw the £5million refurbishment of the infield of the course, as the newly named Clocktower Enclosure saw two new toilet blocks, improved pathways and infrastructure, which helped boost summer attendance and improve the experience in this important picnic area.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse said “What a memorable season 2018 has been. The continued investment in prize money, the track and facilities has been rewarded with tremendous sporting action. Thanks must go to all the horseman and connections of the stars for bringing them to the Knavesmire. York racegoers are rightly lauded for their love of the sport and they have been treated to some of the very best horses ridden by the very best jockeys once again this year. The achievement of Richard Fahey in setting a record for seasonal winners at York, as well the history making victory for Mark Johnston are the headliners to the underlying strength of flat racing in Yorkshire and we are proud to be part of a part of that community.”

“It is only proper to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the permanent York Racecourse and York Racecourse Hospitality teams based at the racecourse, it is their efforts that have delivered such a memorable and successful season. The award winning experience for visitors to the Knavesmire is added to by the raceday team and our partners and suppliers who help provide the welcome. Some 2,000 people have given their time, talent and energy to make every York raceday so special.

“We remain hugely appreciative of the support of racegoers, boxholders, hospitality guests and sponsors, so very much hope they have enjoyed their own racedays at York in 2018 and will both look back on many happy memories, as well as look forward to many more!”

Head of Sponsorship and Marketing at York Racecourse, James Brennan, noted “The turn-out this year is a remarkable achievement. Competition for leisure spending is intense and we continue to strive to offer quality racing, value for money and a great day out. I am pleased our programme of entertainment, investment and innovation has been so well received. The performance of Paloma Faith as well as that by Boyzone will provide memories into the winter nights. Another record number of participants enjoying the Ebor Fashion Lawn, a Family Sunday with a record number of young racegoers and the Countryside Raceday in October, were all exciting aspects which combined with top-class racing, service and facilities to provide great entertainment. The 2018 attendance and ongoing commitment of the course to buying fresh, local produce further support the independent economic study that concluded the racecourse was worth over £60 million to the York economy per annum.”

Summarising the year, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, concluded “It has been an honour and privilege to be involved with such an exciting, enjoyable and successful season and I would like to thank everyone connected to York for their attendance, enthusiasm and support. Work will continue during the winter on both the race programme, facilities and innovations across the site to help us continue to attract horses and racegoers back to York for what already looks set to be an exciting 2019 season starting on Wednesday 15 May”

The last chance to enjoy racing action at York in 2018 comes on Friday and Saturday (12 and 13 October).  With record prize money approaching £500,000 on offer, it is the most valuable October finale ever held on the Knavesmire. Since 2014, the prize money for these two days has almost doubled in value, with all races seeing a boost in that time.

The feature of Friday, a handicap for three year old stayers backed by new sponsor at York, RaceBets, is the twenty-first race of the York season to have a six figure prize pot, offering £100,000. Only in its fourth year, this race is intended to provide an autumn opportunity for the highly rated horses that may well have competed in the Sky Bet Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Last year’s winner, Brimham Rocks, for trainer Ralph Beckett, is now competing in Group One contests in Australia for his new connections.

The feature race of the Saturday meeting is also worth £100,000, the Coral Sprint Trophy, an ultra-competitive sprint handicap. Last year’s victor, Teruntum Star, has represented Kevin Ryan’s yard in feature handicaps this season.

The Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes, which showcased smart juvenile, Rebel Assault for the record breaking Mark Johnston yard last season, once again offers £50,000.

The ITV cameras will be at the track for both days, covering two races on Friday, including the £30,000 RaceBets Money Back 2nd 3rd 4th Stakes Handicap over a mile.

Friday will see the seventh staging of ‘Countryside Raceday’ with its biggest ever Countryside Market.

Looking to combine the delights of the rural life with the excitement of a raceday, the ‘Countryside Raceday’ on Friday will mean seven races being complemented by rural activity and products; including a sheepdog display.  For those wishing to start their Christmas shopping early, there is a Countryside Market of local produce and crafts.

Friday’s card begins at 2.05pm and blends competitive handicaps with contests to develop the two year olds, as well as honing the talents of apprentice jockeys.  Regular race sponsors on this day include TSG, the IT provider that supports the racecourse team.  Regulars at York and visitors to the city will recognise The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Cloisters Spa at Escrick who return in support of a race on this day.  The European Breeders’ Fund continue their backing of York with support of the contest for maiden two-year-olds that acknowledges their links to the Racing to School organisation.  Completing a day of returning sponsors are Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and The Elevator Company.

Saturday’s quality seven race programme also begins at 2.05pm with the first of six races backed by Coral, a brand that first supported this day back in 1979. The last day of the season will be accompanied by the sound of the Corps of Drums in support of the Coldstream Guards Cup, a middle-distance handicap that will bring the curtain down on 2018.

The meeting will also see the conclusion of the season long contests to be top jockey and trainer at York. In the Living North-sponsored jockeys’ race, the Juddmonte International winning rider, Oisin Murphy, sits tied with Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup victor, Frankie Dettori, on seven winners apiece. A pair of former champions, Paul Hanagan (6) and Danny Tudhope (5) retain hopes that their northern connections may herald a late charge.

The leaderboard of the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York is headed by Richard Fahey, with the Malton based handler the long-time leader, having already sent out sixteen winners from his Musley Bank base. Comfortably on track to record a ninth York title, being seven clear of Newmarket’s John Gosden.

As well as the sound of fife and drum, racegoers will be able to enjoy the Chris Brown quartet or an upbeat Steel Band.

Six large screens will cover both racing on the Knavesmire and the major contests from Newmarket.  The Punters’ Panel will offer tips before racing on each day.

 

The countdown to the biggest charity raceday in the country begins again today, when entries open to become one of the twelve riders in the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives on Saturday 15 June 2019.

It offers a chance for twelve amateurs to enjoy the “ride of their lives” as they participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each will pledge at least £3,000 to the charity, though this year’s participants contributed more than £110,000 to a cumulative total that has now exceeded £8,000,000.

The race has become a popular part of a day that heads towards its forty-ninth renewal and is the biggest single fund raising event in the Macmillan calendar.

Riders from the class of ’18 can take a real pride in having contributed to a record amount raised on the day, after the seventh running of the race. The honour of raising the most as an individual fell to Izzy Budge, who posted a little over £14,000.

The most important aspect of the race itself was that all the partnerships returned safely to the stables. The 2018 Raceday saw history made as the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives had two winners, after the judge called a dead heat, between X Rated and Apterix. This meant that two riders, Sarah Fanning and Chris Brownless, were both winners of the race.
As part of the Newby and Press Family Raceday on Sunday 9 September, they will be presented with a memento of their big day in June; as the track has created a special photo book that charts their training as well as the nine furlong jaunt around the Knavesmire.

Given the nature of riding a thoroughbred in front of a large crowd, the 2019 contestants are likely to already have riding experience but rest assured that anyone interested will be given intensive tuition so they have the chance to reach the required safety standard to make the start line. As this is a significant commitment it explains the early start for the search for competitors.

Once the field has been announced in December this year you will be able to help them fund raise in lots of ways, by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving or by attending the raceday on Saturday 15 June 2019.
ENDS
For Tickets and more information PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225 Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

Jockeys will swap roles when Thirsk Racecourse stages its first charity race for Stable Staff on Friday 31st August, in aid of Racing Welfare.

In a role reversal, jockeys will lead-up the 12 stable staff riders, who will be racing over 1 mile in The Creditas ‘Taking Care of Business’ Stable Staff Stakes, for the experience of a lifetime.

This is the first time the jockeys have offered to lead-up in Britain and one of Yorkshire’s top professional riders Paul Mulrennan said, “We are excited to be doing this as stable staff are the unsung heroes of racing and work tirelessly behind the scenes.  I just hope we do as good a job as they do.”

The riders have been nominated to participate by their respective trainers and Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey, who has a runner in the race said, “It is such a great idea to offer this opportunity to the stable staff and we are delighted to be involved.”

The charity race has been generously sponsored by Creditas Financial Solutions Limited, whose Chief Executive, Andy Shaw, will be presenting a fantastic racing saddle to the winning jockey.  All the riders will be raising money for Racing Welfare, which is there to support anyone working within the British horseracing industry.

Thirsk Clerk of the Course James Sanderson said, “Thirsk is delighted to host this charity initiative on behalf of Racing Welfare. All credit to the sponsor, Creditas, the charity-race riders, owners, trainers and to those professional jockeys who are volunteering to lead-up the runners, for their tremendous collective efforts on behalf of Racing Welfare.”

The Creditas ‘Taking Care of Business’ Stable Staff Stakes  is scheduled at 1.30pm, with the first race of the main programme scheduled at 2pm.  Gates open from 11.30am.

Entry to the Premier Enclosure costs £23 on the day, Paddock Enclosure costs £15 and Family Enclosure starts from £6.  Discounts are available if booked in advance along with great reductions for the special packages and for group bookings whilst, as always, adult accompanied children under 18 get in free. For more information go to www.thirskracecourse.net

YORKSHIRE trainer Les Eyre will be aiming to upset the odds in the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes at York on Friday – just like he did 21 years ago in the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap.
East Riding-based Eyre will be on the Knavesmire to saddle his stable star, Sandra’s Secret, who runs in exactly the same colours as that 1997 Ebor winner, Far Ahead.
Sunpak Racing’s mare has been an absolute revelation so far this season.
The fast ground-loving five-year-old rattled off a three-timer between May 20 and June 15, rising from 80 to 97 in the official handicap in the process.
Her last win came at York in the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap.
Eyre, who trains 22 thoroughbreds at Ivy House Stables in Catwick, said: “She has been a credit to the yard. She has improved out of all recognition.”
Asked to put the finger on her marked progression, Eyre laughed and said: “If I only knew I’d be visiting York more often!
“She is a happy little horse and she’s done it all herself, to be truthful.”
Since her hat-trick, Sandra’s Secret has finished second in a five-furlong Listed race at Ayr.
Now she is set to return to her favoured six-furlong trip and a shot at Group-race glory, albeit taking on Could It Be Love from Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle stable as well as fillies from the top yards of Richard Hannon and William Haggas, among others.
But Eyre added: “She doesn’t know about them; she runs her own race.
“She deserves to take her chance, she really does.
“She is in great form. She thrives on her work.
“She takes a fair while to get fit – she can be quite stuffy – but once she’s there, she’s there. I don’t do a hell of a lot with her in between racing.”
Eyre’s small string has done him proud so far this term. The winners have been flowing, including a treble in May – the first of his near 30-year career.
He said: “We’ve had a cracking year. I think we’re on 13 or 14 winners.”
The £65,000 William Hill Summer Stakes is the feature of Friday’s seven-race card at York, which gets underway at 2.05pm. Saturday is John Smith’s Cup today in which the £200,000 heritage handicap is preceded by a newly upgraded Group 3 and a Listed race.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

The richest ever running of the famous John Smith’s Cup raceday will see £385,000 on offer for the 59th staging of a day that contains the famous handicap itself, Saturday 14 July. The £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme that now includes the newly upgraded John Smith’s Silver Cup as a Group Three contest worth £65,000 and the Listed John Smith’s City Walls sprint. In each of the last two years the prize money has risen by nearly £20,000 each season.

The headline contest is the longest continuous commercial sponsorship of a flat race in the country, an arrangement that will now reach at least the Diamond Jubilee of the contest – as the racecourse previously announced a further extension of the deal with Heineken.

With the prospect of hotly contested races matched by the forecast, the decision has been taken to relax the dress code in the County Stand Enclosure for both days. Gentlemen can leave their jackets at home, though a collared shirt and tie is still required.

The opening day on the Friday features the Group Three William Hill Summer Stakes, offering a black type opportunity to the fastest filly down the six furlong course.

One of Europe’s most prestigious and competitive middle-distance heritage handicap contests, Saturday’s renewal of The John Smith’s Cup is contested over the extended one mile and a quarter. The winning owner can look forward to receiving the specially-commissioned Wedgwood challenge trophy.

Fougalle was the first winner of this famous race back in 1960, and since then there have been many dramatic moments, with the race becoming a major betting heat of the summer. In 2017, Ballet Concerto provided trainer Sir Michael Stoute his second success in the race, coming nearly thirty years after Icona landed the spoils in 1989. Jockey, James Doyle, enjoyed a debut win.

One of only two contests to receive such an upgrade, the Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup continues to be a proving ground for stayers, last year, Rare Rhythm, showed his potential for Charlie Appleby in the Godolphin colours before winning at an even higher level in Dubai.

The sprinters have their say in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls over five furlongs and the 2016 winner, Marsha, went on to multiple success at Group One level, including the Coolmore Nunthorpe, before going into the record books when she was sold to become a broodmare.

Always one of the big days of the year, this event has become a showcase for ‘Yorkshire’s Finest’, and sees John Smith’s treasuring its Yorkshire roots with a full Yorkshire menu of locally-sourced and home-made food. In addition, there will be a number of cask ales available at the racecourse, thanks to collaboration with fellow Yorkshire brewers, Theakston’s.

Wider Yorkshire sporting and physical prowess will be on show as the crew and craft of team Row4Victory will be by the Frankel statue; these four fearless friends will be rowing 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic, in what is described as the ‘World’s toughest endurance race’.

The highlight on Friday, The William Hill Summer Stakes, is a Group Three sprint contest over six furlongs for fillies and mares, has seen its purse increase to £65,000. Last year’s race was won by Mystic Dawn for Newmarket trainer, David Simcock.

Friday sees a number of other long-standing supporters of the Knavesmire return with both Jigsaw Sports Branding and Acturis back in attendance; alongside the accountancy firm responsible for audit matters at the track, Garbutt + Elliott. Once again, it is an “ITM Friday” as the Irish organisation responsible for promoting bloodstock sales from the emerald isle back a five furlong handicap. The final race of Friday gives apprentice riders their chance and welcomes a new supporter in Gough & Kelly, a Yorkshire firm specialising in security products and services for schools or hospitals amongst other sites.

The two days of racing get underway with an interesting novice contest over the unusual distance of five and a half furlongs. It is among the twenty-one contests backed by the European Breeders’ Fund.
Catering for broad musical tastes, both days offer the summer vibe of a steel band or Murphy’s Marbles brand of foot-stomping Irish tunes. Saturday also hosts Paradise Lane performing their melodic set of popular covers on the bandstand as the last race crosses the line.

The newly installed Giant Screen overlooking the Roberto Lawn will continue to offer uninterrupted coverage of the FIFA World Cup; providing a home to Wimbledon coverage on Friday and earlier on Saturday.

A number of other giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action on both days, along with racing from Newmarket’s July Meeting and Ascot. The popular punters’ panel held prior to racing on the winners’ podium will preview the card on both days.

The famous two year old contests at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival often unearth future equine greats and the 2018 contests promise much.

At the first entries stage, the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack includes a brace of Royal Ascot winners; as the impressive Calyx hopes to follow up success in the Coventry Stakes so overcoming the Windsor Castle victor, Soldiers Call. Both sets of silks, Juddmonte and Clipper Logistics, will be familiar to regular racegoers as will those carried by Rathbone, whose owner, Mrs Angie Bailey, landed this £225,000 race with Astaire in 2013.

Some sixteen horses from four different Yorkshire yards sit alongside a dozen possible contestants from Ireland, including eight from the powerful Coolmore operation in County Tipperary.

The winning owner on Friday 24th August earns the unusual opportunity of the chance to address the Gimcrack Dinner, being staged at York in December for the 248th time this year.

Amongst the fillies entered in the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther, it could again be a showdown between winners at the Royal Meeting. The Malton yard of John Quinn will be hoping that Signora Cabello can continue her fine form of successive wins in the Listed Marygate on the Knavesmire followed by the Group Two Queen Mary in Berkshire; with Main Edition seeking to continue her improvement after Group Three success for Middleham handler, Mark Johnston. Successful in France in Group company, Little Kim, offers supporters of another Yorkshire yard, that of Karl Burke, hope of taking the £225,000 prize.

Appropriately run as part of Ladies Day at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, the Sky Bet Lowther is set to be the opening contest of Thursday 23 August.

TRAINER Roger Varian will bid to land a second John Smith’s Cup when Appeared runs in the £200,000 heritage handicap at York on Saturday.

Farraaj gave Newmarket-based Varian victory in the 55th renewal of the famous race staged over an extended mile and a quarter, back in 2014

The 59th running of the John Smith’s Cup will see Varian rely on the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned, Appeared.

The son of Dubawi has run just once so far in 2018 when a solid fourth in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot

Dash Of Spice won on that occasion and is the market leader for this weekend’s feature on the Knavesmire.

This time around Varian’s charge will benefit from a 5lb ‘pull’ in the weights with that rival.

Appeared has done most of his recent running over a mile and a half with one of his three career victories coming at York back in May 2016.

But connections are hopeful that the drop down in trip will not be an inconvenience to the six-year-old.

Varian said: “Appeared ran a blinder to finish fourth in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot and he has come out of the race in fine form.

“He loves fast ground and won well at York a couple of seasons ago. His strong travelling style of running suggests he is worth a try at this shorter trip, particularly as it is a course where they often get racing a long way from home.

“Although he doesn’t look to have masses in hand (from the handicapper), he remains lightly raced for his age and the 5lb pull with Dash Of Spice ought to bring them closer together.

“York has put on a fantastic prize fund for the race and Appeared looks to hold a fighting chance in what seems a typically-competitive renewal. I am very much looking forward to running him”

York’s two-day meeting starts at 2.05pm on Friday afternoon. The highlight of a seven-race card is the Group 3 Summer Stakes..

THUNDERING Blue will bid for a course and distance repeat when he contests the 59th John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday.

The David Menuisier-trained five-year-old was impressive when winning a handicap over an extended mile and a quarter on the Knavesmire at the Dante Festival in May.

The gelding was unable to replicate that form over a mile and a half at Royal Ascot last time out, finishing down the field that day.

But Menuisier is happy to draw a line through that run and is looking forward to bringing his charge back to York for a tilt at the historic £200,000 heritage handicap.

The Sussex-based trainer said: “He has won four races over this distance and always looks like he’ll go further. That’s why it was interesting to step him up in trip for Ascot to try and find some improvement.

“But there were quite a few circumstances that day that made him run as he did, really.

“He was drawn very wide, which doesn’t really suit the way the horse has to be ridden. He was just shuffled back too far.

“And the ground was too quick for him, I thought. The ground dried out dramatically throughout the day as it was quite warm and windy.

“Also, the track possibly didn’t suit him perfectly well.

“I still don’t know whether he stays a mile and four. But I am more than happy to go back to a mile and a quarter because he is proven over it.

“He is a winner over course (York) and distance, so obviously we know that there won’t be any surprise there.

“The ground should be fairly similar to the ground he ran on at the Dante meeting, so we would be hopeful.

“He came out of Ascot absolutely fine because when Frankie (Dettori) saw that the horse was beaten he hasn’t been overly hard on him. He kind of looked after him in the last furlong.

“So he has actually come out of Ascot really well and is in super form. In my opinion he is in as good a form as he was before the Dante meeting.”

York’s two-day fixture starts on Friday when the £65,000 Group 3 Summer Stakes will be the highlight.

Saturday’s seven-race card is worth almost £400,000 and, as well as the John Smith’s Cup, includes the upgraded Group 3 John Smith’s Silver Cup and a Listed sprint contest, the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes..

For tickets for either day please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

NEWMARKET-based trainer David Elsworth is all set to send progressive colt, Dash Of Spice, for the 59th renewal of the John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday.

Elsworth also plans to be represented in the £200,000 heritage handicap by Master The World.

But it is the four-year-old Dash Of Spice who is sure to attract plenty of interest when he attempts to pull off a notable three-timer this weekend.

The Jeff Smith-owned son of Teofilo registered high-profile victories at Epsom on Derby day and also at Royal Ascot in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Now he must shoulder 9st 7lb and step back in distance by almost two furlongs to an extended mile and a quarter.

Elsworth said of the market leader: “He is at a progressive stage of his career – he’s improved the last couple of runs.

“This is a drop back in trip of course. It was a mile and a half at Epsom and Ascot.

“But he has got plenty of ability to win over a mile and a quarter, of course he has.

“Mr Smith is an ambitious, speculative man, despite his modesty, and he has entered him in the Juddmonte International. Even though the horse has a lump of weight to carry this would give us an indication whether or not he’s chasing rainbows.”

Master The World has shown a liking for York in the past and scored in a mile handicap at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival four years ago.

Now seven years old he is still a classy campaigner as he demonstrated when winning the Group 3 Winter Derby at Lingfield in February. The grey is set to carry top weight of 9st 10lb.

Elsworth said: “He is always a danger. He’s bound for Goodwood after York where he’ll contest the mile race which he’s won and been second in.

“He’ll probably go and have another crack at that. But this race, while sort of a prep, he’s not going in there as a forlorn hope. He’s a course winner and sluiced up with Kieren (Fallon) one day there, I remember.

“Those who know seem to underrate him a bit, I think. He’s quite useful. He’s not there to make the numbers up.
“He’s run well over a mile and a quarter. There’s every indication, if it’s a good gallop, he’ll finish well. So he goes there with a sporting chance.”

York’s two-day fixture starts on Friday when the £65,000 Group Three Summer Stakes will be the highlight.

Saturday’s racing gets underway at 1.55pm with the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes, one of seven contests on the card.

For tickets for either day please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

York Racecourse is proud to be supporting the Bloom! Festival in York City Centre, as it gets underway on Thursday 5 July through to Sunday 8 July.

The event celebrates the 250 year anniversary of The Ancient Society of York Florists, the world’s oldest horticultural society; so it is apt that one of the floral displays in the city centre has been created by York Racecourse’s Head Gardener, Zac Rafferty, who has a Master’s Degree in Horticulture from the RHS.

The team of three gardeners based at the Knavesmire have created a stunning display that comprised of over 250 plants of near a dozen varieties with Crocosmia, Salvia, Begonia, Cordyline, Nicotiana, Osteospernum, Fucshia, Calibrachoa, Pelargonium, Gypsophilia and Verbena all featured. Sitting atop the floral display is a 1.5m high equine model of a racehorse created by local design house WeLoveThis. A feature that makes it clear to visitors that the display originates from the Knavesmire, a sporting venue even older than the Society of Florists, with racing first staged there in 1731.

Zac and his team, which includes former flat jockey, John Murray, are responsible for all the floral displays at York Racecourse and have been the proud recipients of a Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award for each of the last five seasons. Regular visitors to York Racecourse will be familiar with the more than sixty hanging baskets, extensive flower beds and white rose bushes that adorn the venue, as well as recognising that there is enough hedging to surround a World Cup Football Pitch. What they may not appreciate is that most of the flowers that go in those baskets, as well as some 45,000 bedding plants are all home grown from seed or seedling at the Middlethorpe Nursery owned by York Racecourse. The two greenhouses, recently installed pair of huge polytunnels and countless cold frames help the team create the stunning displays that border such areas as the Parade Ring, Presentation Podium or at the foot of the Frankel Statue.

The Bloom! display in Parliament Street will be in place until Sunday 8 July however the flowers at the track itself can be enjoyed on the remaining eleven racedays, starting on Friday 13 July

Entries for the Group 2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur include Latrobe; winner of last Saturday’s Irish Derby for the O’Brien family, trainer Joseph and his jockey brother, Donnacha.
The colt could face familiar competition for the £170,000 prize money, with Mark Johnston entering Dee Ex Bee, a horse trained locally in Middleham, that was second in the Investec Derby and seventh at The Curragh.
This pair is prominent in the ante post betting market for the final Classic of the season, the St Leger at Doncaster; with nine of the top ten fancies for this September race entered for York. The Sky Bet Great Voltigeur looks set to continue its role in identifying the highest calibre of three year old horses with stamina, some thirteen colts have already achieved the York/Doncaster double.
A winner at Group level at last year’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Wells Farhh Go, could be another to represent local yards, being trained near Malton by Tim Easterby. A brace of Royal Ascot victors, Old Persian (King Edward VII Stakes) and Kew Gardens (Queen’s Vase) also form part of the fifty-nine strong field at this stage.
Further entry stages and the potential for supplementary additions will add further excitement ahead of the race on Wednesday 22 August, the opening day of York’s feature festival.

York Racecourse is proud to be supporting Racing Staff Week, as it gets underway on Saturday 30 June, a day that will see York host a £150,000 seven race card.

The team at the Knavesmire have a long standing commitment to the hard working members of Racing Staff; with a six figure investment in their Stableside accommodation for racedays, meaning recent years has seen new showers, flat screen televisions in bedrooms, purchasing new furniture and delivering a dining experience that meets both their tastes and operational needs.

On all eighteen racedays at York, Racing Staff benefit from a £10 food voucher, which when used on the already discounted meals in the Stableside Dining Room, would cover two meals. The provision of tea, coffee and water is free of charge at both Stableside and in the Pre Parade Ring area. Key sponsor, Al Basti Equiworld, work with York on this range of benefits.

In addition, at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, a celebration meal to mark the big race is offered with the compliments of the track.

For this special week, the food theme continues; as a free ice cream should prove popular given the current spell of warm weather.

All 122 races on the Knavesmire offer a Best Turned Out Prize; with a seasonal competition for the most awards seeing the stable receive cases of John Smith’s beer at year end. With a third of the season gone, the team from Kingsley House (Mark Johnston) sit one ahead of Musley Bank (Richard Fahey).

In addition, on Saturday 30 June, every member of Racing Staff responsible for a winner will receive a luxury hamper from the Racecourse.

Racing Welfare are regular partners of York, for example showcasing their Mental Health Awareness Initiative during the Dante Festival. On Saturday, they will be at Stableside to offer support, both emotional and practical, as an example of the latter, in the form of goody bags.

Mindful of the weather and the physical nature of the role, the racecourse is able to give access to sun cream, after sun, plasters, rehydration sachets and such.

Keen to promote the good work done by these often unsung heroes, both the racecard and raceday television will showcase their efforts to the over 35,000 expected racegoers.

L The exciting prospect of the feature races at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival (23-25 August) became a little clearer, as the first stage of entries have been confirmed.

The richest race of the season, the £1 million Juddmonte International features the best known names of middle distance racing, the winners of some thirty one previous titles at the highest level, from around the racing world. What is termed the classic generation aged three, look likely to be championed by Investec Derby winner, Masar, carrying the Godolphin blue silks. The two highest rated horses in Europe from 2017, Cracksman and Enable both hold entries, offering a battle of the sexes amongst the older horses. With four winners at Royal Ascot entered, the race could yet again signpost the champion horse of the year.

Wednesday 22 August marks the thirtieth staging of this Group One contest under the Juddmonte sponsorship so it would particularly apt were Enable to repeat the success of Twice over and Frankel in landing the contest for Owner, Prince Khalid Abdulla.

Last season, Enable won the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks and she is also entered for the chance to defend that title. Potential opponents include, French Oaks winner Laurens, trained in Yorkshire by Karl Burke and Royal Ascot winner Magic Wand; in a race that is often sees a rivalry between the generations played out over the one mile and four furlong distance.

 

Both the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday 23 August and the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes to be run on Friday 24 August offer prize money of £350,000.

 

Independently rated as the joint highest sprint race in the world last season, the field in the Coolmore Nunthorpe have a reputation to live up to. With dual Group One winner, US Navy Flag from Aidan O’Brien’s County Tipperary yard set to take on international raider, Redkirk Warrior. The global nature of the sprinting division has seen previous Australian speedster, Ortensia, land this race. The British based contenders include Royal Ascot winner, Blue Point, who has winning form over the Knavesmire having taken the 2016 renewal of the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes.

Yorkshire interest in the Juddmonte International rests with top trainers, Mark Johnston who has the pair of Elarqam (a York maiden winner) and Mildenberger in the lists; with the Malton flag bearer being, Forest Ranger, from Richard Fahey’s yard. Amongst the fillies, Laurens, from Karl Burke’s yard represents the white rose county. Sprint hopes rest again with Karl Burke (Havana Grey) and Richard Fahey (Mr Lupton), aided by Julie Camacho courtesy of Judicial and Bryan Smart’s Alpha Delphini. Based in the south of the county, David Griffiths has three possible runners in Take Cover, Ornate and Duke of Firenze. Add in two time winner Michael Dods, who sends Mabs Cross from just over the County border in Darlington.

Overall entry numbers for the three races are healthy with an increased number for both the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Nunthorpe.

 

 

TOM Scudamore will return to York this Saturday aiming to secure a second successive win in the £25,000  “Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe” backed by Sun Bets.

The race is yet more valuable than last year when Scudamore paired up with Tylery Wonder to win the inaugural staging, by an impressive four lengths.

Twelve months on and ‘Scu’ is set renew acquaintance with the Paul Midgley-trained gelding.

The weekend’s race sees many of his jump jockey colleagues swap stamina-laden hurdlers and chasers for the speedsters of the Flat.

They will race over the same flying five furlongs as used for the famous Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, every August.

A huge crowd will be there to cheer them home, as capacity has already been reached on the Stands Side ahead of the day. This means that those who did not buy tickets in advance will need to view from the refurbished Clocktower Enclosure which will open for sale at 11.15am on Saturday.

Scudamore said: “It was a great experience last year. I got a huge buzz out of it – it’s something I really enjoyed.

“Riding in a sprint is something we only get to do once a year. It’s something we all look forward to and we’ve been winding each other up for weeks about it, really!

“It’s a lovely day out and we get well looked after. It’s a different experience.

“None of us get the opportunity to go racing at York – normally there’s jump racing on the same day. It’s a fantastic racecourse.

“I suppose it’s a bit like a busman’s holiday. You are going there to work but it’s a different thing. It’s something we all want to be part of.’

Scudamore also hinted that the date has been in his diary for a while now.

He added: “I’ve been in touch with Paul throughout the year if I’m honest. He has got a great record, training sprinters. Hopefully we can team up to good effect again.”

Scudamore maintains that it will be good fun. But Yorkshire-based Midgley – a former jump jockey himself – laughed as he said: “Whenever there’s prize money involved, don’t worry, they always take it seriously!”

And Midgley, who trains at Westow, is delighted to once more be able to call on Scudamore’s expertise.

He is hoping that the man who rode Thistlecrack to King George VI Chase glory at Kempton in 2016 can revive Tylery Wonder.

The eight-year-old has yet to win this season and his official handicap mark is 4lb lower than when he triumphed previously at York.

Midgley said: “Tom is a proper gent. It was great to get him on board last year and he gave him a peach of a ride. It was him that won the race as much as the horse.

“Tylery Wonder is probably not in quite as good form on the racecourse this year going into the race. But luckily Tom has stuck by him.

“He has become well handicapped again but at the same time he has become well handicapped for a reason.

“He is a horse that loves a flat galloping track and that’s one thing he must have for him to be at his best. Hopefully he’ll go and run a good race for Tom on Saturday.”

The first race of seven at York on Saturday has a scheduled start time of 1.35pm.

 

On Saturday Macmillan Charity Raceday comfortably passed the landmark figure of £8m raised for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities since the enduring partnership between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support was first started in 1971.It is Macmillan’s biggest single fundraising event and the largest charity raceday in British Racing.

Despite a showery afternoon, over 21,000 racegoers enjoyed an action packed afternoon which saw the £100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint go to Encrypted, carrying the famous Juddmonte silks, as Hugo Palmer and Josephine Gordon combined to give Prince Khalid Abdullah.  Another big race winner. The total raised on Saturday currently stands at over £470,000 with final fundraising and donations still to be received.

The finale to Macmillan Charity Raceday saw history made as the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives had two winners, after the judge called a dead heat, between X Rated and Apterix.

This meant that two riders, Sarah Fanning and Chris Brownless, were both winners of the race. Perhaps, more importantly, the group of 11 riders and their supporters raised £110,000 for the charity.

Sarah Fanning, 37, from Middleham, said: “I was so nervous at the start; it’s surreal that I’ve won with Chris. Everyone has done amazingly well and raised so much money for Macmillan. That’s what it’s all about.”

Chris Brownless, the oldest competitor, aged 64, from Wooler, Northumberland said: “It’s a special day. I was riding today in memory of my brother who died from cancer in 2015. He would have been 60 today.”

The group included Chris Hughes, star of ITV2’s Love Island and Coral’s #LoveRacing ambassador who came with a late run to finish 5th in the race. Earlier in the day, Chris staged a successful selfie station for fans to have pictures with him, in return for donations to Macmillan. Commenting on the past six months as well as today, he said “It was an amazing experience and the support from the crowd was unbelievable. I’m disappointed not to win but I’ve loved every minute of the race, the day and the months of training leading up to today, and just want to have another go now. I would like to thank Coral, Jonjo O’Neill, Richard Fahey and Dominic Elsworth and all the other people who’ve all made this possible. It’s one of the best things I’ve done. My fellow jockeys have all been incredible supportive and we’d like to thank everyone who has raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support.”

Over 200 volunteers helped with the fundraising events across the day with in addition to the support of countless individuals and organisations with fundraising activities of auctions, raffles, fundraising lunch and donations.  Of the £8m raised, 90% goes to Macmillan Cancer Support to improve the lives of people living with cancer.  The remaining 10% goes to a number of charities such as York Against Cancer, St Leonard’s Hospice, Racing Welfare and the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a success. At Macmillan we rely on donations to fund our services and help people living with cancer life live as fully as they can, so we’re hugely grateful to everyone that has been involved.”

William Derby, York Racecourse Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course commented; “To have raised over £8m is an amazing achievement and a tribute to everyone past and present who has contributed to make this raceday such a wonderful event.  Countless individuals and organisations have been so generous with their time, involvement and support of the day from throughout the racing and Yorkshire community – it is a special day everyone associated with it can be very proud of.”

Andrew Denton, Head of Member Services at Best Western Hotels, the long term sponsor of the race said: “This is the sporting event of the summer, forget the World Cup! Eleven ordinary people doing something extraordinary for charity, and Best Western is proud to be supporting Macmillan and the riders for the third year running in the incredible Ride of their Lives.”

Macmillan Charity Raceday is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. The day of professional racing and fundraising has been held annually since 1971, and has now raised more than £8 million in total for Macmillan and other charitable causes.

You can still donate to the riders’ fundraising pages at: www.macmillan.org.uk/charityraceday<http://www.macmillan.org.uk/charityraceday>

TRAINER David Simcock is planning to have runners in Listed company at York on both this Friday and Saturday, as the Knavesmire hosts a pair of £50,000 contests.

Newmarket-based Simcock expects to send out either Breton Rock or Arod in the mrgreen.com Live Casino Ganton Stakes on the opening day of the latest two-day meeting on the Knavesmire.

He also has Algometer and Curbyourenthusiasm entered in Saturday’s Sky Bet Grand Cup, with the former most likely to run.

The four horses have a cumulative age of 27 and Simcock loves having such seasoned campaigners in his string.

The master of Trillium Place said: “It doesn’t matter who you are, anybody would want those type of horses. They’re fun and every one of them is likely to have their day or be there and thereabouts.”

Underfoot conditions will determine whether eight-year-old Breton Rock or the year younger Arod lines up in the mrgreen.com Live Casino Ganton Stakes, staged over a mile.

Breton Rock, who won a Group 2 at the Qatar Goodwood Festival last year, could have his second start of the season after finishing fifth of seven in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom on Derby day. That was a race that Arod, a Listed winner at Windsor a month ago, was pulled out of due to ground that was softer than his preference.

Simcock said: “Breton Rock going to Epsom was an afterthought. It wouldn’t be an ideal track for him but the ground came up easy and it was a chance to get a run into him. He’ll be much better for it.

“He will run at York if it’s on the slow side and Arod will run if it’s on the faster side.

“Arod is in very good order at the moment. He was second at Kempton first time out this year – he dusted away a few cobwebs. And then he was good at Windsor. We would love to have run him at Epsom but in my opinion he’s definitely better on faster ground.

“He is a horse that looks good at home. He is not short of speed and a mile is probably his perfect trip.”

Saturday’s Sky Bet Grand Cup, which is contested over a mile and three-quarters, is being run a little later this season to accommodate the new Group 3 Al Basti Equiworld Brontë Cup, which formed part of the card on Saturday 26 May at York.

Simcock is likely to be represented in the race by Algometer, a previous Group 3 winner. The trainer feels the five-year-old will build on his seasonal bow at Goodwood where he finished sixth of seven in a mile and a quarter Listed race.

He said: “I’d like to think Algometer will definitely run – I’ll probably leave Curbyourenthusiasm until the Northumberland Plate.

“Algometer lacked sharpness, pace at Goodwood. Now he is another year older he is probably a touch slower. He will have been rusty – he’d been a long time off. And he had a health issue at the end of April which cost us a couple of weeks.”

Simcock’s best chance of a winner at York’s next meeting may just be Sarshampla who is returning to the course after finishing fifth of 11 in the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes, a Listed race held at the Dante Festival.

That assignment was over five furlongs and on Friday she returns to six furlongs for the first time since her debut as she tackles the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies Handicap.

Simcock said: “It was a very good run last time. She found it all happening a little bit quickly but she stayed on well. The six furlongs on a flat fast track should suit her.”

Building on 48 years of popularity with racing fans and with over £7.5 million already raised for good causes, Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse this Saturday (16 June) promises to be an afternoon of quality racing that again helps those in most need.

Saturday’s principal race is The Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint, run in memory of the inspirational shoe retailer, Cathy Paver, who died last year.  One of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds, it offers prize money of £100,000. The roll of honour in this race over six furlongs includes top sprinters such as Cadeaux Genereux, Sheikh Albadou and more recently, Twilight Sun.

Still a relative new aspect of the event, the day will end with Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives, a chance for a dozen supporters to participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each has pledged at least £3,000 to the charity and you can help them beat last year’s contribution of over £150,000 by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving.

The charity auction so generously supported over the years is now available to view online in advance of the raceday.  This means everyone can place a bid for the many stunning lots. One of the more unusual lots this year comes courtesy of comedian Russ Noble who has offered two tickets to any of his UK tour dates with the chance to meet him. Visit www.macmillanyorkraceday.co.uk<http://www.macmillanyorkraceday.co.uk> for more information on how to make your bid.

Since 2012, a Listed race has featured on the Saturday racing programme supported alongside the Charity Race by York-based, Best Western Hotels.  This year the Sky Bet Grand Cup over fourteen furlongs takes that slot with the Mr Green’s Ganton Stakes run over a mile, moving to the Friday card. Both offer prize money of £50,000 and so provide another reason to attend the meeting, just by attending on Saturday, racegoers will increase the money raised for charity.

Racing on Saturday begins at 1.50pm, with the 30th running of The Queen Mother’s Cup, the richest race for lady amateur riders in Britain and a contest won by The Princess Royal in 1988 as well as by ITV Racing presenter, Francesca Cumani in 2006.  It offers an opportunity for the successful rider to toast her success in her own weight of G.H. Mumm champagne.

Known as a world leader in construction technology, JCB, support a valuable handicap over seven furlongs.  The high standard continues on this Charity Raceday with The Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes – a contest for two-year-olds named in honour of the founder of this Charity Day in 1971.  The Ice Co° back a competitive handicap for the sixth year that denotes their support of Macmillan, a link that was cemented when company director, Polly Marr, rode in the Ride of Their Lives Race of 2013.

Macmillan Charity Day is part of a two-day meeting with racing on the Friday beginning with one of twenty-two contests at York to benefit from the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund in conjunction with Jigsaw Sports Branding. The Newmarket based organisation also support a valuable contest that forms part of their progressive fillies series, with £30,000 on offer for this handicap over six furlongs.

The switch of the Listed Ganton Stakes, backed by online casino and gaming brand, Mr Green, means that the York policy of every card on the Knavesmire being worth six figures is cemented, on this occasion, some £160,000, is the cumulative prize money sum.

With an on course presence on every Friday at York, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing sponsor a valuable handicap contest over the seven furlong trip.  The SKF Rous Selling Stakes has now been supported for more than a dozen years by engineering company, SKF (UK) Ltd.  Then Goffs UK will bring the excitement of the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure with an auction straight after the race.  Apprentices get their chance in the finale, backed by Coopers Marquees.

On a card full of variety both on and off the track, Mr Green are offering racegoers the chance for a complimentary shave, shoe shine or proper shirt fitting, as part of their fun Gentleman’s Corner activity.

The ‘Punters’ Panel’ takes place prior to racing on both days from the winner’s podium as a preview to the action on each day, while giant screens will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.

As part of a series of initiatives to get closer to the sport, groups of racegoers will be able to enjoy accompanied, complimentary trips to the round course starts.  On Saturday, they will also have the chance to meet a retired racehorse, Harry, courtesy of equine charity, New Beginnings.

The wider sporting tastes of the weekend will be catered for a dedicated giant screen showing the FIFA World Cup matches that coincide with the raceday.

True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £33.  Other tastes are catered for with an extended range of craft beers brewed by Ainsty Ales just beyond the six furlong start, the introduction of premium mixers from Fever-Tree to join the premium spirits served on the smart Moët Ice Roof Terrace, or the easy availability of Heineken 0.0 as a refreshing, zero alcohol option.

Musical accompaniment to the action will take the form of three different bands; Dr Thirsty performing with their upbeat fun in the Knavesmire Courtyard, whilst the equally upbeat Superlicks will draw proceedings will be brought to a close on Saturday.  On both afternoons, Dr Jazz will entertain the crowds.

 

As part of Mr Green’s Gentleman’s Day on Friday 15 June, York Racecourse is set to welcome a barber, tailor and shoe shine experts, as well as the thousands of racegoers.

In addition to supporting the £50,000 Listed Ganton Stakes, the award winning online casino operator and sports betting brand wants to help create the world of its mysterious figurehead, Mr Green.

So the racegoers will be able to take advantage of a range of services within “Gentleman’s Corner”.

If you can tell a true gentleman by the state of his shoes, then the Steel City Shoe Shine Company can come to rescue, as Joseph and his team will be offering a first class shine, whilst customers relax in the bespoke shining chairs.

Other people will tell you that a true gentleman can only be discerned by the quality of his shave; so step forward, the team from nationally renowned brand Barber Barber, offering shaves to racegoers from their own big chair.

For some people, a gentleman will be defined by the cut of his cloth; which is where Cuffs & Co will aid racegoers by providing a bespoke measuring service, so they can find a shirt that matches their true fit, rather than the vanity measurements of some retailers. A high quality shirt should be worn with proper cufflinks and those newly shined shoes merit smart socks. Phil Pinder and his team, based on York’s own Shambles, will be on hand to advise prospective gentleman on all these things.

Part of the fun of the raceday, all these services will be available without charge to racegoers on Stands Side, though it is hoped that the presence of donation buckets ahead of Macmillan Charity Raceday just twenty four hours later will be well used by those enjoying a spruce up.

Don’t Miss Out The combination of a live concert from Paloma Faith with a seven race card, backed by Sunbets, has proven so popular that the tickets for Stands Side are nearly all gone.
People wanting to have the opportunity to get close to the stage or to enjoy the Champagne Terraces are being advised to act quickly to secure some of the few remaining badges and tickets, for Saturday 30 June.
Badges for County Stand start at £37.50 (for a group of 6 or more), with Grandstand and Paddock available from £25 (for a group of 6 or more).
The Clocktower Enclosure (called the Picnic Enclosure by some) in the middle of the racecourse is only open to sales once gates open at 11.15am, so there will still be an opportunity, subject to availability, to be part of the racing and music by using this area; even after the Stands Side admissions are all sold.
Also, there are places available in both the Ebor and Voltigeur Restaurants; these offer the chance for a real treat; including admission, a reserved viewing area for racing (that also offers an elevated, if long distance view of the music stage) as well as gourmet food for the day. The restaurant prices start from £199+vat to include morning coffee, the grand buffet & carvery as well as afternoon tea. Drinks are available to purchase in the Voltigeur Restaurant and are included in the Ebor Restaurant price of £250+vat. Call 01904 638971 for details.
During July, at the Music Showcase Weekend, there are two further racing + music events when Sir Tom Jones will perform after racing on Friday evening 27 July; then Boyzone take to the stage as part of their farewell tour, after an afternoon of racing on Saturday 28 July. Whilst both of these dates are also proving popular, there is availability for all areas, County Stand, Grandstand & Paddock and Clocktower Enclosure (on the day).
To get hold of the last remaining tickets for Saturday 30 June, visit yorkracecourse.co.uk or call 01904 620911 (during office hours).

We’re lucky enough to have some fantastic sporting action on our doorstep in West Yorkshire with Rugby League and Horse Racing being two of the biggest spectator sports in both the region and nationally. On Monday 11th June – our Rugby League Evening – some of our fantastic local Rugby League teams (Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity) will be taking over Pontefract Races for one night only!
There are some fantastic offers about – season ticket holders with any of the clubs will be able to come along on the night and pay just £5 to get in to the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure – just don’t forget to bring your season ticket along with you!
Those wanting to make a night of it can meet their teams’ heroes with the VIP Package. For just £42, fans will have the opportunity to meet, greet and mingle with their favourite players in the luxury of the private Rugby League Hospitality Box. With private viewing balconies overlooking the Parade Ring and Winning post, as well as a fantastic hot buffet and a table for the evening, it’s a fantastic opportunity to really make it a night to remember.
The 6f Mr Wolf Sprint Handicap remembers one of the all-time Ponte greats. Runners in this race have a huge mountain to climb to emulate the great Mr Wolf – he ran at Pontefract an incredible 36 times throughout his career, winning here on 8 occasions. He ran his last race at the course back in July 2012 but will be back on the night to parade before racing starts.
The race itself is always competitive and last years winner Golden Apollo trained by Tim Easterby took the contest by an impressive 5 lengths to Parnassian. Golden Apollo went on to win a £100,000 race 5 days later at York and struck the front again in August at the Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot.
Pontefract is geographically well placed and attracts runners from all over the country. There’s an added incentive for runners in the 1m4f handicap – The Wakefield Trinity Handicap Stakes – as this race has been upgraded from a Class 4 to a Class 2, and now has a total prize fund of £25,000.
If you are driving to this meeting make sure you collect your Designated Driver voucher from the Car Park Attendants. These vouchers can be used in the Racecourse to get 2 bottles of Harrogate Spa Water free of charge.
The Racecourse’s ‘Postcode Lottery’ promotion gives those with a DN postcode the chance to pick up a free ticket. There are 100 tickets available! For full information, please view the Racecourse website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk
Racing gets underway at 6.40pm and the gates open at 4.30pm.

Quinn sets sights on £50,000 sprint

TRAINER Ralph Beckett welcomes the addition of the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Brontë Cup to the racing calendar and will send Isabel De Urbina for the inaugural running of the Group 3 at York this Saturday.

The £90,000 mile and three-quarter race for older fillies and mares forms part of a wider initiative to encourage such horses to remain in training beyond their three-year-old season.

Isabel De Urbina has exactly the type of profile the programme has been designed for, stepping up in grade after winning the Listed-class Daisy Warwick Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month.

Hampshire-based Beckett said: “I think it is a good initiative. There is only one other group, I think I’m right in saying, over this trip for fillies in the calendar – the Lillie Langtry- which has been upgraded to group 2 as part of the same initiative. So in that sense it’s a welcome initiative.”

At 100, the four-year-old Isabel De Urbina is the highest-rated of the six-strong field. Her rivals will include the French-trained filly Do Re Mi Fa Sol who was second in Listed company three weeks ago.

Beckett added: “As far as Isabel De Urbina is concerned the programmers have got it right in that the race fits very well from the Daisy Warwick. I’m looking forward to running her. She should benefit from the step up in trip as well.”

Isabel De Urbina did her best work at the end of the mile and a half race at Goodwood, getting up late on to score by a half a length.

Beckett said: “It made her a stakes winner – she wasn’t that before. So in that sense it was not only encouraging but what her owner-breeder would have wanted.”

The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Brontë Cup is one of just seven races on the £225,000 card, which gets underway at 2pm<x-apple-data-detectors://6> with the Class 2 seven-furlong Constant Security Handicap.

The second-richest race of the afternoon at York is the five-furlong £50,000 MansionBet Sprint Handicap. El Astronaute is likely to be vying for the favourite’s tag after winning a course and distance sprint at the Dante Festival last week.

The John Quinn-trained five-year-old made all on the far side to win by a neck. He has been raised 3lb to 101 for that success and this time he has been drawn towards the stands rail in stall 17 of 19.

Quinn, who trains in the village of Settrington in North Yorkshire, said: “When you win a York handicap you expect to go up so I think 3lb was fair enough and I hope he could overcome it.

“He is in very good form and he has always run very well at York, albeit last week was the first time he won there.

“He goes on fast ground, he goes on good ground – the only ground he has proved to us that that he doesn’t like is heavy and that’s rather unlikely!   “We are looking forward to running him and he is very well.”

Quinn’s team are in fine form and enjoyed two victories at the Dante Festival. As well as El Astronaute they were also on target with Signora Cabello in the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes – a Listed contest over the minimum trip.

Quinn added: “We are very pleased with Signora Cabello. She has got her ‘black type’ – her next run would be the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.”

The twin successes on the Knavesmire have really put a spring in the step of Quinn and his staff at Bellwood Cottage Stables.

He reflected: “It means everything. It’s great for the yard and for all the lads and lasses who work so hard.”

For tickets for Saturday’s race meeting, the fourth of 18 at York in 2018, please call 01904 620911 x 225<tel:01904%20620911;225> or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

 

 

York is back in action with the first Saturday of its eighteen day season (May 26).

As with every afternoon at York, the total prize money is into six figures, on this occasion over £225,000 for the seven race card, with a brand new feature race worth £90,000.

The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Brontë Cup is the newest of York’s thirty Pattern races, it is a Group Three for older fillies and mares over one and three quarter miles and forms part of a wider initiative to encourage such horses to stay in training.

This is the first opportunity for weekend racegoers to explore the latest improvements to the racegoing experience at York, such as the new Clocktower Enclosure in the centre of the course with its new facilities, infrastructure and landscape.

The first of seven Saturday afternoon fixtures this season on the Knavesmire, the day welcomes back MansionBet – this time as sponsors of the £50,000 sprint handicap. Such races are as popular with Yorkshire trainers as with Yorkshire racegoers so expect a number of the runners to hail from the white rose county.

The Yorkshire Regiment, also return to put their name to a contest for novice two-year-olds and away from the track, the Regimental Band will entertain racegoers. It is also part a racing scheme known as Plus 10, meaning that there is a bonus of £10,000, awarded to the winning connections, if the horses are qualified.

The Infinity Tyres Irish Champions Weekend EBF Fillies Stakes is one of 23 races at York to also benefit from the generous support of The European Breeders’ Fund.

Brittains Beverages who produce extraordinary spirits, including local vodka and now both rum and gin, are the backers of a middle distance handicap. Gentleman amateur riders have their opportunity in the final race of the afternoon, a handicap contest over seven furlongs, sponsored once again by York-based John Wright Electrical Services Ltd, who have worked on the facilities at the racecourse. The team behind the stewarding at the track, Constant Security, support a handicap over seven furlongs.

Racegoers will have the chance to get close to a racehorse as Yorkshire based equine charity; New Beginnings are bringing Harry, (a thoroughbred who raced here in 1994 using his professional name of Golden Hello) as well as his friend Meg the pony.

The relaxed atmosphere of the first weekend fixture is further enhanced with live musical entertainment provided by the Band of the Yorkshire Regiment on the Weighing Room Lawn and Murphy’s Marbles under the Knavesmire Stand. The upbeat style of The Monotones provides the soundtrack to the late afternoon.

The totepool ‘Punters Panel’ will preview the action before racing from the winners’ enclosure, while a new giant screen on the John Carr Terrace will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.

Those who want to find out more about this raceday and the season ahead can visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

York Racecourse is delighted to announce Al Basti Equiworld Dubai as the new sponsor of both the Group 2 Dante Stakes and the Group 2 Middleton Stakes, staged on the middle day of the Dante Festival 2019.

In a three year extension of the current partnership, the Dubai based business, founded by Malih Al Basti, will add the two feature contests to the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes which is already part of its high class sponsorship portfolio.

As an indication of a commitment to innovation, Al Basti had previously agreed to back a brand new Group 3 contest on the Knavesmire. The inaugural running of the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Brontë Cup will be this coming Saturday (26 May). There is £90,000 of prize money on offer to older fillies and mares over the staying distance of 1 mile & six furlongs.

The brand is already globally recognised as the leading provider of a wide range of equine products, and this latest support will further raise that profile, as the Dante is widely recognised as the premier trial for the Investec Derby, with ten colts having previously done the York/Epsom double.

As the racing world awaits news of whether the 2018 winner of the Dante, Roaring Lion, will head to Epsom or Chantilly; this announcement draws to a close the successful partnership with Betfred, for which the track is most grateful.

Trainer of Roaring Lion, John Gosden, also secured the 2018 Betfred Middleton Stakes courtesy of Coronet, and the impressive filly looks likely to return to Royal Ascot where she has already tasted Group 2 success. A strong performance in Berkshire would confirm a longer term planned return to the Knavesmire for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on 23 August.

Racing connections at York are already familiar with Al Basti Equiworld, as the brand has backed the new Owners’ Welcome Building since it opened in 2015, as well as the main Owners and Trainers Restaurant and the Winning Connections Building.

Founder of the business, Malih Al Basti, is particularly keen to recognise the work done by both jockeys and racing staff; so the partnership continues to provide appropriate food for the jockeys and a complimentary meal for racing staff with a runner.

Speaking about the agreement, York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe said, “The Dante is a race that regularly showcases a real equine talent, so it is very exciting news that Malih and the rest of the team at Al Basti Equiworld share my enthusiasm for this famous contest.”

Summing up the partnership, Malih Al Basti said, “York Racecourse works hard to support horsemen and I share their commitment to Owners, Trainers, Jockeys and Racing Staff so I was keen to back their efforts. The Dante and indeed the Middleton are races that echo around the racing world and I am proud that they will now carry our name.”

Lord Grimthorpe also took the opportunity to acknowledge the role of the outgoing sponsors, saying, “both races have benefitted from the support of Fred Done and his team and everyone at York is hugely grateful for their backing. The highlight on the track was probably the victory of Golden Horn who went on to take the blue riband and amongst the fillies, the success of Midday will always be a special memory for me”.

 

EVE Johnson Houghton will hand On To Victory his stiffest assignment to date when saddling him for the Group 2 MansionBet Yorkshire Cup on the Knavesmire this Friday.

The four-year-old gelding is proving quietly progressive and opened his 2018 campaign with a close-up second in a Listed race at Nottingham.

He has subsequently been raised 5lb, to a career-high rating of 108, and Johnson Houghton feels there is more to come from her charge, who only went down by a neck on his seasonal return.

The Blewbury-based trainer said: “He needed that. He has come on a ton for the run. It’s a long season – he wasn’t wound up for that.”

Even so, Johnson Houghton is aware that her Gold Cup at Royal Ascot entry will have to improve again to be similarly competitive at York – especially if last year’s Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius is declared for the £165,000 mile and three-quarter contest, which is part of the British Champions Series.

Johnson Houghton said: “Whether he is quite up to beating Stradivarius time will tell. But he is a very progressive horse and I think he’ll improve all year.

“We’ll know where we’re going after this race. If he’s not good enough for the Gold Cup then we’ll come back for the Sky Bet Ebor.”

The MansionBet Yorkshire Cup is one of three Pattern races on Friday’s seven-race card.

The opener at 2.20pm is a £50,000 Listed race for two-year-olds – the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes.

That is followed by another £50,000 Listed contest, this time for three-year-olds over a mile – the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies’ Stakes.

The Dante Festival at York runs from Wednesday, May 16 to Friday 18 May  inclusively.

CROSSED Baton has already been victorious in one Investec Derby trial – now he is set for another with connections confirming his intended appearance in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on Thursday.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s homebred colt made it three wins in four career starts when successful in the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last month.

He showed talent and tenacity in making all the running to win the Listed race by a head from My Lord And Master with Dee Ex Bee a further length and a quarter behind. The form already has a solid look to it with the runner-up and third-placed horse both finishing second in subsequent Epsom trials at Chester this week.

The John Gosden-trained Crossed Baton is now set for the stiffest assignment of his career to date, having been one of 15 horses to remain in the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes at yesterday’s latest entry stage.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid, said: “Crossed Baton worked pleasingly on Friday morning and is an intended runner in the Dante.

“I felt it was a very solid performance at Epsom. It’s always difficult to make all there and he did that. The form is at least appreciable.

“With the Derby all things become engrossing and he has come through an Epsom trial, progressed pretty nicely physically and in his work he is going the right way.

“So he deserves a shot at the Dante. I think that will give us a pretty good idea. Then you have to look at what’s going (to Epsom) and assess your chances as realistically as possible.

“Obviously if there’s a chance he could be a serious Derby contender we want to give him that chance.”

Crossed Baton is just one of many exciting horses left in the extended 10-furlong race worth £165,000.

The famous pink and green colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah may also be represented in the card’s other Group 2 – the Betfred Middleton Stakes, this time by Mori. This filly is one of nine in a select entry for the extended mile and a quarter race that has been won in recent times by top-class performers such as Sariska.

Mori, a homebred daughter out of Midday (herself a winner of this contest back in 2011), looked a potential star when winning in Listed company at Goodwood before being narrowly edged in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last season. Though her final two runs of the year saw her form dip, when softer underfoot conditions may have counted against her.

Lord Grimthorpe said: “Everything Mori has been doing recently says she is back on track. So far everything has gone nicely.”

Mori’s Ribblesdale conqueror, Coronet, is, the highest rated of the remaining entries at 113, for the £125,000 Betfred Middleton Stakes.

Thursday’s seven-race card is due to get underway at 2.20pm.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 16 to Friday 18 May 18.

TRAINER Kevin Ryan is looking forward to running smart speedster Brando at York in Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, next Wednesday.

Ryan has a fine record in the six-furlong Group 2 contest, having won it with Tiddlywinks in 2012 and Amadeus Wolf in 2007.

Owned by Mrs Angie Bailey, Brando got his 2018 campaign off to the best possible start with an authoritative success in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting.

A return to York – where he has twice come second but is yet to win – was named as the six-year-old’s next assignment following that victory.

He has since pleased Yorkshire-based Ryan who always looks to bring a strong team to York’s major meetings.

Ryan, who trains in Hambleton, some thirty miles from the track, said: “Brando is in great form.

“We were very pleased with his return at Newmarket. It was a great start to the season and hopefully he can go on.

“He has been training well and we are very happy with him.”

Brando, who won the Prix Maurice de Gheest in Deauville last August, is one of five individual Group 1 winners entered in the £125,000 Group 2 prize.

Darley July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup hero, Harry Angel, heads a potential full field of twenty, that also includes The Tin Man, Sioux Nation and Limato, as previous top-level winners.

Ryan added: “It’s great to be back racing at York.

“It’s up there with the best tracks and this is a meeting we want to be at. We aim to take our best horses there.”

The middle distance highlight of the opening day on the Knavesmire is the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, worth £100,000. Fourteen fillies have been entered in this notable Investec Oaks trial including a quintet trained by Aidan O’Brien in County Tipperary.

The seven-race card gets underway at 2:20pm with the Sky Bet Jorvik Handicap. The three-day Festival runs until Friday 18 May

ENDS

The new season at York Racecourse, which begins on Wednesday 16 May, will see the opening of a £5m improvement scheme to the grassed infield area which runs parallel to the final furlong of the track.

Along with the enhanced racegoer experience, will come a new name, The Clocktower Enclosure, which references the Listed building that enjoys an unrivalled view of the racing action, framed against the back-drop of the stands. It replaces the term “Course Enclosure”.

Main contractor, Lindum York, has delivered two large, modern toilet blocks at either end of the grass banking, twin canopies either side of the famous clocktower that offer catering and betting facilities as well as some racegoer cover, improved access for pushchairs and wheelchairs plus a refurbishment of the turnstiles.

The scheme has been an architectural challenge, with the need to preserve the near 100 year old Listed building itself whilst ensuring the new facilities are raised out of the flood plain, all in a the context of both a Heritage and Green Belt setting. Working closely with the City of York Council planning and conservation officers, taking guidance from Historic England, the design team has managed to retain the core features while adding modern infrastructure to deliver against 21st century expectations.

The area will retain its traditional atmosphere as an affordable place where families and social groups can enjoy either their own picnics or locally sourced “good food to go”. On the day, entrance prices for the Clocktower Enclosure still start at just £5 for adults, rising to only £12 for racing+music events or the Ebor Festival; there are further concessions for over 65’s and free entry for accompanied under-18 children on all racedays.

The creation of safe pathways from the entry level of the area up to the top of the banking means that racegoers with pushchairs or wheelchairs will find it easier to take advantage of the elevated viewing of the final furlong.

Two new toilet blocks have been created at the northern and southern ends of the bank acting as “bookends”, the northern one will be commissioned for the Dante Festival with its southern counterpart to follow shortly afterwards. Constructed to a twenty-first century standard, modern design makes for a light and bright environment. Of course, disabled and baby changing facilities will be present in both areas.

The Clocktower building remains the focal point of the area, with the stone blockwork of the wall that sits below it, on the western face, being restored to the original vision of the architects from the late 1920’s. The steel canopy that was added in the 1950’s shrouded this view and it has been removed. As part of the reconfiguration, stone from the same County Durham seam has been used to form the curved walls of the new toilet blocks.

A sunny afternoon picnic is how this area is often enjoyed but the scheme includes provision for the service of food and drinks from a series of kiosks set at the top of the bank. Along with the betting facilities, these are covered by lightweight canopies similar to the ones already in use on the stands side. These same canopies will afford some wet weather protection, but it was never the intention to create the scale of structure that would be required to shelter a large crowd.

As traditional picnics are welcomed in this area, the team at the racecourse are taking the opportunity to clarify with racegoers what this means. In essence, the enjoyment of finger food, served cold, using easily portable furniture. So the traditional picnic blanket and modern folding deckchairs will still be welcome, however large gazebos and other items that might spoil the view of other racegoers should be left at home. In a similar vein, the hand held treats that are found in traditional picnics will be welcomed without any charge, however the use of portable barbeques, with their smoke and risk of burns & bin fires, will no longer be possible. The area will retain its “no glass please” policy.

Speaking about the development William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said, “The course enclosure has always been an important and popular part of racing at York and I know it provides fond memories of summer days’ racing for many people, especially in the local community. We are delighted to have made this investment in this area of the course and I very much look forward to seeing generations of racegoers enjoy the enhanced facilities and improvements. It has taken a real effort by the construction and design team, in the face of some pretty miserable weather in the winter and early spring, and I thank the 300 or so workforce who have been on site to complete this scheme on time and on budget for racegoers to enjoy.”

York Racecourse is delighted to confirm that the 2018 season, which begins on Wednesday 16 May, will feature the highest quality and richest ever race programme for York’s season.

The famous Knavesmire turf will now stage thirty races across the season that are part of the Pattern (racing’s traditional method of highlighting races of high quality). It has been confirmed that the leading northern venue will host two new Group 3 races: the upgraded John Smith’s Silver Cup on 14 July and the new Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Brontë Cup on 26 May for older fillies and mares over 14 furlongs.

Prize money for the season will be over £8 million after an increase of c£500,000.

Whilst the headline boost comes for the Sky Bet Ebor, to be run at £500,000 up 75% on last season there are also increases for three other contests on the Saturday of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, including a 20% rise for the Sky Bet Melrose.

In what promises to be a bumper year for stayers on the Knavesmire, the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup itself will offer record prize money of £225,000; as well as being the final leg in the £1 million Weatherbys Hamilton bonus.

With every race at the showpiece Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival (August 22-25th) worth at least £70,000; all 122 contests over the eighteen days will offer a minimum of £15,000 in reward to connections.

Archie Watson has made a terrific start to 2018 and his multiple winner Brandon Castle is one of 27 entries for the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, which will take place at York on Friday 18 May.
The son of Dylan Thomas, who carries the colours of owner Chris Hirst, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining Lambourn-based Watson last summer.
The six-year-old has triumphed six times for Watson, most recently when taking the £100,000 Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last Saturday.
The upwardly mobile stayer mastered his rivals from the front that day and Watson is optimistic that he can make his mark in Pattern race company this season.
Watson, who has already trained 25 winners this year, said: “I think he has improved 37lb since we got him and he continues to progress.
“It helps that he absolutely loves deep ground and when he gets these conditions it makes it hard for the others to peg him back.
“Because of his running style, I think the smaller fields of these races will suit him more than big-field handicaps where there is always something to take him on.
“The plan is to go to the Further Flight at Nottingham and if that goes well then the race (Yorkshire Cup) would definitely be on the radar.”
Stradivarius could be one of the top staying prospects for the 2018 campaign and he is one of three entries in the mile-and-six-furlong Yorkshire Cup made by trainer John Gosden.
The Group 1 Goodwood Cup hero is joined by Clarehaven stable-mates Muntahaa and Weekender in the £165,000 race.
Godolphin are also well represented in the entry through Frontiersman, Rare Rhythm, Red Galileo and Twilight Payment.
Three of that quartet ran last Saturday at Meydan in the Dubai Gold Cup in which Rare Rhythm was third, Frontiersman fourth and Red Galileo sixth behind three-time winner of that race, Vazirabad.
Wicklow Brave, now nine, could make his third visit to York for trainer Willie Mullins. He finished second in the 2015 Ebor and third in the following season’s Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.
New this season, the Yorkshire Cup forms part of the Weatherbys Hamilton £1 million bonus, a series of races that seek to promote and reward the stayers division.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 16 May 16 to Friday 18 May inclusive.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes entry up by 12

BRILLIANT filly Enable is the stand-out entry among sixteen nominated for the Betfred Middleton Stakes, which will be run at York on Thursday, May 17.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s four-year-old swept all before her last season, winning five successive Group 1s that included the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire.

Enable’s trainer, John Gosden, has also entered Coronet, who finished second in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. Two other trainers are also doubly represented at the initial stage with Sir Michael Stoute having nominated another in the Juddmonte colours in Mori alongside Smart Call. Henry Candy has entered Chain Of Daisies and Uele River in the £125,000 Group 2 contest.

Chain Of Daisies has seven wins from seventeen starts, including a 2016 Group 3 success in at Windsor where she headed Ulysses, the Juddmonte International victor. Now six, she has been a consistent and classy mare who perhaps slips under the radar.

Candy said: “Nobody takes much notice of her, luckily!”

All being well either Chain Of Daisies or Listed winner, Uele River, will run in the extended mile and a quarter race at York. Both are well suited by the trip, while favouring different types of ground.

Candy added: “Chain Of Daisies is entirely ground dependent. If the ground isn’t fast she definitely wouldn’t run. Uele River is quite happy with a bit of cut in the ground.

“Chain Of Daisies is just starting to think about it but I haven’t done very much with her because she hates this cold and wet weather.”

Candy also provided an update on stable star, Limato, who has been given an entry in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. The six-furlong Group 2, scheduled for Wednesday 16 May has attracted forty-eight entries – a dozen more than last year.

Two-time Group 1 winner Limato has been included in the race by connections but the versatile six-year-old gelding may well contest the one-mile Lockinge Stakes at Newbury the following Saturday (May 19).

Candy said: “He seems to be in great form, so we are very much looking forward to the year.

“He has grown again and would weigh a lot more – he has enjoyed his winter off this year. Last year he was on his travels and it took him a while to get over it.

“The plan would be, ideally, to go over a mile this year. So the entry at York is in case ground at Newbury was soft and York’s ground was good.”

Other interesting entries in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes include two-time Group 1 hero Harry Angel and the last two winners of the race – Tasleet (2017) and Magical Memory (2016). Last season’s Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes scorer, Sands of Mali, is one of twelve three-year-olds that have been entered.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 16 May to Friday 18 May inclusive.

Favourite for the Investec Derby, Saxon Warrior, heads an 83-strong entry for the £165,000 Betfred Dante Stakes which will staged at York on Thursday 17 May.

His trainer, Aidan O’Brien. is a four time winner and has entered twenty colts in this prestigious Group 2, landed in the past by ten subsequent Investec Derby winners. Golden Horn was the last horse to complete the York-Epsom double, in 2015.

Ballydoyle inmate Saxon Warrior, victorious in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, is one of two Group 1 winners in the entry for the extended mile and a quarter race. The other is also trained over the Irish Sea, this time by Jim Bolger, Verbal Dexterity was the very impressive winner of the National Stakes by three and a half lengths last September.

In all, the top ten from the Derby betting feature in the entry for the Betfred Dante Stakes.

As well as those that made their mark as two-year-olds in 2017, the Betfred Dante entry holds some unexposed types. One such horse is the Harry Dunlop-trained, Knight To Behold, winner of a maiden at Newmarket on just his second start last October.

Owned by Neil Jones, Knight To Behold is a son of Sea The Stars from the family of St Leger winner, Millenary. He is bred for the part, with his sire having won the Juddmonte International over course and distance. His trainer is optimistic that he can step up to the mark this season. Lambourn-based Dunlop said: “Knight To Behold has wintered well. He went to Kempton for a racecourse gallop the other day and I was very pleased with him.

“The plan is to start at Newbury on April 20 in a mile and a quarter conditions race and if it goes well, the Dante is a race we shall consider.

“It is a long way off but we have always liked him. He ran two very good races at two, finishing second at Newbury (in the Haynes, Hanson and Clark Conditions race) before winning at Newmarket. He is bred for the trip so fingers crossed.”

Last year there was a Yorkshire winner of the race with the ill-fated Permian victorious for Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston. This time, Johnston has entered three including the unbeaten colt Elarqam. A son of Frankel and Classic heroine Attraction, Elarqam won the Judith Marshall Memorial British EBF Novice Stakes over seven furlongs at York before taking the Group 3 Somerville Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

Another unbeaten Yorkshire challenger is Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes winner is Wells Farhh Go who represents trainer Tim Easterby’s Habton Grange stable.

The Betfred Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 16 May 16 to Friday 18 May inclusively.

The Ebor, already the richest Flat handicap in Britain, is to be worth an incredible £1 million in 2019 after Sky Bet were unveiled as the new sponsors of the York showpiece – and they are vowing to create the most innovative, inclusive, adrenaline-fuelled Flat racing event of the year.

Britain’s most popular online bookmaker and York Racecourse have agreed a five-year partnership with prize money for this year’s renewal of the Sky Bet Ebor increasing by 75% to £500,000 and then leaping to £1 million the following year.

First run in 1843, the Sky Bet Ebor is an integral part of both the stayers’ programme and heritage of Yorkshire racing. The huge investment in prize money and changes to conditions will cement its place at the heart of the racing calendar and as a race everyone wants to win.

The race conditions for the Sky Bet Ebor will be amended to make it a race for four year olds and upwards, so ensuring this significant boost in funds does not distort the Pattern programme, particularly with respect to the programme for highly rated horses of the Classic generation. The established way of allocating the runners by weight rather than rating means that it is increasingly rare for a three year old to make the field for the Ebor and indeed there have been only two three year old runners in the last decade. The aim of British Racing’s strategy for stayers is to encourage the retention of owning and training stayers in Britain beyond their three year old careers and stakeholders in British Racing were positive in their support to this change to the Ebor conditions.

Sky Bet are also to sponsor the Melrose Stakes, regarded as being the “three-year-old’s Ebor” and prize-money there increases by 20% to £125,000 – and the £170,000 Great Voltigeur Stakes. Cracksman won the 2017 running of the Group Two contest, which is one of the top middle-distance races for the Classic generation, during the summer.

The Leeds-based firm, now in its 15th year sponsoring at the track, will continue to back the Listed City of York Stakes – Britain’s richest Group Three with a prize fund of £180,000 – and will add the £100,000 Group Three Strensall Stakes and two competitive handicaps on Saturday 25 August to its portfolio.

In total, four races on this day alone will benefit from increased prize money, as part of the new sponsorship agreement. There are plans in development to make Sky Bet Ebor Day even more of a red-letter day in the sporting calendar; more announcements will follow later in the year.
Announcing the plans for the Sky Bet Ebor, York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe said: “The Ebor has been a feature of my racing life and I think these plans set it on a firm course for future success. This great race encapsulates ambition, innovation and heritage, all of which are very much a part of York’s ethos.”
Speaking on behalf of the sponsor, Chief Executive of Sky Bet, Richard Flint said: “Sky Bet is proud to be based in Yorkshire and we are excited to be part of the future of such a great race. Today is only the first phase of an exciting partnership which I hope will mean fantastic things for Yorkshire racing.”
Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, Nick Rust said, “British racing has made its commitment to the continued production of quality staying horses well known, and this sizeable investment is another boost for owners, breeders and trainers of staying horses. We need to do more to ensure that we keep stayers in training here in Britain and reduce the number of horses being exported overseas, and a £1m Ebor in 2019 will certainly be a significant incentive, as will the increased prize money for the Melrose.”
Middleham based trainer Mark Johnston, won the race in 1992 with Quick Ransom; his son and assistant Charlie said: “It’s a fantastic announcement. York and in particular the Ebor Festival, has been on an upward curve in recent years, especially in terms of prize money. This latest development backed by Sky Bet takes things to a new level. The prospect of a £1 million Ebor is fantastic for Yorkshire racing. It’s a race everyone is going to want to win.”

Richard Fahey has been the leading trainer on the Knavesmire on eight occasions so knows what it takes to win high summer, high value handicaps and noted; “It’s always been a great race but this is a real boost, there wouldn’t be many places prepared to offer this sort of money, so fair play to York and Sky Bet. The race will be on to find horses to go there with live chances now.”

Brian Ellison won the Ebor in 2011 with Moyenne Corniche and said: “It’s always been a special race to win – but the prize-money boost will make it extra special now! Hats off to York and Sky Bet – prize money at the track has always been good and this will really secure the Ebor’s place as the staying handicap everyone wants to win.”

Winning the Ebor Handicap of 1994 with Hasten to Add, is one of the many training feats of Sir Mark Prescott, who responded to the announcement by saying “This is wonderful news and a tremendous investment by York and Sky Bet in what was already the richest handicap in Europe. I also think it makes sense to exclude the classic generation who have other options such as the Great Voltigeur and St Leger; in the same vein, I was pleased to hear of the extra investment in the Melrose.”

Newmarket based trainer, Hugo Palmer, said: “This is wonderful news and something I have been hugely supportive of from the outset. I am sure that having a landmark handicap for stayers in Europe will help to keep talent here in the northern hemisphere and who knows, maybe an Aussie will try to win it one day too! We have all seen the impact that the Melbourne Cup has on Australian and world racing and it is great that York and Sky Bet have been able to invest so significantly in this famous race.”

Head of the county’s tourism body and Festival sponsors, Welcome to Yorkshire, Sir Gary Verity said, “It’s long been a dream of mine to see a £1m Ebor so I’m absolutely thrilled that it is now set to happen; to start and end the week with a seven-figure race really shows the quality of racing at York.”

York Racecourse is delighted and honoured that the track has been voted as Racecourse of the Year 2017 by The Racegoers Club, following a vote by their members which represent the largest club of its type in British Racing.

This means that the team at the Knavesmire retains the honour it won in 2016 and is the eighth time York has been awarded the top title.  As usual, it was a close fought contest, with Goodwood representing the south in second place, and Cheltenham, who continue to be the best loved track that stages jump racing.

Voters were asked for their scores in five categories: viewing experience, facilities, food & beverage, atmosphere and value for money.  The courses were split into three geographical regions and the winners were selected by who had the highest overall average score across all categories.  The Racegoers Club report they had a record number of votes recorded, as racegoers were also asked to comment on their choice and reasons for casting their vote.

York was described by one member as “a wonderful racecourse, with excellent facilities & good race viewing options”  with another commenting that it “provides value to every visitor in every enclosure. Worth a special journey”, whilst a third captured the essence of the feature meeting in August when saying “I love visiting for the Ebor Festival, great racing and a brilliant atmosphere, a must visit”.

Having won the national title, York also retained the equivalent title at a regional level, for the North & Scotland; a record 28th year that this regional award has been given to the Knavesmire, from the longest and largest established supporters club for the sport.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said, “The Racegoers Club is a fantastic organization which represents a membership who are committed followers of the sport with horseracing being both their hobby and passion.  To win and then retain the accolade of ‘Racecourse of the Year’ by the vote of such a fan base is an honour. It’s a real tribute to the hard work of so many that make racing at York such a special experience.  The good news comes at a time when we are continuing to invest in the facilities, race programme and experience of racing at York, so we shall be working hard to retain the crown, with our season due to begin on Wednesday 16 May.”

York Racecourse is delighted that the 2018 season will see a record number of the prestigious Group races, nineteen in total, staged on the Knavesmire.

After due consideration of various bids, the British Horseracing Authority has awarded a brand new Group 3 contest to York, it will be run on Saturday 26 May with prize money of £90,000. As the race is exclusively for fillies and mares, York has named it in honour of literary heroines from the White Rose county, it will be known as The Brontë Cup. With a race distance set at one and three quarter miles, it is part of an ongoing strategy to encourage the staying division of thoroughbreds.

To better balance the wider race programme, the Listed Grand Cup will switch to provide the Pattern action on Macmillan Charity Raceday (Saturday 16 June); with the mile long, Listed Ganton Stakes shifting twenty- four hours earlier in the calendar, to become a highlight of Friday 15 June.

Following the annual meeting of the European Pattern Committee, The John Smith’s Silver Cup has been upgraded to Group Three status with its prize money increased to £65,000. Staged on Saturday 14 July, it is run over the same staying distance (one and three quarter miles) and has long been a part of the popular John Smith’s Cup Day.

Taken together, it means that York will stage thirty Pattern calibre Races in 2018, offering this high quality action on sixteen of the eighteen days held on the Knavesmire.

Commenting on this achievement, William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course said, “This is a further signposting of the ongoing investment in our race programme and confirmation of the quality of racing at York. It is great news for racegoers and connections alike, as even more top thoroughbreds will be heading to the Knavesmire to compete for prize money that has increased by £100,000 for the two new races alone.

“It means we have been able to frame our 2018 race programme to offer a Pattern race on sixteen of our eighteen racedays.

“The upgrade of the John Smith’s Silver Cup is a reflection of the strength of a race that has featured many well-known stayers in the past, with Royal winners (Free Agent) as well as Ebor & Melbourne Cup contenders”

York Racecourse concluded its 2017 season today after a hugely busy year which has seen a strong attendance, as 350,000 racegoers witnessed 122 races over 18 fabulous days of racing action. More thoroughbreds than ever (a total of 1,468) competed for a record of more than £7.7m prize money delivering an impressive average field size of 12 which looks set to retain its position as the largest in British racing.

In other excitements this year, Macmillan Charity Raceday in June raised a record sum of over £500,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities, making it the biggest charity raceday in British racing, having raised over £7.5m during the last 47 years.

For the first time in the modern era, York sold out in all enclosures, on Summer Music Saturday (1st July), when seven races including the innovative “jump jockeys Nunthorpe” plus a concert by Olly Murs, drew in the crowds.

The opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw the first ever million pound race on the Knavesmire, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, which currently holds the position as Britain’s highest rated race. Royal Patron of York, HRH The Duke of York, was able to present the trophy to the winning connections of Ulysses as trainer Sir Michel Stoute and jockey, Jim Crowley, delivered another big prize for the Niarchos family.

The balance of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw an outstanding four days of racing action with Enable, the highest rated horse in Europe this season, taking the Darley Yorkshire Oaks as part of her five Group One victories in a row. Arguably the most dramatic finish of the season unfolded in the Coolmore Nunthorpe as Lady Aurelia, trained in the USA by Wesley Ward, was pipped in a photo-finish by Marsha, resulting in jubilant scenes from her Elite Racing Club owners and despondency for the vanquished Frankie Dettori.

Indeed, a remarkable six of the top ten rated horses that have raced in Europe this season, Enable, Ulysses, Battaash, Churchill, Barney Roy and Lady Aurelia have all graced the Knavesmire.

The total attendance for the year of 349,532 an increase of 2,350 from 2016, reflects the highs of Summer Music Saturday and the disappointing weather of the summer months which meant significant rain fell on eight racedays. The final day saw 20.676 racegoers watch Teruntum Star land the Coral Sprint Trophy, part of a double for Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan in the hands of Kevin Stott.

The fiercely contested Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York Trophy was won for the first time by William Haggas. Skipton-born, though Newmarket based, Haggas had led the way for the majority of the season and posted an impressive thirteen winners; surviving a late season surge by Malton’s Tim Easterby, that got the Great Habton yard to within three of the eventual champion.

A new name also appears on the Living North Champion Jockey Trophy, as locally based Danny Tudhope posted six winners and ten second places to land his first title, shading a clutch of top riders that included Jim Crowley, James Doyle and David Allan. As an indication of the strength of the field, twelve different riders achieved a double on a York raceday 2017.

The 2017 season saw the creation of a new dining experience, known simply as Eat Between Our Races, fusing the best in locally produced tasty food with the latest high street EPOS technology, which posted an impressive 40% increase in transactions and rapidly established it as a place to sample good Yorkshire food and then get on with enjoying the raceday.

Work has already commenced on the next major capital project at York, a wholescale upgrading of facilities for Course Enclosure racegoers in the centre of the Course. The £4m project will see enhanced catering, betting and toilet facilities for racegoers in the picnic enclosure while retaining the family atmosphere and outstanding value as a place to enjoy racing from. It is planned that Phase One of this project will be in use for the 2018 season.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse said “What a memorable season 2017 has been. The quality of racing action at York has been tremendous and we are delighted that our continued investment in the track, facilities and record prize money has delivered such compelling and competitive racing action. We are grateful for the ongoing support of owners and horsemen for bringing their fabulous charges to York. Racegoers have seen some of the best horses and jockeys in the world compete on the Knavesmire and we have been delighted with their reaction to the improved facilities and innovations across the site and season. We are proud to be part of a Yorkshire racing community which goes from strength to strength and in the success of Yorkshire-based handlers and jockeys, both here at York and further afield, it is a tremendous reflection of the health of flat racing in the County.”

“I must pay tribute to the team at York who have delivered such a memorable and successful season, from the permanent York Racecourse and York Racecourse Hospitality teams based at the racecourse, who work so hard throughout the year to continue to innovate and improve the experience for visitors to the Knavesmire; to the raceday team who help provide the award-winning service and welcome to our racegoers. Some 2,000 people have given their time, talent and energy to make every York raceday so special.

“We remain hugely appreciative of the support of racegoers, boxholders, hospitality guests and sponsors, so very much hope they have enjoyed their own racedays at York in 2017 and will both look back on many happy memories, as well as look forward to many more!”

Head of Sponsorship and Marketing at York Racecourse, James Brennan, noted “The turn-out this year is a remarkable achievement. Competition for leisure spending is intense and we continue to strive to offer quality racing, value for money and a great day out. I am pleased our programme of entertainment, investment and innovation has been so well received. The performance of Olly Murs, as well as those by All Saints and Jess Glynne, the latter on a truly soaking evening, will provide memories into the winter nights. Another record number of participants enjoying the Ebor Fashion Lawn, a Family Sunday with a visit from Paddington, and the Countryside Raceday in October, were all exciting aspects which combined with top-class racing, service and facilities to provide great entertainment. The 2017 attendance and ongoing commitment of the course to buying fresh, local produce further support the independent economic study that concluded the racecourse was worth over £60 million to the York economy per annum.”

Summarising the year, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, concluded “It has been an honour and privilege to be involved with such an exciting, enjoyable and successful season and I would like to thank everyone connected to York for their attendance, enthusiasm and support. Work will continue during the winter on both the race programme, facilities and innovations across the site to help us continue to attract horses and racegoers back to York for what already looks set to be an exciting 2018 season starting on Wednesday 16 May 2018”

SPRING Loaded is ready to be unleashed once more with his trainer Paul D’Arcy’s sights set on the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy handicap at York on Saturday.

The five-year-old gelding delivered a power-packed performance in securing a three-and-half length win in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last month.

It was a victory that suggested D’Arcy’s charge is every bit as good on the turf as he is on the all-weather.

Newmarket-based D’Arcy said: “He’s rated 105 on the all-weather so he’s a good horse. But people have pigeon-holed him as an all-weather horse and he’s not. I know he’s just as good on turf as he is on the all-weather.

“Things went right for him (at Doncaster). The draw was right and the ground dried out – just on the soft side of ‘good’, probably.

“Everything went right for him, which happens with sprinters. Sometimes you have to be patient.

“He came out of that race well and I always had this race at York in mind for him. I think the track will suit him.

“I ride him every day – we’ve had this partnership for four years. Like a lot of sprinters, the older they get, the better they get. I think there’s still some improvement in him.”

The race sponsors, Coral, have Spring Loaded as 7/1 favourite

Offering each way value at 16/1 would be the Ruth Carr-trained Pipers Note, who was fifth on Town Moor last month.

The leading Yorkshire-trained contender could well be Flying Pursuit. Tim Easterby’s charge won over course and distance in the Sky Bet Dash in late July, though the handicapper has had his say after this and a further success at Ripon.

Saturday’s seven-race card also includes the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes – a six-furlong Listed race for two-year-olds offering £50,000 in prize money.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

WILLIAM Haggas is aiming to fulfil a career ambition on Saturday by becoming top trainer at York for the season.

The Skipton-born, if Newmarket-based trainer has recorded 12 winners on the Knavesmire in 2017 – three more than his fellow Yorkshireman and nearest rival, Tim Easterby.

Both stables will be well represented at York’s season-concluding two-day meeting – worth £465,000 – which gets underway on Friday. Haggas, 57, said: “I always wanted to, one day, be leading trainer at York one season. We nearly did it a couple of years ago and got done on the last day when David O’Meara had four winners in the last two meetings. This year, it looks as though – with a bit of luck – it’s only Tim that’s the danger.”

Haggas expects to run “three or four each day”, including The Grand Visir in the £100,000 Unibet Handicap on Friday and, the following afternoon, Raucous in the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy. He is also planning on being double-handed in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes – a six-furlong Listed race for two-year-olds, worth £50,000.

He said: “In the past, we’ve not really had a plethora of runners – we’ve just been very lucky. But this time, we’re going to run a few, primarily because we’d obviously like to try and win. I think we’ll have three or four each day. But it’s quite late in the day.”

Tulip Fever, who won at Yarmouth last time, is declared in Friday’s opener – the TSG Paul Beioley Memorial Nursery Handicap. Zwayan, successful at Ascot last Friday, is turned out quickly again for the second race on the card – the unibet.co.uk Handicap.

In Friday’s feature, the mile and three-quarters Unibet Handicap, The Grand Visir returns to York after finishing fifth over course and distance in the Betfred Melrose Handicap during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Haggas said: “The Grand Visir ran a very good race in the Melrose. He hasn’t run since but he’s in good form and we’ve had this race in mind for a while.”

Saturday’s Coral Sprint Trophy is the plan for Raucous who has run well in a series of high-profile races this summer without getting his head in front. His last success was back in April on the all-weather at Chelmsford.
Haggas said: “He has got plenty of talent – it just hasn’t fallen his way. We’ll just see how he goes but he could easily surprise – he’s one of those. He’s in really good form and looks great, too.”

Barton Mills, winner of a Kempton novices’ race in late September will come back in trip for the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes. Stable-mate Island Drive – beaten favourite at Nottingham two months ago on her last start – is set to join him in the race. Haggas said: “Barton Mills has run twice and run well over seven furlongs. The jockey (Martin Harley) is very keen to try him at six, so we’re giving it a go in a Listed race.”

Haggas has been in contention to land the Charles Clinkard backed top trainer crown for 2017 since the Dante Festival where he landed a big-race triumph with Tasleet. The sprint ace was successful in the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. “He was marvellous,” said Haggas, nominating Tasleet’s win as his favourite from his dozen so far at York this season.

The trainer summed up: “York means a lot to a lot of people. It’s a great track, always packed and just a very good atmosphere. It’s a very fair racecourse; very few hard luck stories and very often the best horse wins. Now they’ve got the track drained properly, it has made it so much better. We race on lovely ground. They do a great job – it’s first class.”

Full coverage of every race in the conclusion of the season long championship is available on Racing UK.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

BOLDER Bob will bid to complete a three-timer when he contests the £100,000 Unibet Handicap at York on Friday.

This three-year-olds only race, staged over almost a mile and three-quarters, has doubled in prize money so, unsurprisingly, has attracted a field of promising young stayers.

The majority look to be very much on the upgrade – not least Bolder Bob, a Yorkshire-based contender trained by David Barron at Maunby House, near Thirsk.

Connections have been patient with the gelding who has rewarded them in the second half of the 2017 campaign.

He ran out a comfortable winner of a mile and a half handicap at Leicester in August – the first success of his career. The following month, off an 8lb higher official rating, he won again over the same distance – this time at Beverley – and did so in equally emphatic manner.

That triumph resulted in a 7lb rise at the weights. Now he is set to face his toughest challenge yet up against a collection of improvers, all chasing the £62,250 first prize.

David Barron said: “He’s a horse that has progressed all year. He has won twice over a mile and a half and he’s looking as though he’s crying out for a step up in trip. I would hope the race would suit him well.

“Easy ground helps him. As far as we’re concerned, we wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much.

“He’s a back-end three-year-old that’s starting to improve. Thankfully, he has an owner that was quite happy to wait for him and be patient with him. So, it’s nice when it starts to come together.”

York’s final two-day meeting of the year, worth a record £465,000, starts on Friday at 2.10pm; for those unable to visit the Knavesmire all fourteen contests will be available to view on Racing UK.

The season on the Knavesmire concludes the following afternoon with a seven race card that includes another £100,000 handicap – the Coral Sprint Trophy.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

TRAINER Owen Burrows reported promising two-year-old prospect, Shabaaby, to be showing the right signs ahead of the Listed highlight of York’s Saturday card, the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.

The two-year-old colt, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, is the highest-rated horse in the entry for the six-furlong black type race, following consecutive winning runs.

Shabaaby, who has an official ‘mark’ of 109, enjoyed a pipe-opener earlier today under jockey Dane O’Neill. Connections will be hoping that the exercise will help prime him for his weekend assignment in the £50,000 race on the Knavesmire.

Lambourn-based Burrows is at the Sales in Newmarket but confirmed: “Dane has ridden him this morning. I spoke to Dane and he was very happy.

“Shabaaby had a little bit of work at home on the grass and seems in good form.”
The son of Kyllachy was given his lofty rating after he won a conditions race by seven lengths at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival.

That was his second successive victory, following a novices’ race at Newmarket in mid-August.

He had previously run third on his debut two months earlier at Salisbury behind subsequent stakes stars Nyaleti and Billesdon Brook.

Lambourn-based Burrows said: “I came away from Salisbury slightly disappointed but it was Nyaleti that beat him and a horse of Richard Hannon’s was second – they’re both Group winners now!

“Shabaaby has always been a horse that I’ve liked and Dane was very impressed with him at Newmarket. He probably didn’t beat a lot but he picked up well – and he looked to go forward again at Doncaster. There wasn’t a big field – he only had three to beat – but the way he did it was impressive.

“It slightly surprised me that they rated him as high as 109. But I did read somewhere that they’d graded it as the best two-year-old performance out of Pattern company this year. Whether that was to do with speed figures or whatever, I don’t honestly know.

“But it has given us no option but to go into Listed class with that rating. Even if he was rated low 100s I think we would still be looking to go in a Listed race – it seems the natural progression.

“I’m looking forward to running him again. He has proven (on his last two starts) he handles soft ground, so we’re not having to be on weather watch.”

As for the longer term, Burrows believes that his charge has scope for physical progression.

He added: “He might not grow upwards but I think he’ll fill out and strengthen. Touch wood, that can only mean improvement. He certainly doesn’t just look a two-year-old type – put it that way.”

The most valuable contest on the final day of the York season is the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

There’s fun for all at the annual Press Family Sunday at York Races this weekend (Sunday 10 September), including record prize money for a seven-race thoroughbred card worth £132,000.

The feature race, the Listed Betfred supports York against Cancer Garrowby Stakes has increased in value by 25% to a record £50,000.

Another returning favourite to the day is children’s favourite, Paddington, who will make appearances at intervals throughout the day on the Knavesmire.

The only Sunday of the season sees the return of the Conditions Series Finals as young riders take part in the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series.

It is a full day out for both the novice and regular racegoer and those under 18 years of age will be admitted free of charge into all enclosures, though the under 16s will need to be accompanied. Continuing from the previous years is the popular offer of a single admission combining both the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure with the Course Enclosure for just £13. This will enable racegoers bringing a traditional picnic into the Course Enclosure to enjoy their lunch and then take advantage of the special ‘picnic hamper cloakroom’ and then cross over the track to see the horses close up in the Parade Ring and sample the facilities on the stands side.

Also, for this special family meeting, the County Stand dress code is relaxed, with smart casual being the advice.

The action on the track begins at 12.50pm with a couple of races, the respective finals in the Conditions category of the 2017 Charles Owen Pony Racing Series, showcasing the talents of the next generation of riders.

Racing under rules starts at 1.55pm with a race that will be especially poignant for both crowd and participants as it is an apprentice contest that remembers Tom O’Ryan, a much missed figure in Yorkshire racing. As well as being the voice of the Parade Ring at York, racing correspondent for both the Racing Post and York Press; Tom was a widely respected mentor to the young riders, who shared his long time, home town of Malton.

The card also remembers two regular York racegoers as the families and friends of both Judith Marshall and Peter Sutton; give their support to races carrying their names.

Sprinters take part in the afternoon’s richest race, The Betfred supports York against Cancer Garrowby Stakes, this is the sixth running of this Listed race run over six furlongs. The same distance as The Hanson Springs Stakes – a handicap contest for three-year-old sprinters. Stayers have their opportunity in The Transcore Limited 27th Anniversary Stakes (a handicap contest over two miles). The sporting action also includes a chance for those who specialism is the middle distance as Coopers Marquees return to support their second race of the season of the season, over the mile and a quarter trip.

The ongoing support of the European Breeders’ Fund is recognised in a pair of contests, part of their generous twenty-one race backing of the action at York of the season.

The opening contest for the upcoming jockeys is part of the ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire’ Future Stars Apprentice Series – now in its fifth year – which culminates in a Final at Doncaster in November. Coming into this race, Connor Murtagh continues to lead overall by five points from Clifford Lee, with Seamus Cronin fourteen points behind the leader in third, but with three rounds to go, there are still enough races in hand for the situation to change.

The Racing Interactive Zone will offer the chance to ride a virtual racehorse, to try on racing silks, question our experts and enter a colouring competition. Meanwhile, Harry the racehorse is a retired star of the track waiting to meet racegoers.

For those of all ages, the funfair is back for this meeting. Bouncy castles are also located around the course, along with a wide array of entertainments for the family. There’s also the ever popular face painting.

‘Tommo’ – well-known broadcaster, Derek Thompson will share his knowledge of the sport. Listen out for his racing guide and be ready to say hello and see yourself on the big screens as he roams the stands.

Three-course Sunday lunches are being served from noon or you might want to enjoy a fresh sandwich on one of the many lawns; whatever your culinary choice, a great afternoon awaits.

A wonderful week of racing at York once again delivered heroes and heroines; as Ulysses claimed the first £1m Juddmonte International with flying fillies, Enable and Marsha, landing the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Nunthorpe, respectively.

With record prize money of £4.4million attracting over three hundred and forty runners including star thoroughbreds from the USA; plus six trainers from the home county (Paul Midgley, Tim Easterby, Kevin Ryan, David O’Meara, Mark Johnston and Richard Fahey) amongst the winners, it was truly a great week of sporting action.

The final day of the Festival saw Nakeeta come down from Dumfries to land Iain “Scobie” Jardine the richest flat handicap in Europe, the Betfred Ebor, in front of the biggest crowd of the week as approaching 27,500 racegoers finally got a chance to enjoy some sunshine.

Over the four days, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2017 attracted over 80,000 racegoers. Hardly surprising after the deluge of rain on Wednesday that this is a modest decline from when last year’s meeting was staged earlier in August; so also avoiding a clash with Bank Holiday short breaks, the Challenge Cup Final and Leedsfest.

On the opening day, the highest rated race in Britain, £1,000,000 Juddmonte International fully justified its prize money as Ulysses provided Sir Michael Stoute with a sixth win in York’s richest contest and a first such triumph for Champion Jockey, Jim Crowley. The much anticipated clash with the winner of the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas (Churchill) and St James’s Palace hero (Barney Roy) delivered a thrilling final furlong as the trio come to the fore.

Appropriately for Ladies Day, The Darley Yorkshire Oaks, confirmed Enable as the star European filly of the season with the dual English and Irish Oaks winner, adding the Yorkshire variety to her glittering CV, in the silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah.

Friday saw Pattern races over the longest and shortest distances of the week, yet both were only decided after a photo finish. Success for Montaly in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup and Marsha in the Coolmore Nunthorpe; meant dramatic disappointment for HM The Queen as well as for Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori after Dartmouth and Lady Aurelia fell the wrong side of the Judge’s rule.

Drama continued to part of the action right up to the very last race, when the richest Apprentice race in Britain, ended in a dead heat between Holmeswood and Intense Romance. A rare occurrence in itself, what made it all the more remarkable was that both horses were trained by Michael Dods and that one of the young riders, Callum Rodriquez, has won the Betfred Ebor itself, just ninety minutes earlier.

Always a key part of the European racing calendar, the Festival includes four races that are part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

That no jockey managed more than four winners from twenty-five contests shows just how competitive the racing was over the four days. That total of four proved sufficient for Jim Crowley to secure the Ray Gilpin Award as backed by Sky Bet.

For the first time in the modern era, ITV Racing was the host broadcaster and strong viewing figures over the week are a tribute to the knowledge, enthusiasm and sense of fun that the presentation team, led by Ed Chamberlain, brought to the Knavesmire. Technical improvements such as the “towercam” and “batcam” or the “wash down cam” all added further insight for viewers. Many commenting on the feature with Richard Fahey or the close ups of farrier, Scott Mackie, working fast at the start of a race to reshoe a runner.

Fashion is always an integral part of the occasion and a record number of racegoers went down the Ebor Fashion Lawn catwalk.  The feature prize of a trip to go racing in Dubai – courtesy of Marriott Hotels – was claimed by Rachel and Stuart Walsworth from Leeds.

The experience of the recent refurbishment of the Edwardian Weighing Room and the wider £10m redevelopment of the Northern End of the Racecourse continued to be a benefit to racegoers, serving a range of locally sourced food and drinks.

The Duke of York, Patron of York Racecourse since 2015, visited the Knavesmire on Wednesday and presented the Juddmonte International trophy to member of the Niarchos family.

On the opening and closing day, parachute display teams, the RAF Falcons and Silver Stars of the Royal Logistics Corps, dropped in to the cheers of the crowd.

Reflecting on another memorable week, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse as well as Racing Manager to Juddmonte, said “There was a great atmosphere at the course all week. I’m delighted that the decision to increase the prize money attracted such strong fields reflecting an increased number of runners, that in turn produced thrilling racing. Add in the sense of occasion that the Ebor Fashion Lawn created and spontaneous fun generated by the live music and it all adds up to a great four days.  Racegoers have enjoyed the Yorkshire food which celebrates our use of local ingredients.”

Commenting on the meeting, William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said “Ebor 2017 will undoubtedly be remembered for the wonderful equine performances and the human stories linked to them. The racecourse team of over 2,000 staff and partners has put in a huge amount of work and I am grateful to them, the horsemen, our sponsors and racegoers for their tremendous support of the meeting.”

As the feature racing Festival of 2017 becomes a fond memory and before it returns on Wednesday 22 August 2018, the sporting crowds can look forward to the next raceday on Sunday 10 September when both the Pony Race Series and Paddington come to the Knavesmire.

 

TRAINER Aidan O’Brien will ask his dual 2000 Guineas hero, Churchill, to tackle an extended mile and a quarter for the first time tomorrow when the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival gets underway at York.

Churchill is one of seven declared runners for what’s set to be an outstanding renewal of the Group one Juddmonte International Stakes. The Galileo colt started his season with a fine victory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and followed up with success in the Irish version of the mile Classic at The Curragh.

But he suffered defeat in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot before being pulled out of the Sussex Stakes after sustained rainfall changed the ground at Glorious Goodwood earlier this month.

O’Brien said: “It wasn’t ideal – we had him over there and it was just one of the freak weather things, I suppose. But he seems to have been well since.

“He hasn’t done an awful lot because it’s not long ago and he was fit going to Goodwood. Obviously, we would have preferred if we had a run – but that’s the way it is.

“We’ve always thought that a mile and a quarter would be within his compass. Everything seems well with him since Goodwood, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Churchill will be joined in the first ever £1million renewal of the prestigious contest by stable-mate, Cliffs Of Moher who met trouble in running early on in the Coral Eclipse at Sandown where he finished fourth behind Ulysses and Barney Roy – both of whom he re-opposes on the Knavesmire.

O’Brien added: “He suffered very bad interference in Sandown and I suppose he was lucky, really, not to fall. But he has been well since and we have been happy with his work.”

Earlier in the afternoon, O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team will be triple-handed in the Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes. Venice Beach, Spanish Steps and Douglas Macarthur have all been declared for the mile and a half Group 2.

Venice Beach was only beaten a length in the Grand Prix de Paris, a race in which an inexperienced Spanish Steps didn’t fire. But the latter came out and nicely won the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown almost two weeks ago. Douglas Macarthur won the Derrinstown Derby Trial in the spring before two creditable runs in the English and Irish Derbies.

O’Brien assessed: “Both Venice Beach and Spanish Steps went to Paris. Venice Beach ran a great race – Spanish Steps was a little bit green, a little bit babyish but came forward great from it and won very nicely at Leopardstown, beating Johannes Vermeer.

“Venice Beach has been in good form since France and we think – and hope – the track will suit him well. He is in good order as well. We think he is a horse who will progress through the whole year and look forward to him next year.

“We’re looking forward to seeing Douglas Macarthur run. We think he gets a mile and a half well – and might even get further. But he is in very good form and we’re very happy with him. He had a break after his last run and is just ready to start back again.”

In the first of twelve Pattern races over the Festival, the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes, O’Brien will saddle promising two-year-old prospect Fleet Review over the seven furlong trip;

He said: “Fleet Review has had three runs and won the last twice – two six-furlong races at The Curragh, a maiden and a winners’ race.

 

“We always thought that he might get further than six. He is a forward-going horse. We think it’s a good time and a good track to just start going a little bit further and have another look at him.”

Thursday will see fellow O’Brien juvenile, Actress, who has been declared for the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther. She has already shown her class with a third-place effort in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes on August 13.

O’Brien said: “She has been progressing with every run. Obviously we’re going back a little bit early with her but she’s in good form. She came out of her last race well and we’re hoping she runs well.”

Alluringly, declared for the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, will face middle-distance heroine, Enable, for the third time this season. O’Brien’s charge enjoyed a confidence booster when landing a Listed race over an extended nine furlongs at Gowran Park but is now stepped back up in trip.

O’Brien confirmed: “We’re going to give her another go over a mile and a half. She won in Gowran very nicely. That was only a few days ago but she seems to have come out of it well.”

The trainer also outlined that US Navy Flag is looking like the stable’s runner in Saturday’s Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes.

Ballydoyle’s plans are still being finalised for Saturday’s £285,000 Betfred Ebor.

 

SIR Michael Stoute will bring a team brimming with talent to York for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, which runs for four days from next Wednesday.

The Newmarket trainer has a superb record at the famous meeting, winning no less than 16 Group 1s on the Knavesmire. He has also triumphed three times in the prestigious handicap that gives the Festival its name – the Betfred Ebor.

On the first day, Stoute will bring Ulysses for the eagerly-anticipated clash of the big guns in the £1million Juddmonte International. Fellow stars Churchill and Barney Roy are also set to line up in the extended mile and a quarter contest, ranked as the best race in Britain on its three year IFHA average, but Ulysses beat the latter by a nose in a thrilling renewal of Coral Eclipse in July.

Stoute’s charge was subsequently beaten by the race sponsor’s outstanding filly, Enable, in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, over a mile and a half.

“We are planning to go,” said Stoute, confirming his intentions to run Ulysses in the Juddmonte International. “He is taking his racing very well and we’re pleased with what we see.”

As for the decision to drop back from 12 to 10 furlongs, he added: “He’s competent at both trips. He loves top of the ground but he goes on any. You’ve only got to look at the King George and you’ve got your evidence there.

“I think it will be a high-quality race – it’s very interesting. We’ve had some great races for the International in the past and we’ll probably have a great one this time.”

On the same afternoon, the Newmarket-based trainer will saddle Mirage Dancer in the Betway Great Voltigeur. Stoute has won the mile and a half Group 2 race on seven previous occasions, the latest being in 2013 when Telescope struck.

Mirage Dancer is a lightly-raced son of Frankel who has shaped with bags of promise in both of his runs at three. His last start saw him beaten just over a length into third place in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Stoute said: “We’re just leaving nice gaps between his races. He is progressive. We like the horse and he keeps improving. This would be as far as he would ever want to go.”

No trainer has more than Stoute’s tally of nine Darley Yorkshire Oaks victories – although Matthew Dawson also won the race nine times in the 19th century. Next Thursday he plans to be double-handed in the £350,000 Group 1 with Queen’s Trust and Abingdon, tasked with taking on Enable.

Queen’s Trust, a Breeders’ Cup champion from last autumn, has run better this year than a glance at her bare form may suggest. Abingdon has shown up particularly well when competing on fast ground, notably when winning a Listed race at Pontefract by 10 lengths in June.

Stoute said: “Queens Trust hasn’t had the rub of the green this year. In the Prince of Wales’s, she got badly interfered with and was really coming home. Then the ground was too soft for her in the Nassau. But she is in good shape – she’ll run a big one.

“Abingdon is solid. She’s won at the track – the Galtres last year – she has been running well this year and I hope she’ll be in the frame. I’ll be happy with that. Loves top of the ground – good is no problem. But with her, she doesn’t want it softer than good.”

On the same afternoon, the British EBF and Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes is the next scheduled assignment for Mori. The beautifully-bred Frankel filly is out of Midday, so her pedigree has York Group One winners on both sides, was only pipped by a neck in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Stoute said: “The plan is for Mori to go to the Galtres. The Ribblesdale was the best race she has run to date. She is progressive and we are very happy with her.”

The last of Stoute’s victories in the Ebor was provided by Clerkenwell in 1996. Since then, though, he finished second in 2010 with Rosika, who is the dam of his intended challenger, Dubka, on Saturday 26 August.

Dubka showed that she is very much made of the right stuff when beaten just a neck over a mile and six-furlongs – the Ebor distance – in a Group 3 at the Goodwood Qatar Festival earlier this month.

Stoute, who plans to run only her in the race, said: “She’s tough, stays well. I would think that run at Goodwood was the best that she has produced so far. The dam nearly won the Ebor so let’s hope she can win it.”

MIDDLE-distance heroine, Enable, heads up the entry for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks – the £350,000 feature race of Ladies Day, next Thursday at York.

Enable represents trainer John Gosden, who has three of the nine entries for the mile-and-a-half Group 1 contest for fillies aged three and upwards.

Enable, owned and bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah, has lit up the summer with a series of brilliant performances. She won the Investec Oaks by five lengths and followed up by triumphing in the Darley Irish Oaks – again by an emphatic margin.

To many eyes, she topped even those excellent displays with a four-and-a-half length victory when taking on the older colts, in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month. Now it’s next stop York for the fabulous filly by Nathaniel.

Gosden said today: “Enable is happy and well. We always wanted to go to this race. It was meant to be Irish Oaks to Yorkshire Oaks. She took the Irish Oaks so much in her stride that then the King George came into play. This was part of the original plan and hopefully we’ll be there.”

In recent years, Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables has housed stars such as Golden Horn and Taghrooda, both of whom came to feature races at the York showpiece. Now Enable is the latest yard flag-bearer to give pleasure to the Gosden team and target the Knavesmire. The Newmarket-based trainer added: “When you are lucky enough to have a Golden Horn in the yard or a filly of Enable’s ilk – like Taghrooda – it’s a great buzz. But of course with it comes added pressures – never forget that.”

Another Gosden-trained horse that will be the subject of great interest at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is Cracksman, who is set to contest the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur on the opening day of the meeting, next Wednesday.

The son of Frankel has run in two Derbies – at Epsom and The Curragh – on his last two starts, finishing third and second respectively. Gosden assessed: “We’d be hoping to run Cracksman in the Great Voltigeur. A mile and a half, fresh ground on the Wednesday – he’s in good order. It looks a Voltigeur of great depth.”

Gosden also indicated that Shutter Speed is in line for a tilt at the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, which takes place thirty-five minutes later on Wednesday. The Tattersalls Musidora Stakes winner over course and distance in May was subsequently fourth in the Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly so eyes a share of the £1 million prize fund.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 23 August to Saturday 26 August inclusive.

Frankie Dettori described both Lady Aurelia and Enable as fillies with the “wow” factor based on their impressive seasons to date and he is looking forward to partnering them in big races at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The ebullient Italian was speaking to Racing UK after riding a piece of work on Lady Aurelia on the home straight of the Knavesmire and said “it felt like we were going a million miles an hour, she hasn’t lost her speed”.

With the filly having travelled from her base in Kentucky, Frankie continued, “American horses tend to like flat tracks, so York will suit her”.

The fastest race of the week, the Coolmore Nunthorpe on Friday is the target for Lady Aurelia where she is set to clash with Battaash, the impressive winner of the King George Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Frankie described himself as “very impressed” with his Charlie Hills trained opponent and noted that his filly will “have to be at her very best” to land the biggest share of the £350,000 prize money.

Reflecting on dual Classic and King George winner, Enable, Frankie observed “you gotta say “wow”, I know how good she is, so you’re just hoping that she turns up”. Trained by John Gosden, the filly in the famous colours of Frankel is bidding to add the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday to her Group One successes in the Investec Oaks and Darley Irish Oaks.

In a busy morning on the Knavesmire, Frankie also partnered a second American filly, Happy Like a Fool for a spin and confirmed her as being “very speedy, in good form” ahead of the supplementary entry for the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes, the Group Two target for juveniles fillies, on Thursday.”

 

Trainer Richard Hannon relishing York test for stable star TRAINER Richard Hannon believes stable star, Barney Roy, “will take all the beating” in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York next Wednesday.

The Godolphin-owned colt was one of 15 horses today left in first running of a York contest at £1million prize money, at the latest entry stage.

The extended mile and a quarter Group 1 feature is set to deliver a mighty showdown between Barney Roy, Churchill and Ulysses.

The trio are vying for favouritism in the betting after, between them, delivering some superb performances so far this season.

Three-year-old pair Barney Roy and Churchill have clashed twice so far. Ballydoyle ace Churchill drew first blood when winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket but Barney Roy turned the tables on his rival with success in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Barney Roy has since been beaten by a nose in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown by progressive four-year-old Ulysses.

Hannon said: “Barney Roy is in great form at home and has done very well since the Eclipse.

“He’s had a nice break and will go to Kempton for a bit of work this week. He heads there in fantastic order and the Juddmonte looks the ideal race for him.

“The Eclipse form has been boosted by the victory of Eminent on Tuesday (in a Group 2 at Deauville) and I think he will take all the beating at York.”

Hannon also outlined that he expects to be represented in other races through the four-day meeting, which runs from Wednesday 23 August to Saturday 26 August inclusive.

The master of Herridge Racing Stables talked about a contender for Britain’s richest nursery, at £70,000, adding: “Other runners will include the likes of Tangled in the (Betway) Nursery, who – having had to do a stalls test since Goodwood – heads there in great order.

“Kool Kompany has a few options available to him and hopefully can bring his best form back to the table after not a bad run in the Sussex.”

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk>

Trainer Clive Cox is hoping to saddle two runners in this season’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday 25 August.

At this stage, both Profitable and Priceless are on target to line up in the five-furlong Group 1, which is worth £350,000.

The former, who runs in the colours of Godolphin, secured a Group 1 success in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and has enjoyed another solid campaign so far in 2017. He also showed his potential when winning in Listed company aged three here at York.

He has finished runner-up on all of his previous three starts including when bidding for back-to-back wins at Royal Ascot and when last seen in action in Group 2 company at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Those two defeats came at the hands of Lady Aurelia and Battaash respectively and a rematch could well be on the cards for Cox’s sprinting ace.

Profitable is set to be joined by the Alan Spence-owned Priceless, a daughter of Exceed And Excel who landed a Group 2 prize earlier this season in the Temple Stakes at Haydock.

That success came on ground officially described as ‘firm’ and Cox is hoping that the ground will be on the quick side for both of his charges.

He said: “At the moment both Profitable and Priceless are intended runners in the Nunthorpe.

“Both seem in good form at home and deserve to take their chance. The long-range forecast looks decent and this would be in both their favour.

“Profitable ran well at Goodwood – we were very happy with him. He has come out of the race in good form.

“It looks like being a very competitive race – certainly a mouthwatering contest – and one that will be great to be part of.”

Cox has plundered many of the UK’s top sprint prizes in recent years and just last month he landed the Darley July Cup at Newmarket with Harry Angel. He has yet to take the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and it is no doubt a race he would love to add to his CV.

He added: “It is always great to have runners at York – especially in the big races. Everyone wants to be part of it. It is a great occasion and somewhere we love to have winners.”

The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is the feature on day three of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival which runs from Wednesday 23 August – Saturday 26 August inclusive.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225 Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk>

 

The American star filly, Lady Aurelia, is settling in at York ahead of her bid for further Group One glory in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday 25 August.

Trained by Wesley Ward, she is one of three intended runners for the Kentucky based operation, who are now enjoying a Yorkshire welcome, ahead of the four day Festival.

A likely first runner will be Happy Like A Fool, with the juvenile filly anticipated to be given a supplementary entry for the Sky Bet Lowther on Thursday 24 August. Having been second in the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, she hopes to land the richest British Group Two for two year old fillies, in the £225,000 Lowther. Connections are expected to confirm her intended participation by paying the supplementary entry fee of £15,000 by Noon on Friday 18 August.

Lady Aurelia herself was a winner at Royal Ascot and is considered to be the best three year old in the USA, putting up a memorable display of speed in the Group One Kings Stand Stakes over the same five furlong trip as the Coolmore Nunthorpe.  The American filly is a general 6-4 favourite for York’s fastest race of the year, in front of King George Stakes winner, Battaash, from the Lambourn yard of Charlie Hills.

Completing the American raiding party is a third filly, Elizabeth Darcy, last seen running into second in a Group Three at Deauville after her European debut in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. Her target comes on Saturday 26 August in the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes, again over five furlongs, with £70,000 in the prize money kitty.

The three runners alongside companion thoroughbred, Strike The Tiger (a Royal Ascot runner back in 2009), are settling in well; with their stable staff enjoying the sights of one of Europe’s best known tourist cities.

In regular contact with Wesley Ward who is supervising runners on his home continent, assistant trainer Ed Veale who is with the runners in York said; “The horses and the team have had a great welcome and have settled in really well at York ahead of an exciting week. We dream of having a single winner at a big festival like the Ebor – Wesley came so close with Acapulco back in 2015 –  so having live prospects in three Stakes races is a real buzz. We know it won’t be easy because everyone wants a share of that prestige and prize money.”

 

Marsha to take on big guns in Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

TRAINER Sir Mark Prescott has outlined that his ante-post favourite for the £285,000 Betfred Ebor will require ‘soft’ in the ground description to ensure that he line ups at York on Saturday 26 August.

 

Prescott’s charge Flymetothestars has won three of his five starts – all of which have come on all-weather surfaces.

The four-year-old Sea The Stars’ gelding was last seen on July 1 in the Stobart Rail Northumberland Plate when running a fine third, beaten just three-parts of a length by Higher Power.

He is currently 7/1 with sponsors Betfred for the Ebor, staged over a mile and three-quarters on the Knavesmire.

Prescott said: “Flymetothestars will only run if there is ‘soft’ in the ground description. It’s a very unusual situation isn’t it – he has never run on turf in his life. He ran extremely well in the Northumberland Plate and hence he is such a short price. But he has never run on turf, only on all-weather.”

Prescott also confirmed that flying filly Marsha is to be tasked with tackling big guns Lady Aurelia and Battaash in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday 25 August.

Marsha began the season with a dazzling victory in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. The consistent four-year-old, owned by Elite Racing Club, has not been out of the three all season and is a course and distance winner having landed the Listed John Smith’s City Walls’ Stakes last July.

She was third behind Lady Aurelia in the Group 1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and also filled the same position on her last start at Glorious Goodwood behind Battaash in Group 2 company.

Now Marsha is ready to return to Group 1 company for a shot at the £350,000 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

Prescott assessed: “She is very consistent, run in all the top sprints this year and been placed every time.

“The Nunthorpe looks a marvellous race with some very, very fast horses in it and she is entitled to be there but Lady Aurelia and Mr Hills’ (Battaash) have both beaten her this year.

“They have beaten her fair and square before but in sprints tiny little things make a big difference.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 23 August to Saturday 26 August inclusive.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

 

TRAINER James Bethell is targeting the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Wednesday 23 August, at York with promising two-year-old, Ulshaw Bridge.

The High Chaparral colt is a proven course performer, having comfortably won the John Smith’s Novice Median Auction Stakes over six furlongs on the Knavesmire last month.

Connections are aiming for a first run in Group company, in the £90,000 Group Three Tattersalls Acomb Stakes, staged over seven furlongs.

An alternative option is the richest nursery in the land, the £70,000 Betway-supported contest over six furlongs that concludes the same card.

Ulshaw Bridge – named after the medieval structure that crosses the River Ure, a couple of miles east of his training base in Middleham – was 12/1 for that first career success in July, beating several well-fancied prospects.

“I was very impressed with him,” said Bethell. “The second (Midnight Wilde) has come out and won and I think something that finished way behind (Sands of Mali) has come out and won. So the form looks quite good.”

Ulshaw Bridge was subsequently a fast-finishing third, beaten just half-a-length in a six-furlong conditions race at Chester where the winner and runner-up both carried less weight than him.

It was the manner in which he finished that race, powering from last to almost win, that really caught the eye.

“I think that just the course being so sharp just caught him out a bit,” assessed Bethell. “But when he hit the straight he flew very fast. Another half a furlong – well, even less than half a furlong – he’d have won, I think.”

The fact that he was doing his best work late on has Bethell leaning towards the seven-furlong Tattersalls Acomb Stakes.

“We think he’d be better suited by seven furlongs but I’m possibly going to put him in the six-furlong nursery as well – just in case there’s something very smart in the Acomb. But we’d like to go for the Acomb if we can.”

The colt, owned by Geoffrey Van Cutsem and Partners, is in good shape ahead of whichever opening day assignment he contests at York.

“He is well now and won’t do a lot of fast work,” said Bethell. “He’ll probably have a little spin towards the end of the week and that’s it. But he is quite an easy horse to train.”

As for Ulshaw Bridge’s long-term prospects, Bethell is envisaging a horse that will keep taking forward strides as a three-year-old. “He should definitely progress and get stronger. He is a very nice horse to train.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 23 August to Saturday 26 August inclusive.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

With record prize money of over £4.4 million, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival looks set to attract the very best of thoroughbreds from Britain, Ireland, continental Europe and the USA to the Knavesmire for York’s flagship meeting, over four spectacular days of racing action from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 August.

The stellar racing action forms the centre-piece of a festival brimming with award winning hospitality, high summer fashion and all that contributes to the hoped-for fabulous atmosphere of the flagship meeting at Britain’s Racecourse of the Year.

The increase in prize money of £320,000 is spread over twenty-two of the twenty-five races; with the feature contest on each of the days receiving a boost, as well as the prize money threshold for all races rising again, to £70,000.  It marks another step in York’s support for its flagship race programme which has seen prize money increase by 50% over the last five years.

Britain’s highest rated race (based on three year average ratings) the Group 1 Juddmonte International, will become the richest race ever run at York, with £1,000,000 on offer to the horse seeking to follow such superstars as Frankel or Sea the Stars into the Winner’s Enclosure on the opening day. A mouth-watering race is in prospect with a host of Group 1 names considering a tilt at York’s blue riband, including the winner of the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas (Churchill), St James’s Palace hero (Barney Roy), the victor in the Coral-Eclipse (Ulysses) and Breeders’ Cup Turf champion, Highland Reel.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks, ranked last year as Europe’s highest rated contest for fillies and mares, and the Coolmore Nunthorpe, the best five furlong sprint in the world, will both see increases, to reach their richest ever renewals, at £350,000.  The star European filly of the season and dual English and Irish Oaks winner, Enable, is hoping to add the Darley Yorkshire Oaks to her glittering CV on Thursday.  The best sprinter in the US, Lady Aurelia, looks to take on the best of the Europeans including Goodwood winner, Battaash.

The Sky Bet Lowther increases by £25,000 to £225,000 the same level as the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack making them Britain’s richest Group 2s for juvenile fillies and colts, respectively.

Completing the feature race set is Saturday’s Betfred Ebor, as Europe’s richest flat handicap, at £285,000.  York’s oldest and most famous race is set to be as fiercely contested as ever with the winner often booking their flight to the Emirates Melbourne Cup in November.

The Sky Bet City of York Stakes which will now offer £175,000 to the field contesting this seven furlong race on Friday 25 August, retaining it as Britain’s richest Group 3 contest for older horses.  Alongside a race programme that includes Britain’s richest maiden (British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes), richest nursery (Betway Stakes – 6f handicap on Wednesday) and richest apprentice (Betfred Apprentice Stakes – 5f handicap finale) contests in Britain, each at £70,000.

From sprinters to stayers on Friday, with the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup, over the two miles, joining the Group One races as the fourth contest to be part of the British Champions Series, which culminates at the richest day of racing in this country, Qipco British Champions Day on Saturday 21 October.  The support of Qipco is clear on all four days; with the BCS racemakers in attendance to help guide less experienced visitors around the racecourse and share their knowledge.

On all four days, stand-side racegoers will be able to watch and participate in the Ebor Fashion Lawn without the need to book in advance.  The eye-catching, flower-clad catwalk, set in the picturesque surroundings in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room, will offer a touch of “modern vintage”.  A panel of judges will cast an expert eye over the preparations and attire before them, ready to decide the winner on each day of the “Best Dressed Racegoer”.  As well as award prizes like £500 gift vouchers from French Connection, or a personal shopping experience with York based, Cuffs & Co, for “Best Hat, Best Dressed Gent, Best Dressed Child and Best Dressed Couple”.  The winner on Ladies Day (Thursday 24 August) will also be crowned ‘Best Dressed Festival Racegoer’, and will win a short break for two to the Marriott Hotel for the Dubai World Cup.

Expect to see a host of world-class jockeys competing for top honours at York – the field at York is currently led by David Allan, a man who enjoyed a profitable July across several Yorkshire tracks.  In a fitting tribute to popular racing journalist, Ray Gilpin, who passed away in 2015, a special prize will be offered by Sky Bet, for the most successful rider over the twenty-five races of the Ebor Festival.

Amongst the trainers, Skipton-born William Haggas is already enjoying a remarkable season on the Knavesmire, with an impressive eleven winners seeing him sit proud at the top of the Charles Clinkard backed leaderboard.

The global nature of the top quality competition is reflected with the three Group Ones all being part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and the Juddmonte International and Darley Yorkshire Oaks attracting huge bonuses for the winner to go to race in Japan.  York will welcome representatives of international racing from America, Japan, Europe, the Middle East and Australia in a meeting that continues to grow global profile and reach.

There is horsepower of a different nature on display on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn as the latest Maserati will be on show courtesy of JCT600.

On the opening and closing day of the four day meeting at 1.00pm, parachute display teams are set to drop in on the Knavesmire with the RAF Falcons on Wednesday and the Silver Stars of the Royal Logistics Corps on Ebor Saturday.

The first four races on each of the four days will be broadcast live on ITV1, in addition to every race being covered live on Racing UK and TurfTV.  GBI Racing will be transmitting the event to over 80 countries around the world.  Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani will head the ITV coverage which will feature use of the “Batcam” as well as capturing the fun with fashion experts Mark Heyes and Charlotte Hawkins.

Away from the track, a brigade of some 80 chefs, backed by a wider raceday team of over two thousand staff, will provide the welcome, services and treats that come with a major sporting event.  Seafood will be delivered from the Yorkshire coast every morning including 2,000 crabs, joining Dales lamb and 3,000 home-made beef burgers, Hawes cheeses, 6,000 fresh baked fruit scones and locally made dairy ice cream on the various menus.  Partner Moët et Chandon support the meeting with Mercier champagne priced at £35, Moët et Chandon Brut Imperial NV at £51 and selected bars stocking York’s house champagne at £31.

Whether it is to show off their fashion or send pictures of the ice sculptures and chocolate fountains in the main restaurants, or simply to capture the feel good factor, racegoers will be able to use the free Wi-Fi service installed at the track by local tech firm, York Data Services.

Those seeking musical entertainment will have their choice, as both jazz and steel bands perform on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn, with Murphy’s Marbles playing their own blend of Irish foot stomping, good time tunes.  Local band, The Monotones, will play to racegoers after the last race into the early evening on each of the four racedays from the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn.

In an off the track record, there will be seven giant screens relaying the action in HD quality, including a new screen above the Roberto Bar at the heart of Grandstand & Paddock, matching the screen that overlooks the John Carr Terrace. Guests in the Voltigeur Restaurant will benefit from the latest technology as Savilles Audio Visual, based in York, are showcasing what is probably the biggest screen in a hospitality suite in the land.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, concluded “The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is simply the highlight of our year.  With the record investment in prize money, the stellar entries, ongoing investment across the site and all the countless initiatives and innovations, this year looks set to be a landmark event of top quality racing action as well as a tremendous social and fashion event.  I very much hope racegoers, punters and viewers will enjoy the feast on offer.”

 

TRAINER Charlie Hills has billed his stable star Battaash’s head-to-head with Lady Aurelia in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York as “what racing is all about.”

The pair have lit up the sprinting scene in 2017 with some superlative performances and now they are on schedule to clash in the £350,000 Group 1 on the Knavesmire on Friday 25 August.

The American ace, Lady Aurelia, trained by Wesley Ward, put up a sensational display to land the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Though, Battaash, owned by Sheikh Hamdan, has emerged as the leading British-trained speedster this season with three emphatic victories, earning an official rating of 122.

Two of those successes came at over the same five furlong trip as the York contest though both were at Sandown, the second in the Group 3 company, saw him smash the course record.  His Sandown wins were both recorded on top of the ground but the three-year-old has subsequently proved that he handles soft underfoot conditions when taking the Group 2 King George Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival a week ago.

Hills has been pleased with his charge since that success and is relishing the prospect of taking him to the Knavesmire in two weeks’ time.

He said: “Battaash has come out of his win at Goodwood really well and we are looking forward to York now.

“He isn’t a horse who a needs a lot of work between his races so it is a case of ticking him over and keeping him in good form.

“I am happy with him. We were obviously delighted with his performance at Goodwood. He showed that he goes on any ground and beat a number of very good horses.

“It is not going to be easy at York – Lady Aurelia is obviously very good but there are plenty of other top sprinters in there too. Clashes like this are what racing is all about and we are looking forward to it.”

The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is sure to be one of the highlights of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Other likely participants include Group 1 winners Marsha, Profitable and Goldream.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday, August 23 to Saturday August 26 inclusive.

York Racecourse is delighted to announce a further boost of £60,000 to the already record prize money for its flagship meeting, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, which is staged between Wednesday 23 and Saturday 26 August.

Taken in conjunction with previous announcements, it sees the year on year prize fund increase by £320,000 to a record level of over £4.4 million for the four days. This represents an increase of 50% in the last five years.

The highest profile race to benefit from this latest cash injection is the Sky Bet City of York Stakes which will now offer £175,000 to the field contesting this seven furlong race on Friday 25 August, retaining it as Britain’s richest Group 3 contest.

It is also noteworthy that the minimum prize money for any race at the Festival, will now be £70,000 (2016: £60,000) following the additional boost in prize money to nine contests, including those that were already the richest maiden (British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes), richest nursery (Betway Stakes – 6f handicap on Wednesday) and richest apprentice (Betfred Apprentice Stakes – 5f handicap finale) contests in Britain.

Some 22 races, out of the 25 to be staged, have seen an increase in prize fund since their 2016 running; with every contest on the opening and closing days set to be more valuable.

As previously announced, the feature race of the week, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, already Britain’s highest rated race, according to the average three year rating by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, will become the richest race ever run at York, with £1 million on offer. The Darley Yorkshire Oaks, ranked as Europe’s highest rated contest for fillies and mares, and the Coolmore Nunthorpe, the best five furlong sprint in the world, will both see increases to reach their richest ever renewals at £350,000. The Sky Bet Lowther increases by £25,000 to £225,000 the same level as the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack making them Britain’s richest Group 2’s for juvenile fillies and colts, respectively.

Completing the feature race set in August is Saturday’s Betfred Ebor, with Europe’s richest flat handicap of 2016, increased again to £285,000.

York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, “York is delighted that our continued commercial success in the first half of the season has allowed us to keep investing in the prize money, facilities and experience of racing at York. The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is our flagship meeting and we look forward to welcoming the racegoers and supporters to York to see the world’s best horses and jockeys competing on the Knavesmire. It already looks set to be a fabulous four days of racing action. Our continued thanks to our supporters and sponsors who help us to invest in racing at York.”

AUTOCRATIC will bid for more Group-race glory when he contests the £120,000 feature at York on Saturday – the Sky Bet York Stakes.
Owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Autocratic boasts a progressive profile having moved up through the handicap ranks as a three-year-old last year to emerge as a Group performer in his latest campaign.
The son of Dubawi ended the 2016 season with a comprehensive success in a handicap run over Saturday’s course and distance, of an extended ten furlongs.
Autocratic started this term with a below-par effort in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket but bounced back with an impressive win next time in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May.
A minor setback has prevented him from running since that success but connections are pleased with his condition and feel this is the obvious next step.
Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud, said: “Autocratic is in good form and we were obviously delighted with his win in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.
“He subsequently had a slightly cloudy wash which prevented us from running him, but he is well now and this looks a good step for him.
“He won over course and distance last year with Ted (Durcan) on board and this will tell us if he is still progressing and could come back in a month for the Juddmonte International.”
Autocratic is one of eight declared runners for the £120,000 Group 2 prize which has been won in the past by subsequent Group 1 winners Twice Over and Mukhadram. The former, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, famously went on to beat stablemate Midday in the 2011 renewal of the Juddmonte International Stakes; while Mukhadram took the following season’s Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
Mukhadram was trained by Newmarket-based if Skipton-born, William Haggas, who saddles two runners in this year’s event. The lightly-raced Hathal won a Group 3 at Haydock last year and was third in the Group 2 Summer Mile on his first start of 2017 while Victory Bond has run well twice at York already this season. As the stable have already recorded ten winners on the Knavesmire this season, the sponsors will have taken note.
Other intriguing runners include the David Simcock-trained Group 3 winner Algometer, the Irish-trained Success Days, and Mondialiste who brought the Arlington Million Trophy back to David O’Meara’s North Yorkshire base.
The seven-race card, which makes up day two of York’s Music Showcase weekend, also features the £50,000 Sky Bet Dash, a handicap over six furlongs. The weights are headed by Wokingham Stakes winner, Out Do, who is one of fifteen runners trained in the White Rose County.
The action gets underway with the Win £100k For Free At sportinglife.com/pick 7 Handicap at 2:05pm.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

AJMAN Princess will bid to return to winning ways when she contests the Listed feature on Friday’s card at York, the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes.

Trained by Roger Varian, for owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, Ajman Princess is the top-rated filly in an eleven-strong line up and she goes to the Knavesmire in good form, having won or been placed on all four of her starts in 2017.

Now aged four, Ajman Princess came into this campaign as one of the highest-rated maidens in training having finishing runner-up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer. She then failed to fire when next out in the Darley Irish Oaks and was not seen on a racecourse for the remainder of 2016.

The daughter of Teofilo has made up for lost time so far this year, easily shedding her maiden tag at Lingfield in March before running away with the Listed Daisy Warwick Stakes at Goodwood in May. She has subsequently finished third in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes, both held at Haydock, over a mile and a half.

She is dropping back in trip by two furlongs on Friday evening, chasing the record prize money of £50,000, for a contest won last year by Diploma, in the colours of HM The Queen and trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

Varian, who saddled Postponed to win the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes in the same yellow and black colours last year, said: “Ajman Princess was placed in the Ribblesdale Stakes last season, but she started this year as a maiden and I am pleased she has vindicated Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s decision to keep her in training as a four-year-old by becoming a Listed winner, while she has also been placed twice at Group level again.

“We are bringing her back in trip as her main asset is her high-cruising speed – she has travelled strongly in all of her races, but the steady early tempo went against her in the Lancashire Oaks and she shapes like she could be an even better filly over ten furlongs.

“She has a penalty to shoulder here (at York), but she still comes out second best on the weight-adjusted figures, and this is a nice option as the galloping track will play to her strengths, as will the prospect of decent ground.

“This run ought to give us a good indication of how we campaign her for the rest of the season and I am hopeful of a bold showing under these different conditions.”

The aforementioned Sir Michael Stoute saddles Playful Sound in this year’s contest; while former York Champion Trainer, David O’Meara, is represented by Reachforthestars.

The 2017 runaway leader in the Charles Clinkard backed championship is William Haggas who will saddle Enstar, a daughter of Fastnet Rock, placed twice already at this level, in a bid to record winner number eleven.

The six-race card worth £110,000 is York’s only evening fixture of the year, it gets underway at 6pm with the Think As One Apprentice Handicap.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

York’s two-day Music Showcase weekend on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon (July 28 & 29), supported by Sky Bet, combines Pattern race quality action on the track and live performances on the music stage, so it is no surprise that each event has a track record of being the best attended meeting of its type, in the country.

Grammy award winner, Jess Glynne is set to play on the evening of Friday 28 July, entertaining the Knavesmire crowd with her five number one singles.

After racing on Saturday 29 July, All Saints, chart toppers themselves and special guests on the recent Take That “Wonderland” Tour, will be the headline act. The all-girl quartet are recognisable for their harmonious brand of pop that has led to number one singles such as “Never Ever” as well as two Brit Awards and a recent album, Red Flag.

The only evening fixture of the season at York gets underway at 6.00 pm on Friday with gates opening at 4pm.

The highlight of a valuable six race card is the ninth running of a Listed race for fillies and mares, the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Stakes offering an increased prize fund of £50,000 and one of twenty-one contests on the Knavesmire this year supported by The European Breeders’ Fund. Last year’s race was won by Diploma, another smart sort in the colours of HM The Queen, from the yard of Sir Michael Stoute.

Also featured on a Friday evening card now worth over £110,000 is a handicap contest over five and a half furlongs that demonstrates Sky Bet’s commitment to The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, as this meeting is part of the initiative that links the eight flat courses in the county, over nine days of fantastic sport.
Apprentice jockeys are in the spotlight in the opening race, The Think as One Stakes, with two-year-olds being the rationale for The Best One Xtra Local Median Auction Novice Stakes; whilst a competitive handicap takes the name of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing. A much missed York Annual Badgeholder , Tom Parsons, is remembered by just the sort of handicap that he enjoyed solving.

Saturday’s quality seven-race programme means the prize money for Saturday will exceed £250,000. The action starts at 2.05 p.m. with the entire card sponsored by Sky Bet – the Leeds based firm who are regular supporters of York and also one of the leading horseracing, gaming and sports betting companies in the U.K.

The principal race on Saturday is the twelfth running of The Sky Bet York Stakes, at a record prize money offering of £120,000 (up by £20,000); this Group 2 contest is run over the extended one mile and a quarter. Won last year by Time Test, a thoroughbred now running in Group One races in the USA, still in those famous Juddmonte silks. According to recent history Saturday’s victor could reappear in the best race in Great Britain and the richest race of York’s season, the £1,000,000 Juddmonte International on Wednesday 23 August.

Also featured on Saturday’s strong card is the fastest race of the two days, the Sky Bet Dash. This £50,000 sprint is over six furlongs. Last year’s winner was Kimberalla, yet another of the quality sprinters trained by David “Dandy” Nicholls whose passing sees the horse now in the care of fellow Yorkshire handler, Richard Fahey.

Former racehorses now in the care of ‘New Beginnings’, a Yorkshire-based charity, are in attendance on Saturday, enabling racegoers to see them at close hand.

Several giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action from both the track and the stage on both days, as well as following the action from the other big Saturday race meeting at Ascot and Test Match cricket from The Oval.

Away from the main stage, there will be music from both Doctor Jazz and The Monotones. The popular ‘Punter’s Panel’ takes place prior to racing helping racegoers to identify possible winners.

For the best in racing and live music York is the perfect venue.

York Racecourse is pleased that its application for planning permission to improve the racegoer’s experience of the infield area of the track has been approved by City of York Council.

Formally known as The Course Enclosure, often referred to as the family or picnic enclosure, it is a largely open air space already enjoyed by over 60,000 visitors each season.

Approval has been granted to a scheme that seeks to improve access, enhance and increase the number of toilets and better showcase the iconic Listed Clocktower building, which is the centrepiece of this area.

Proud to have been part of the sporting, social and economic life of York since 1731, the racecourse has seen many popular developments, most recently of the County Stand facilities to its Northern End. The cycle of improvement means it is now the turn of this informal area to once again benefit from an investment; in this case, some £4 million has been earmarked for the project.

The proposed creation of pedestrian walkways from the entry level of the area up to the top of the banking means that racegoers with pushchairs or wheelchairs will find it easier to take advantage of the elevated viewing of the final furlong. A planned new lift will also ease access between the levels.

One of the challenges with the existing facilities is that they are victims of the damp as they are set into the rear (western) side of the grass bank and are also exposed to the consequences of flooding. Each year the racecourse team battle to make them presentable with a cleaning and repainting schedule. Two new toilet blocks can now be built at the northern and southern ends of the bank acting as “bookends”. Constructed to a twenty-first century standard and slightly elevated, they should remain dry, offering a lighter and brighter environment. Of course, disabled toilets will be present in all refurbished areas. When coupled with a wholesale refit of another toilet block on this side of the course, the total number of female toilets will be approximately doubled.

The Clocktower building was originally designed to house the workings of the clock itself; with its exterior being used as a numbers board, where hand painted signs would provide an update on runners, riders and results. The modern era has seen both uses overtaken by the provision of two giant outdoor screens that can provide the latest updates at the touch of a button. However it remains a landmark structure, worthy of its Listed status, so it will benefit from refurbishment and improved access as part of the proposed scheme. The team at Historic England gave their support to the application.

When the Clocktower was first opened in the late 1920s, the stonework of the wall that sits below it, on the western face, would have been far more visible than it is today; as the addition of a steel canopy in the 1950s shrouded this view. The planning application proposes to remove this steel canopy and so the undercroft area, revealing the original stonework to its full effect.

A sunny afternoon picnic is how this area is often enjoyed but the scheme includes provision for the service of food and drinks from a series of kiosks set at the top of the bank. Along with the betting facilities, these will be covered by lightweight canopies similar to the ones already in use on the stands side. These same canopies will afford some wet weather protection but it is not the intention to create the scale of structure that would be required to shelter a large crowd.

The now approved plan was developed in consultation with the appropriate bodies such as Historic England and the Environment Agency, the local conservation and heritage groups, as well as with the relevant departments at the City of York Council. The Committee agreed that it is designed to address both practical concerns around issues such as flood protection as well as having a positive impact on preserving the heritage of this region of the city.

The project schedule would see the new facilities opened during the 2018 summer race season. It will be overseen by York based conservation architects, Purcell.

Speaking about the application, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, William Derby said, “the Course Enclosure has always been an important part of racing at York and on a sunny day it provides an unrivalled view of the final furlong with the stunning backdrop of the grandstands. It is an area of the racecourse which generations of families and racegoers enjoy. This scheme seeks to address the challenges of the facilities which are located on the infield. It will improve both the physical buildings and standard of facilities for our Course Enclosure racegoers.”

 

GERMAN trainer Dominik Moser will return to his favourite European racecourse on Friday when Artistica and Sugar Free both contest the Group 3 Unibet Summer Stakes, at York.

Moser enjoyed a very special day at the Knavesmire in 2012 when his charge, Gracia Directa, won the same race as a 14/1 chance.

She returned a year later to finish second in the six-furlong contest for fillies and mares aged three-year-olds and upwards.

Artistica, a three-year-old, has won all three of her starts in 2017, including a Listed success at Nottingham followed by a Group 3 victory at Baden-Baden on May 27, so heads to the £60,000 contest on the upgrade.

Moser said: “After Nottingham, when we went to Baden-Baden there was a very short time between the races. But she ran very well in a fantastic time.

“We gave her a little break after her last race and she has worked very well in the last two weeks.

“She travels very well. This is a young filly but she is very professional on her journeys.

“I think six furlongs is the best distance for her. We saw last year that seven was a little bit too far.”

Sugar Free was second in Listed company at Hanover earlier in the season before contesting a race of the same class at Haydock. On that occasion she stumbled from the stalls and finished sixth of ten. But Moser rates her ability as close to that of Artistica.

He said: “Sugar Free had a little bit of a bad luck at Haydock last time.

“Artistica has no problems with any ground. She won on soft ground and good ground. I think Sugar Free needs a little bit more good ground – she doesn’t like soft.

“This race was one of the goals from the beginning of the year for Artistica and Sugar Free.”

Franny Norton rides Artistica, while Robert Winston – Gracia Directa’s old ally – will be aboard Sugar Free. The pair are part of a quality 16-strong field which includes such local opposition as Queen Kindly, the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther winner of last season.

For Moser, the day will trigger fond memories of Gracia Directa’s triumph on the Knavesmire.

He added: “It was a big thing for me – very special.  For me, it’s a dream to come back to York. It’s my favourite racetrack in Europe.”

TRAINER Jeremy Noseda has reported Sixties Groove to be “in great order” ahead of Saturday’s John Smith’s Cup at York.

The four-year-old, owned by Paul and Susan Roy, is a general 8/1 favourite for the £200,000 heritage handicap staged over an extended mile and a quarter.

Connections will be hoping the gelding can emulate the achievement of his sire, Sixties Icon, and secure a big-race triumph at York. Sixties Icon carried the Roy’s familiar lilac silks to victory in the St Leger in 2006 – the year in which the famous mile and three-quarters Classic was staged on the Knavesmire, while a new stand was constructed on Town Moor.

Sixties Groove did not scale such heights as his father as a three-year-old but still registered three victories.

His latest campaign has seen him deliver two promising runs, not least his fifth-placed effort in the Duke of Edinburgh handicap at Royal Ascot where he probably didn’t enjoy the run of the race.

Noseda said: “Sixties Groove is in great order. In the circumstances he ran very creditably at Royal Ascot and I am happy with how he has come out of Royal Ascot.

“He has done one nice piece of work since and we are looking forward to Saturday’s race. Gerald Mosse will take the ride.

“The track, trip and likely fast-ish ground all should be suitable. He goes there with a very solid chance.”

Fellow Newmarket-based trainer David Simcock is set to be double-handed in his bid to land the 58th renewal of what is the longest sponsored flat contest in the world.

Simcock plans to saddle Majeed and Dragon Mall. The former was beaten a diminishing neck by Snoano in the Wolferton (Listed) Handicap at Royal Ascot, while Dragon Mall was a further three lengths back after badly missing the break.

Simcock said: “The John Smith’s Cup is a lovely race for these older exposed horses. Both Majeed and Dragon Mall could have a good each-way chance.

“Majeed was arguably unlucky in the Wolferton. He seems in good order and York is a track that should suit him.

“Dragon Mall is mercurial. He is a talented horse who did remarkably well to be beaten just over three lengths last time at Ascot considering how he raced early on. If the real Dragon Mall turns up on the day he’d be very competitive.”

The seven–race card starts at 1.55pm with the John Smith’s Racing Handicap staged over almost a mile where Noseda could send the talented four-year-old, Abe Lincoln, who returned to action in the Royal Hunt Cup after a long lay-off. He finished in mid-division on that occasion at Royal Ascot.

Noseda said: “We are looking at possible objectives at York and Newmarket for Abe Lincoln. He is in good shape and I was satisfied with his first effort of the year.

“He should acquit himself well wherever we decide to let him take his chance.”

The richest ever running of the famous John Smith’s Cup raceday will see over £365,000 on offer for the 58th staging of a day that contains the famous handicap itself, Saturday 15 July. The £200,000 prize money of the feature contest makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme that includes two Listed races, which have both increased in value by 25% to offer £50,000 purses.

The headline contest is the longest continuous commercial sponsorship of a flat race in the country, an arrangement that will now reach at least the Diamond Jubilee of the contest – as the racecourse last year announced a further extension of the deal with Heineken.

The opening day on the Friday features the Group Three Unibet Summer Stakes, both offering a black type opportunity to the fastest filly down the six furlong course as well as signalling a regular sponsor partner to the track. The online brand also backs a competitive middle distance handicap, earlier in the afternoon and racedays at York in both late May and mid-October.

One of Europe’s most prestigious and competitive middle-distance heritage handicap contests, Saturday’s renewal of The John Smith’s Cup is contested over the extended one mile and a quarter. The winning owner can look forward to receiving the specially-commissioned Wedgwood challenge trophy.

Fougalle was the first winner of this famous race back in 1960, and since then there have been many dramatic moments, with the race becoming a major betting heat of the summer. In 2016, Educate provided trainer, Ismail Mohammed, and jockey, Thomas Brown, with a memorable victory. Last season’s champion jockey, Jim Crowley, took the Listed John Smith’s Silver Cup for Pamona from Ralph Beckett’s yard, with Group One winner, Quest for More, being a beaten favourite on that day.

The sprinters have their say in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls over five furlongs and the 2016 winner, Marsha, has proven a top-class performer for Sir Mark Prescott, notably with her Group One triumph in France last October.

Always one of the big days of the year, this event has become a showcase for ‘Yorkshire’s Finest’, and sees John Smith’s treasuring its Yorkshire roots with a full Yorkshire menu of locally-sourced and home-made food. In addition, there will be a number of cask ales available at the racecourse, thanks to collaboration with fellow Yorkshire brewers, Theakston’s.

The highlight on Friday, The Unibet Summer Stakes, is a Group Three sprint contest over six furlongs for fillies and mares, continues to offer a purse of £60,000. Last year’s race was won by Ridge Ranger for Lancashire trainer, Eric Alston. Previous winners have come from Germany and Dominik Moser will be hoping that his current star filly, Artistica, can follow where Gracia Directa led the way in 2012, returning to Saxony as champion.

Friday sees a number of other long-standing supporters of the Knavesmire return with Cakemark and Acturis in attendance; alongside the accountancy firm responsible for audit matters at the track, Garbutt + Elliott. Once again, it is an “ITM Friday” as the Irish organisation responsible for promoting bloodstock sales from the emerald isle back a five furlong handicap. The final race of Friday gives apprentice riders their chance and the younger generation will be very much in mind as Sugro UK back the race on behalf of the Wingate Centre, a charity that provides life-enriching holidays for children with special needs.

The two days of racing get underway with an interesting novice contest over the unusual distance of five and a half furlongs. It is among the twenty-one contests backed by the European Breeders’ Fund who also recognise the Racehorse Owners Association Jackpot Scheme in the race title.
Catering for broad musical tastes, Friday offers a choice of the Chris Brown Quartet or Murphy’s Marbles brand of foot-stomping Irish tunes. More of both from this pairing on day two as the party atmosphere of Saturday also hosts The Players performing their melodic set of popular covers on the bandstand as the last race crosses the line.

A number of giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action on both days, along with racing from Newmarket’s July Meeting and Ascot. The tennis action from Wimbledon will be shown on televisions around the track. The popular punters’ panel held prior to racing on the winners’ podium will preview the card on both days.

METEOR Light will bid to complete a three-timer when he contests the sunbets.co.uk Handicap – the £50,000 feature of Saturday’s seven-race card at York.

The lightly-raced three-year-old has only had three career starts, triumphing in his last two. Trainer Ed Vaughan’s charge opened his account at Nottingham in early May before winning a handicap a month later at Leicester.

That was a Class 4 contest and now Vaughan has stepped up Meteor Light in grade to Class 2 level for this extended mile and a quarter race on what is a brand new raceday on the Knavesmire. But he is looking forward to seeing how the improving Clodovil gelding competes against stronger opposition.

Newmarket-based Vaughan said: “He is a progressive horse, who won nicely last time from a tricky draw.

“I know it’s soft ground at York but a bit of juice won’t hinder him, that’s for sure. And I think the track will suit him, also. It’s a nice flat, galloping track – it’s a no excuses track for any horse, really.

“He still doesn’t know a whole lot about racing – he’ll improve again for another run

“I think he is probably in better shape than he ever has been. Since his last run, he has eaten well, is looking great and he’s in great form with himself. We don’t try him at home. They just improve with their racing.

“He hasn’t put a foot wrong yet this year, has slipped into a decent handicap off a nice low weight so it’s worth taking the chance.”

Vaughan’s string is firing at around a 22 per cent success rate and he enjoyed a nice winner at Newmarket last Friday, thanks to Roman Holiday. “They’re all running to form,” he added.

The first Saturday of July is a brand new raceday for York and is already proving very popular.

Not only are there some unique races on the Sun Bets supported card – including the “Jump Jockeys Nunthorpe”, only open to riders who hold a National Hunt Licence – with extra entertainment coming from a post-racing concert by pop superstar, Olly Murs. Stands Side has reached capacity in advance but racegoers can still follow the £150,000 card as well as the music from Course Enclosure, which goes on sale on the day at 11.15am

The first race is at 1.55pm when the two-year-olds are out in the Sun Bets Download The App Novice Stakes.

 

PADDY Brennan and Tom Scudamore have ridden the last two winners of the King George VI Chase – one of jump racing’s most coveted prizes.

But this Saturday the pair – with no less than 16 Cheltenham Festival winners between them – are set for a very different challenge in the £20,000 Follow Sun Bets On Twitter “Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe” Handicap at York.

Instead of getting the leg up on a three-mile chaser, Brennan and Scudamore are preparing to tackle the flying five furlongs on the Knavesmire, which is the distance that the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is staged over every August at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Brennan, who is well known for his partnership with the superb Cue Card (King George hero in 2015), is jocked-up to ride the in-form Henley for trainer Tracy Waggott. But while riding a sprinter is not the norm for Brennan, it is far from unknown territory for him.

He said: “I’ve ridden on the Flat before. I started with Jim Bolger and I rode a winner over five furlongs at Navan. It’s a long, long time ago but yeah, I’ve experienced it.

“The horse won his last two – any rain probably won’t do him any harm. But it’s five furlongs and we’ll jump out and go as fast as we can.

“This is definitely new to most of the lads – they wouldn’t have experienced anything like this, ever.

“York is a lovely place. I’ve been there before – it’s one of the nicest racecourses I’ve been to, so I’m looking forward to going and riding on the track.”

Like Brennan, weighing-room colleague Scudamore rode on the Flat very early in his career.

Scudamore, the rider of last year’s King George star Thistlecrack, said: “When I first started I was 16 – I rode on the Flat. Ryan Moore, Davy Russell and myself all started off competing against each other on the Flat.

“It was a very good experience and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I was champion amateur on the Flat. I think I rode 10 winners on the Flat as an amateur, so did okay. It was a long, long time ago (he landed the Flat amateurs’ championship in 2001).”

Scudamore is scheduled to partner the Paul Midgley-trained Gamesome this Saturday. He says there has already been some chat among the jump jockeys about riding at York and it’s a race he’d love to win.

Scudamore added: “It would be tremendous, a great thrill. I might have ridden a sprinter as an amateur round Redcar. Other than that, I’ve never ridden in a sprint race, so it will be a new experience and one I’m very much looking forward to.”

The declarations for the race will be published tomorrow but several other jump jockeys are already listed to ride: Timmy Murphy (Love On The Rocks), Jack Quinlan (Escalating), Sean Quinlan (Mount Kiara), Andrew Tinkler (Bashiba), Joe Colliver (Fumbo Jumbo) and Sam Twiston-Davies (Memories Galore).

Saturday’s first of seven races is due off at 1.55pm, with Olly Murs taking to the stage after racing. The popularity of the event means that the racecourse has reached capacity on Stands Side. There will be no admissions to Stand Side sold on the day, however racegoers can still be part of the atmosphere by visiting the Course Enclosure, it is only open for sales once gates open (11.15am) on the raceday. For more information please visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>.

 

York is back in action with a brand new raceday on the first Saturday of July, as a combination of an £150,000 seven race card, with some special races and a concert from pop superstar, Olly Murs, has already proven popular.

As with every afternoon at York, there is a valuable feature race, on this occasion a £50,000 middle distance handicap supported by Sunbets, who give their backing to the whole day

Another likely first on the afternoon will come courtesy of the winning rider in the “Jump Jockeys Nunthorpe”; a handicap contest over the flying five furlongs, only open to riders who hold a National Hunt License. Will champion jockey, Richard Johnson, record his first Knavesmire winner?

The final and longest race of the afternoon, over one and a half miles, is another unusual handicap as it potentially puts three types of jockey in direct competition. All need to be female riders however, as the name Pro-AM suggests, fully fledged professionals can compete against amateurs, as well as apprentices. York was the first course to see a female rider win a Group One when Alex Greaves landed the Coolmore Nunthorpe of 1997, a feat repeated by Hayley Turner in 2011. The growing reputations of York winners already this season, Josephine Gordon, Georgia Cox or Jo Mason would be further enhanced by a victory.

The popularity of the event means that the racecourse has reached capacity on Stands Side so a crowd of over 30,000 is already guaranteed. There will be no admissions to Stand Side sold on the day, however racegoers can still be part of the atmosphere by visiting The Course Enclosure (called the Picnic Enclosure by some). In the middle of the racecourse, it is only open for sales once gates open (11.15am) on the raceday, Course Enclosure will be part of the atmosphere and offers an angled view of the stage (and great view of the racing) moreover the sound system will reach this area. Admission to the Course Enclosure is £10 for adults, £8 for over 65s and free of charge to accompanied under 18s. It can only be purchased when the gates open at 11.15am on Saturday. The capacity of Course Enclosure is significant and it has not reached this capacity on previous music events, however the advice, as always, is to arrive early.

Expecting a lot of first time racegoers, there will be the opportunity to explore a track recently voted as the best in Britain, by the knowledgeable Racegoers Club. The upgraded areas such as the new Eat Between Our Races Café form part of a rolling programme of improvements that has seen the unveiling of £10m Northern End Development in recent years. True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £31. Other tastes are catered for with an extended range of craft beers brewed by Ainsty Ales just beyond the six furlong start, the introduction of premium mixers from Fever-Tree to join the premium spirits served on the smart Moët Ice Roof Terrace, or the easy availability of Heineken 0.0 as a new, refreshing, zero alcohol option.

The sunbets.co.uk Youbetcha British EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes over seven furlongs is one of 21 races at York to also benefit from the generous support of The European Breeders’ Fund.

Racegoers will have the chance to get close to a racehorse as Yorkshire based equine charity; New Beginnings are bringing Harry, (a thoroughbred who raced here in 1994 using his professional name of Golden Hello) as well as his friend Meg the pony.

The relaxed atmosphere of this new fixture is further enhanced with live musical entertainment provided by the Paradise Steel Band on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn and the Players under the Knavesmire Stand.

After racing, all eyes will focus on the dedicated music stage as Olly Murs will entertain the crowd. Since he shot to fame on ‘X Factor’ in 2009, Olly has crafted four multi-platinum albums, produced four number One singles, whilst clocking up total record sales exceeding 10 million. His latest album, ’24 HRS’ sees him working with an array of producers and was recorded in both London and L.A. – Olly has never sounded so good.

For those wanting to get even closer to Olly, there is a competition running on the York Races Facebook page, offering the prize of  “meet and greet” with the singing star, entries need to submitted between 5pm Monday to 10am Thursday.

The ‘Punters Panel’ will preview the action before racing from the winners’ enclosure, while a new giant screen on the John Carr Terrace will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.

Those who want to find out more about this raceday and the season ahead can visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

 

York Racecourse is delighted that  Alison Storey, the Chief Receptionist at the course, has won a Visit York Tourism Award.

Her success came in the Outstanding Customer Service Category where her work, as the first point of contact for many of the 350,000 visitors to the Knavesmire was recognised.

Presented at a glittering ceremony, in the National Railway museum, the evening was a celebration of the tourism industry in the city and surrounding area.

Only last week, York was voted as the Best Racecourse of the Year by the members of the Racegoers Club for the 4th time, another accolade where Alison will have played her part.

Speaking about her award, Alison said, “I’m flattered to have been the one collecting the award but it really is a team effort, so it is a team award. The evening passed in a blur so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the photographs as a reminder of a great evening.”

William Derby, Clerk of the Course and Chief Executive at York, said, “I am truly delighted for Alison, she is a popular member of the hard working team here at the Knavesmire and we so proud she has been recognised with such a prestigious award.  Unendingly helpful, welcoming and a friend to everyone, she embodies the essence of York Racecourse.  Alison has been a lynchpin of York Racecourse since 1999 and she and her colleagues are wonderful ambassadors for the course.  The Visit York team and their sponsors, such as Manchester Airport who backed this category, put in a huge amount of effort to make it a successful event.  It is great to have been a part of it, of course, made all the better by Alison picking up her award.  It adds to the positive mood ahead of the brand new raceday on Saturday 1st July.  We look forward to welcoming the horses, their connections, racegoers and Olly Murs; I think Alison will be busy again.”

 

Watched by nearly 27,000 people, amateur rider Belinda Keighley raced to victory on Buckle Street, trained by her husband, Martin, and raised more than £25,000 for the charity

An amateur horse rider, Belinda Keighley closed a record breaking charity raceday by taking first prize in the Best Western Hotels and Macmillan Ride of their Lives. She was one of 10 amateur riders who today went head-to-head on York Racecourse, in front of a crowd of nearly 27,000 people.

Together, the riders – including a care worker, a swimming teacher and a vet – have so far raised over £132,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support to help people affected by cancer. They began training, and fundraising, six months ago aiming at today’s event. You can still add to this total by visiting their justgiving pages.

The 41 year-old from Luckley in Gloucestershire was joined on the winner’s podium by sons, Freddie, 8, and Harry,6, after seeing off a strong finish from Jo Ford aboard Arabian Oasis, with long time leader, Tanawar, holding on to give third place to Catriona Moon.

She said: “This is a dream come true, it’s absolutely amazing.  That’s probably me retired now, I think I’ll stop at the top – I’ll wait for my two boys to do it now.

“I’ve shed nearly three stone to ride today. I dedicate this race to my mum, Kathy, who we lost too young in 2010 after a brave 18 year battle with cancer and my Dad John, who was the most amazing carer but sadly died three months later.”

The raceday, which is the charity’s single biggest fundraising event, raised a record sum of just over £500,000. All money raised for Macmillan will help the charity continue to provide emotional, financial, medical and practical support to people affected by cancer. Other local cancer and racing charities will also benefit.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a record-breaking success. Macmillan Cancer Support relies on donations to fund our services, which are there to help people living with cancer, so we’re very grateful.”

Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York, William Derby said, “for Macmillan Charity Raceday to set a new record after 47 years and having now raised over £7,650,000 is a wonderful tribute to the support of so many individuals and organisations.  Everyone associated with York Racecourse is so proud of the partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and the funds this day generates for helping people suffering from cancer.  After a week in which we were voted as Best Racecourse in Britain to end it, blessed with glorious weather, top quality racing action and a wonderful atmosphere around the racecourse, as well as that record sum of over £500,000 makes for a memorable chapter in our 2017 season.”

Andrew Denton, Director of Communications at the sponsors, Best Western Hotels & Resorts -Great Britain, said: “The riders have achieved something extraordinary and inspirational by taking part in the Ride of their Lives this year. We are humbled by their stories and their successes over the last six months and as race sponsors we are proud to help raise important funds for people whose lives have been affected by cancer.”

The raceday also featured seven professional races alongside charity lunches, auctions, raffles and collections all helping raise money for Macmillan and other charitable causes.

The online auction drew nationwide attention due to a unique lot – a vintage Vox Soloist guitar signed by more than 40 music legends, including Paul Weller, Van Morrison, Tony Lommi and Johnny Marr. Donated by Keith Stubbs, 68, the Macmillan supporter collected autographs over 10 years in the aftermath of his own cancer diagnosis. The guitar sold today for £2,550.

More than 150 Macmillan volunteers took part in Raceday, collecting donations and selling more than 19,000 raffle tickets to further boost the grand total. Just by attending, racegoers played their part as a contribution comes from each and every gate receipt.

Macmillan Charity Raceday is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. Founded by the late Reg Griffin, the event has been held at York, annually since 1971, now raising more than £7.6 million in total for Macmillan and other charitable causes.

Macmillan Charity Raceday will return on Saturday 16 June 2018, so put the date in your diary.

For further information, please contact:

 

 

 

David Williams, Regional Communications Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support

PROGRESSIVE young sprinter Ekhtiyaar is all set to tackle the Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap at York on Saturday.

The six figure, six-furlong prize is the feature contest on Britain’s biggest charity raceday.

With a prize fund of £100,000 it is one of the season’s most valuable contests for three-year-old sprinters and has been won in the past by the likes of Cadeaux Genereux, Sheikh Albadou and more recently, Twilight Son.

The Sheikh Hamdan-owned Ekhtiyaar has some way to go before he is mentioned in the same breath as that trio but he certainly looks a sprinter to follow.

A winner of his second start at Yarmouth last October, the son of Bated Breath was runner-up on his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster before taking a six-furlong handicap at Newmarket a month ago.

He overcame trouble in running that day to beat a field of improving sprinters by a head with many of Saturday’s potential rivals in behind. He was raised 5lb for that victory by the handicapper – an increase which his trainer, Roger Varian, is hopeful will not halt his progression.

The Newmarket-based trainer said: “The handicap programme for three-year-old sprinters is a lucrative one and this race is a standout being such a valuable contest. As such, the plan was always to come here with Ekhtiyaar following his victory at Newmarket and I think the course will suit him given he is a strong-travelling type.

“The horse has been in good form following his victory last month and he posted an impressive performance on that occasion, given he was forced to switch entering the Dip as a gap was closed by a horse hanging in front of him. It is not easy to regain momentum in rain-softened ground and the way he picked up inside the final furlong was quite taking, with the front three pulling a long way clear of the remainder.

“The overall time of the race was good and a 5lb rise for the win seems a very workable assessment of the form by the handicapper. The better ground won’t be a problem and I hope Ekhtiyaar holds very solid claims, for all a number of horses arrive here on steep upward curves and I expect the race to be as competitive as the prize fund suggests it ought to be.”

Another highlight on the card is the Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes, a Listed contest over a mile. The boosted £50,000 prize could see some real old favourites, with the likes of Custom Cut, Kool Kompany, Gabrial and Mondialiste as well as 2yo Course Record holder Dutch Connection, all featuring in the initial entry.

Saturday’s card will also see ten people even getting the chance to ride around the famous Knavesmire in the nine-furlong charity race – the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their lives. Each rider is required to raise at least £3,000 with the aim to beat last year’s combined total of £150,000- help them on their Justgiving  pages.

The day gets underway at 1:50pm with The Queen Mother’s Cup, a race for lady amateur riders which was won in 1988 by The Princess Royal.

Racing also takes place on the Knavesmire on Friday with the first of seven races taking place at 1:50.

TRAINER Ian Williams will be hoping Turanga Leela and Monjeni can maintain their fine early-season form at York on Friday – the opening card of a two-day meeting on the Knavesmire.

Turanga Leela has been declared for the feature EBF Breeders Series Fillies’ Handicap – a £30,000 contest for three-year-olds and upwards. The six-furlong race has attracted twelve runners.

The Williams-trained speedster won in good style by a length and a half at Chester at the end of May.

It was a second victory at that track for Turanga Leela, who is owned by Denise and Mark Sheasby of Eventmasters Racing – who also sponsor the closing apprentices’ handicap, in support of their hospitality business.

The British Horseracing Authority handicapper raised her 7lb for that latest victory and her latest assignment will be a first crack in a Class 2 handicap.

Williams said: “Turanga Leela loves Chester and probably saves her best for there but has certainly earned the right to run in this race – although it looks very competitive.

“This is by far a stiffer assignment but she merits an opportunity against these horses.

“George Wood (apprentice rider) takes a handy 3lb off. But on the face of it she was given quite a lump for her win at Chester. So, it does make it very challenging for her on Friday.”

Monjeni is one of eleven declared for the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Handicap staged over a mile and three-quarters.

He joined Williams for his four-year-old campaign and has proved a revelation thus far. The gelding has won three of this four starts from Williams’ Alvechurch stables, including last time out at Haydock in mid-May.

Williams added: “Monjeni has a very progressive profile and I was very impressed with the way he won at Haydock last time.

“Ultimately, the handicapper has had his say and it gets tougher. But being by Montjeu and out of a very good mare, this horse is bred to be good.

“So, it would be lovely for the breeder if Monjeni was able to make another step forward.

“He should enjoy the track and the ground and we are looking forward to seeing him perform.

“He will hopefully enjoy a truly-run race and a good long straight to get going in.”

Saturday showcases emerging sprint stars with £100,000 up for grabs in the Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap.

On the same card, a field of high-class milers will line up for the £50,000 Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes – a Listed–class race.

Friday’s seven-race card, demonstrates York’s wide ranging investment in prize money, being worth £115,000 in total. It gets underway at 1.50pm.

Everyone at York Racecourse is delighted and honoured that the track has been voted as the best racecourse in the country by The Racegoers Club, following their 2016 annual survey of members.

It is the fourth time that York has been awarded the top title and as usual it was a close fought contest with Cheltenham, who continue to be the best loved track that stage jump racing.

Voters were asked for their scores on five categories; viewing experience, facilities, food & beverage, atmosphere and value for money. The courses were split into three geographical regions and the winners were selected by who had the highest overall average score across all categories.

York was described by one member as: “Still the best racecourse in the country. Great racing and a brilliant atmosphere, a must visit this year.”

Having won the national title, logically it follows that York also retained the equivalent title at a regional level, for The North & Scotland; a record 27th year that this regional award has been given to the Knavesmire, from the longest established supporters club for the sport.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said, “”The best awards to win are always those voted for by your customers, so it gives me great pleasure to be able to thank the Racegoers Club for this honour. As has been well documented the standards across all racecourses just keep on improving, so it is a real tribute to everyone involved with York that we have managed to secure the top spot. I’m sure that spirit of friendly competition will see the team at Cheltenham keen to take back the crown and we’re already working hard to retain it with our 2017 season already under full steam.”

 

The next chance to experience the award winning York Racecourse is on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th June.

 

 

TRAINER Tim Easterby is aiming for a third victory in five runnings of the £100,000 feature race at York on Macmillan Charity raceday, the Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Stakes, staged this Saturday on the Knvesmire.

Easterby, who trains at Habton Grange near Malton, won the valuable prize for three-year-old sprinters in 2013 with Body And Soul and a year later with See The Sun.

For the latest renewal, he has three entries headed by Copper Knight, winner of a the Unibet Sprint, a five-furlong handicap at York on May 27. Only two horses among the 29-strong entry for this six-furlong contest have a higher official rating than his figure of 101.

The son of Sir Prancealot has struck the last twice but has only competed at the minimum distance of five furlongs in his nine career starts. That’s why he has also been entered at Sandown in the Listed Scurry Stakes at the weekend.

Easterby said: “We’re just deciding whether to run at York or Sandown. He has never run over six furlongs before – that’s the only dodge that we’re a little bit concerned about.

“I should think there would be a good chance he’d run. He’s in good form and the money is fantastic.

“It’s a brilliant race to target with a three-year-old sprinter. We’re willing to support York if we can.”

Easterby has also entered 89-rated Hope Solo – who last ran in July – and the 81-rated Golden Apollo who is in action at Pontefract this evening.

Easterby added: “If Golden Apollo happened to win at Ponte, then it could be tempting.

“Hope Solo is in good form and working well. I’ll speak to Steve Parkin (whose Clipper Logistics colours Hope Solo carries) – there could be a chance I might run her.

“She is also in at York on the Friday as well (the £30,000 EBF Breeders Series Fillies Handicap). She will definitely run one day there.”

The wider raceday is one that Easterby always enjoys. Indeed, last year there was double cause for celebration in the Easterby household as Tim trained Snoano, victorious in the Queen Mother’s Cup partnered by the winning lady amateur rider. who was his daughter. Emily. The unique prize of winning her weight in GH Mumm champagne was particularly well received.

Easterby added: “It’s a good raceday, well planned.”

York’s two-day June meeting gets underway on Friday afternoon.

 

Building on 47 years of popularity with racing fans and with over £7 million already raised for good causes, Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse this Saturday (17 June) promises to be an afternoon of quality racing that again helps those in most need.

Saturday’s principal race is The Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Stakes, run in memory of the inspirational shoe retailer, Cathy Paver, who died earlier this year.  One of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds, it offers prize money of £100,000. The roll of honour in this race over six furlongs includes top sprinters such as Cadeaux Genereux and Sheikh Albadou.

Still a relative new aspect of the event, the day will end with Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives, a chance for eleven supporters to participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each has pledged at least £3,000 to the charity and you can help them beat last year’s contribution of over £150,000 by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving.  Among the riders is Jo Ford, 45, a housewife from Bedale in North Yorkshire. Jo has recovered from surgery to rebuild part of her back following injury and disease affecting her spine.  She has also had cancer twice. As well as, Stella Riley, 41, owner of a baby swimming business, who simply says “I want to make my two young boys proud.”  The seven women and four men span three decades, aged 23 to 55.

The charity auction so generously supported over the years is now available to view online in advance of the raceday.  This means everyone can place a bid for the many stunning lots. A VIP trip to Coolmore, a weekend break in a Best Western Hotel every month for a year, or a Woburn golf break are all amongst the travel items.  An array of fine dining experiences, an Aagrah ‘cook in’ with Mohammed Aslam MBE, or the chance to brew your own recipe of beer or a private tour of York Minster, are some of the more unusual opportunities.  Visit www.macmillanyorkraceday.co.uk<http://www.macmillanyorkraceday.co.uk> for more information on how to make your bid.

Since 2012, a Listed race has featured on the Saturday racing programme supported alongside the Charity Race by York-based, Best Western Hotels.  The Ganton Stakes over one mile offers record prize money, increased to £50,000 and so provides another reason to attend the day, just by attending, racegoers will increase the money raised for charity.

Racing on Saturday begins at 1.55pm, with the 29th running of The Queen Mother’s Cup, the richest race for lady amateur riders in Britain and a contest won by The Princess Royal in 1988.  It offers an opportunity for the successful rider to toast her success in her own weight of G.H. Mumm champagne.

Known as a world leader in construction technology, JCB, support a valuable handicap over seven furlongs.  The high standard continues on this Charity Raceday with The Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes – a contest for two-year-olds named in honour of the founder of this Charity Day in 1971.  The Ice Co° back a competitive handicap for the fifth year that denotes their support of Macmillan, a link that was cemented when company director, Polly Marr, rode in the Macmillan Charity Race of 2013.  The seventh race of the card welcomes a debut supporter in Rievaulx Sporting, who offer some of the finest driven partridge, pheasant and duck shooting to be found anywhere in the world.

Macmillan Charity Day is part of a two-day meeting with racing on the Friday beginning with one of twenty-one contests at York to benefit from the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund; they also support the feature of the afternoon, a fillies’ handicap over six furlongs, that offers £30,000 in prize money and so cements the policy of every card on the Knavesmire being worth at least £100,000.

With an on course presence on every Friday at York, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing sponsor a valuable handicap contest over the fourteen furlong trip.  The SKF Rous Selling Stakes has now been supported for more than a dozen years by engineering company, SKF (UK) Ltd.  Then Goffs UK will bring the excitement of the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure with an auction straight after the race.  The Jigsaw Sports Branding Stakes, a handicap contest over seven furlongs demonstrates the help given to the track by its sign and branding contractor.  On a card full of variety, the work colleagues of Peter “Sooty” Sutton have backed the sort of ten furlong handicap that he loved in his memory, with the concluding race as a handicap contest for apprentice jockeys.

The ‘Punters’ Panel’ takes place prior to racing on both days from the winner’s podium as a preview to the action on each day, while giant screens will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.

As part of a series of initiatives to get closer to the sport, groups of racegoers will be able to enjoy accompanied, complimentary trips to the round course starts.  On Saturday, they will also have the chance to meet a retired racehorse, Harry, courtesy of equine charity, New Beginnings.

The two day meeting offers a further chance for racegoers to explore the latest improvements to the racegoing experience at York, such as, the extensive refurbishment of the eating area on the ground floor of the Ebor Stand.  Called “Eat Between Our Races”, the new name seeks to capture the speed of service on offer, as well as referencing the most famous contest at the track.  A range of freshly made hot and cold deli sandwiches and tasty cakes are likely to start as favourites in this particular race.  The upgraded area forms part of a rolling programme of improvements that has seen the unveiling of £10 million Northern End Development in recent years.  The past winter also saw an upgrading to the “thatched head-on box” which is a recognisable landmark at York.  Renovated and restored in Douglas Fir to the style of the rest of the equine areas of the course, this improvement has been kindly supported by the Calvert family.  True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £31.  Other tastes are catered for with an extended range of craft beers brewed by Ainsty Ales just beyond the six furlong start, the introduction of premium mixers from Fever-Tree to join the premium spirits served on the smart Moët Ice Roof Terrace, or the easy availability of Heineken 0.0 as a new, refreshing, zero alcohol option.

Musical accompaniment to the action will take the form of three different bands; Murphy’s Marbles performing their brand of foot stompin’ Irish fun in the Knavesmire Courtyard, whilst the equally upbeat The Players will draw proceedings will be brought to a close on Saturday.  On both afternoons, the Tom Roberts Jazz band will entertain the crowds.

 

 

 

 

One of York’s top races will be run in memory of the inspirational shoe retailer Cathy Paver who died earlier this year.

The Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Stakes is the richest handicap for three-year-olds in Europe. It will be held on Saturday June 17 and will be televised on ITV4.

It forms part of the Macmillan Charity Raceday, the charity’s biggest single fund-raising event of the year.

Cathy Paver was the founder of the York-based Pavers, which is now a hugely-successful global footwear retailer.

Beth Morgan-Henderson, head of brand and marketing at Pavers and a friend of Cathy’s, said: “Cathy loved racing and owned racehorses and this is a very appropriate way of remembering her and honouring her legacy in her home city. It is especially relevant because this race is the highlight of Macmillan Cancer Support’s charity day and Cathy herself died from this terrible disease.

Full press release, plus photo of Cathy with two of her beloved horses, attached.

For further info, please contact:

Robert Beaumont Associates,

Minskip Lodge,

Minskip,

York

YO51 9JF

 

01423 323139 or 07710 127713

York is back in action with the first Saturday of its eighteen day season (May 27).

As with every afternoon at York, the total prize money is into six figures, on this occasion over £180,000 for the seven race card, with the feature race boosted by £10,000.

The younger generation will be able to take part in activity with The Pony Club from a special marquee in Course Enclosure, an area that will come to life in the forecast sunshine. The same positive weather outlook means that the track has relaxed its dress code for the County Stand area, so no jacket is required, simply a collared shirt and tie for gentlemen.

This is the first opportunity for weekend racegoers to explore the latest improvements to the racegoing experience at York, such as, the extensive refurbishment of the eating area on the ground floor of the Ebor Stand. Called “Eat Between Our Races” the new name seeks to capture the speed of service on offer, as well as referencing the most famous contest at the track. A range of freshly made hot and cold deli sandwiches and tasty cakes are likely to start as favourites in this particular race. The upgraded area forms part of a rolling programme of improvements that has seen the unveiling of £10m Northern End Development in recent years. This winter has also seen an upgrading to the “thatched head-on box” which is a recognisable landmark at York.  Renovated and restored in Douglas Fir to the style of the rest of the equine areas of the course, this improvement has been kindly supported by the Calvert family. True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £31. Other tastes are catered for with an extended range of craft beers brewed by Ainsty Ales just beyond the six furlong start, the introduction of premium mixers from Fever-Tree to join the premium spirits served on the smart Moët Ice Roof Terrace, or the easy availability of Heineken 0.0 as a new, refreshing, zero alcohol option.

The first of now seven Saturday afternoon fixtures this season on the Knavesmire, the day welcomes back, weddingmates.co.uk, the footwear accessory brand, who support the Listed Grand Cup. Locally trained by Peter Niven, Clever Cookie, is a two time winner of the race who looks set to face some smart opposition, including the progressive four-year-old, Frontiersman, carrying Godolphin’s blue silks or Midterm trained by Sir Michael Stoute, highly regarded as a three year old, running in the famous Juddmonte colours.

New to the day is online betting company, Unibet, who back a top drawer contest for sprinters, The Unibet Sprint, the second contest on the day to offer prize money of £50,000. Big sprint handicaps on the Knavesmire are as popular with Yorkshire trainers as with Yorkshire racegoers and some thirteen of the entries hail from the white rose county.

Extending their support for York, is Godolphin, who back a competitive race to increase the profile of their Club Godolphin initiative.

The Yorkshire Regiment, also return to put their name to a contest for novice two-year-olds and away from the track, the Regimental Band will entertain racegoers. It is also part a racing scheme known as Plus 10, meaning that there is a bonus of £10,000, awarded to the winning connections, if the horses are qualified.

The Infinity Tyres British EBF Fillies Stakes is one of 21 races at York to also benefit from the generous support of The European Breeders’ Fund

Gentleman amateur riders have their opportunity in the final race of the afternoon, a handicap contest over seven furlongs, sponsored once again by York-based John Wright Electrical Services Ltd, who have worked on the facilities at the racecourse.

 

Racegoers will have the chance to get close to a racehorse as Yorkshire based equine charity; New Beginnings are bringing Harry, (a thoroughbred who raced here in 1994 using his professional name of Golden Hello) as well as his friend Meg the pony.

The relaxed atmosphere of the first weekend fixture is further enhanced with live musical entertainment provided by the Band of the Yorkshire Regiment on the Weighing Room Lawn and the Superlicks under the Knavesmire Stand. The upbeat style of The Players provides the soundtrack to the late afternoon.

The totepool ‘Punters Panel’ will preview the action before racing from the winners’ enclosure, while a new giant screen on the John Carr Terrace will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.

Racegoers will be able to follow both the One Day International Cricket and the FA Cup Final on selected televisions around the course.

Those who want to find out more about this raceday and the season ahead can visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

 

PROGRESSIVE four-year-old Frontiersman is set for his toughest assignment to date when he tackles the Listed feature on York’s first Saturday, the weddingmates.co.uk<http://weddingmates.co.uk> Grand Cup Stakes.

The Godolphin-owned colt got his 2017 campaign off to the best possible start with victory in a competitive handicap at Newmarket’s QIPCO Guineas Festival.

With an official rating of 109, connections feel he is ready for the step up to Pattern company and look forward to him taking his chance on the first of seven Saturday fixtures on the Knavesmire.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “He has come out of his win at Newmarket well and the plan at this stage is to run at York.

“We see the race as a bit of a fact-finding mission as we are stepping up in trip to a mile and three-quarters and we are hoping that this might open doors for him in the future.

“He is a beautifully bred horse – I couldn’t be happier with him and I feel that he has got this level in him.

“As I said before, this race will, all being well, show us whether he is a horse to campaign in pattern mile and a half races or make up into a ‘Cup’ performer.”

It would be no surprise to see Frontiersman take the step up in grade in his stride and add some more ‘black type’ to what is already one of the best pedigrees in racing. By Dubawi, Frontiersman is out of seven-time Group 1 winner Ouija Board and a half-brother to Investec Derby hero, Australia. In addition to the Classic at Epsom, Australia also took the 2014-renewal of the Group 1 Juddmonte International on the Knavesmire.

Another colt, bred from the highest class, who could contest this £50,000 prize is Midterm, a son of Galileo and multiple Group 1 winner Midday. Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, highly regarded as a three year old, finished third in last weekend’s Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury and carries the famous Juddmonte colours.

York favourite, Clever Cookie, trained locally by Peter Niven looks set to take his chance in a race that he has twice landed (2014 & 2015). The intriguing Harrison, an emphatic winner of a conditions event at Chelmsford last time out for trainer Mick Channon, could add further spice to the contest.

Newmarket-based Yorkshireman William Haggas, who enjoyed a fine Dante Festival, has two entries in Dal Harraild and the unbeaten filly Signe; as does David Simcock who could be represented by Curbyourenthusiasm and Goldmember.

Saturday will see a fascinating seven-race card and, as is always the case at York, there might just be a future champion on show. Two years ago, Galileo Gold, finished second on his racecourse debut in the Yorkshire Regiment British EBF Novice Stakes before going on to multiple top-flight success including last year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.

The action gets underway at 2.10pm and with a bright forecast, the track have relaxed the dress code in County Stand meaning no formal jacket is required, though a collared shirt and tie, is still the obligation for gentlemen.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

Given the forecast for continuing sunny and warm weather into the weekend, York Racecourse has announced a relaxation of its dress code, meaning that racegoers in County Stand are not required to wear a formal jacket, for this Saturday only.

Gentlemen still need to wear a collared shirt and tie in the premium area.

Those enjoying the lawns of Grandstand and Paddock or bringing a picnic to the Course Enclosure can dress in a more relaxed manner to suit the recent hot weather.

As every day offers different weather in Yorkshire, then for the County Stand dress code for the balance of the season reverts to its traditional; jacket, collared shirt and tie.

YORK’S eight time top trainer, Richard Fahey, is hoping to start the new season on the Knavesmire with a winning week at the Dante Festival.

The sizeable Musley Bank team will include Growl in tomorrow’s Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, Forest Ranger in Betfred Dante Stakes and the marvellously named, Brian The Snail, in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Westow  – the latter two contesting their respective races on Thursday.

Five-year-old Growl, one of 13 in the richest ever renewal of the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, is making his seasonal bow and the recent rainfall won’t present a problem to him.

Forest Ranger faces a step up in grade and distance in the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes. He won a mile conditions race at Newcastle last month but this is an altogether tougher assignment with Cracksman, Rekindling and the unexposed Crystal Ocean among the eleven declared runners.

Brian The Snail, owned by Godolphin, will be hoping to add to his unbeaten career record in the five-furlong Listed contest in which eight are set to face the starter.

Fahey said: “The rain will have helped Growl. It will hinder others and help us. We’re very happy with him but it’s a very warm race. I’m sure he’ll run well.

“It has been the plan all year for Forest Ranger to go to the Dante. But it’s a fantastic Dante this year if they all turn up – extremely competitive. We’ve got a small outside chance. I’m a fraction worried about the trip because he’s a horse with plenty of pace.

“The race at Newcastle we earmarked for him and, as far as I’m concerned, came through with flying colours. We’ve been very comfortable with him – he’s a huge horse now and is going to improve with racing.

“Rain helped me to make the decision to declare Brian The Snail. I wouldn’t have wanted to run him over five furlongs on fast ground. The slower ground will help him. We like him a lot. It’s another stepping stone for him – the next level. But we’d be very happy with him. He won a handicap at Ponte last month, carrying a big weight and did it well.

“It’s a tough week for us if we don’t have any winners – it’s a great week if we do!”

TRAINER John Gosden is set to send four of his emerging talents to York for key races during its season-opening Dante Festival, which starts this Wednesday.

Cracksman (6/1 with Betfred for the Derby) will on Thursday bid to become Gosden’s third straight winner of the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes, after the triumphs of Golden Horn (2015) and Wings Of Desire (2016). He is unbeaten in his two races to date, including victory in the ‘Classic Trial’ at Epsom last month.

Shutter Speed has also won both of her starts and will seek a career hat-trick when she contests the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes on Wednesday. She delivered a smart display in landing a conditions race at Newbury last month.

A year ago Gosden won the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes with So Mi Dar, who returns to York for the Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes on Thursday. It will be the lightly-raced four-year-old filly’s first racecourse assignment since finishing third in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly last October.

Friday’s Betway Yorkshire Cup will see Gosden’s strong team represented by progressive stayer, Muntahaa. After finishing third in a Doncaster conditions race, he showcased an upwardly mobile profile with victory in the Group 3 registered as the John Porter Stakes at Newbury in April.

Newmarket-based Gosden said: “Shutter Speed won nicely at Newbury and we rather feel, at this stage, around a mile and a quarter is her trip. When she ran at Newbury, the plan was the Musidora. We said that straight away and we’re staying with the plan. She is a nice type of filly – she could do no more than what she has done so far.

“So Mi Dar has obviously been off a very long time, waiting for the Middleton because there’s nowhere else to go. She’s liable to be a little fresh and will come on a great deal for her first run.

“Cracksman has only had two runs in his life. The Dante is closer to the Derby than usual due to a late Easter. We’ve lost a week, which is not helpful. On the other hand he needs the experience to race if we are even to consider Epsom.

“It’s the smartest trial but I still see it as a trial. He came out of his last race and he learnt a lot; he has been in good order since and ate well (The record books show that a 16-day gap between the Dante and Derby need not be a barrier to success as demonstrated by the fact that Authorized won both races with a similar timeframe in 2007).

“Muntahaa ran nicely in the John Porter. Obviously, it’s logical to come to the Yorkshire Cup – a Group 2 after a Group 3 win. It didn’t work out for him in his first race of the year – that went a little bit wrong. But he ran a nice race the other day and he’s on good terms with himself.”

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from this Wednesday 17 to Friday 19 May inclusively.

EXCITING filly Shutter Speed will bid for a first Group-race victory when she contests the £100,000 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday – the first day of the racecourse’s new season.

Shutter Speed will face four rivals in the extended mile and a quarter Group 3 race in which she will seek to make it three wins from three starts.

The John Gosden-trained filly was victorious in a maiden on her sole outing as a juvenile before reappearing as a three-year-old in a conditions race at Newbury last month.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s homebred by Dansili, gave an impressive performance winning by two and a half lengths. The form of the Newbury race was given a significant boost when stable-mate Enable – also carrying the famous Juddmonte colours – comfortably landed the Listed Cheshire Oaks at Chester last week.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid, said: “Shutter Speed has come on very well since her Newbury run. It’s probably going to turn out to be a pretty decent race – we were delighted that Enable came out and won the Cheshire Oaks last Wednesday, which franks the form a little bit.

“Shutter Speed herself has been in great shape and we are really looking forward to running her at York. The main thing for us is for her to have a good race and get into a good rhythm.

“York will be a good test for her and hopefully will provide us with a good indication of where she should go. She has the option of the Oaks at Epsom and the Prix de Diane as well.

“Enable will go to the Oaks, all being well. But if we thought it was the right thing for Shutter Speed to go, we would still go with her. Her pedigree suggests that a mile and a quarter could be her best trip but we’ll see.”

Shutter Speed’s rivals will include the Jim Bolger-trained Vociferous Marina, who won a Listed race at Navan last month. Also in opposition will be the unexposed Sandown maiden Serenada from the powerful yard of Newmarket trainer Roger Varian. The field of five is completed by Miss Infinity (Mark Johnston) and debut winner Vintage Folly (Hugo Palmer).

Wednesday’s other highlight is the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes – worth £125,000 – which has attracted 13 runners. Group 1 winner The Tin Man makes his seasonal bow as does last year’s 1-2 in Magical Memory and Suedois.
York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 17 to Friday 19 May inclusively.

TRAINER Joseph O’Brien is hoping Rekindling can boost his Investec Derby credentials with a big performance in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on Thursday 18 May.

The High Chaparral colt is among 21 horses in the renowned Group 2 ‘trial’ race at the latest entry stage. Permian, winner of the Listed Newmarket Stakes last Saturday, and Century Dream have been supplemented at a cost of £12,000 each.

Rekindling made a fine start to his season when winning the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown last month.

That was his first outing for O’Brien’s string, having been trained in 2016 by David Wachman, who retired at the end of that season.

The Ballysax Stakes success was Rekindling’s second from four career starts and he is now a 14/1 chance with Betfred for the famous Classic at Epsom, staged on 3 June.

O’Brien said: “We were delighted with his reappearance – his first run for us. He’s a quite laid-back horse so it’s very hard to know how good he is.

“He never is a horse that sparkles at home, so you have to kind of take things for granted and look forward to him on the racecourse.

“We were hopeful he’d run well but we were over the moon, obviously, when he won.

“We’ve been very happy with him since. He seems in good form and the plan is to go onto the Dante. It will be a very competitive race, I’m sure. We’re looking forward to it.

“He won one of the Derby trials in Ireland. At the minute, he has all the credentials to be an Epsom Derby candidate. I suppose he has to go to York and show us that he is.”

O’Brien, 23, is in his second season as a trainer, having enjoyed many high-profile wins as a jockey – including on Camelot and Australia in the Derby. Now he is dreaming of taking Rekindling to the Classic.

He added: “It’s unbelievable to have a horse to think about even going to a Derby.”

So far O’Brien has been the only person in the Derby trials to head the Ballydoyle battalions of his father, Aidan.

The trio of Ballydoyle horses that followed home Rekindling in the Ballysax Stakes filled the first three spots in last Sunday’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown. This week at Chester, Venice Beach led home another 1-2-3 for Aidan O’Brien in the Vase, while Cliffs Of Moher won the Dee Stakes.

O’Brien snr has seven of the 21 entries in next Thursday’s race on the Knavesmire, which has seen an already record prize fund further boosted by the supplementary entries, to reach £185,700. Trainer John Gosden has won the last two runnings of the Dante and could be represented by leading Derby contender Cracksman as well as Monarchs Glen in the famous Juddmonte silks.

On the same card, 10 fillies and mares have been left in the Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes. Breeders’ Cup heroine Queen’s Trust and last year’s Tattersalls Musidora winner, So Mi Dar, are among those on course to chase the record £125,000 pot.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 17 May to Friday 19 May inclusively.For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

TRAINER James Fanshawe is hoping to start The Tin Man’s 2017 campaign in next Wednesday’s Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, the sprint highlight of the opening day of York’s Dante Festival.

The son of Equiano, who carries the colours of Fred Archer Racing, is one of 15 potential runners remaining at the six-day entry stage for the richest ever staging of the six furlong contest, now worth  £125,000.

Fanshawe’s charge is the only runner with a Group 1 penalty in the field, having triumphed in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes last October.

He had a number of potential Duke of York rivals behind him that day – notably Brando, who made a winning return in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting last month.

It has been Fanshawe’s long-term plan to kick-start The Tin Man’s season on the Knavesmire and the Newmarket-based trainer has been pleased with progress this spring.

He said: “The Tin Man has wintered well and the plan is to run at York on Wednesday. He will run as long as the ground isn’t firm, so we are hoping that the track gets a bit of rain between now and then.

“He seems in good form and looks very well. This has been the plan and it is the ideal starting point for him. He likes Ascot so ideally the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot will be on his agenda as well as the other top sprints later in the year.”

Fanshawe has used the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes as a launch-pad for a top sprinter before. Group 1 winner, Society Rock, was victorious at York in 2013 ahead of finishing second to Lethal Force in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes

In addition to Brando, other entries to note are last year’s winner and second, Magical Memory and Suedois, the latter a Group 3 winner who carries the colours of George Turner and Steve Parkin of the sponsor, Clipper Logistics.

Trainer Charlie Appleby could be triple-handed with Baccarat, Comicas and Jungle Cat all remaining at the six-day entry stage. The second-named of that trio was second on Dubai World Cup night in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen – the latter a close-up fourth in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on the same card at Meydan.

The opening day of York’s Dante Festival will also stage the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, where smart three-year-old fillies will put their Investec Oaks credentials to the test hoping to become the seventh to do the York-Epsom double.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 17 to Friday, May 19 inclusively.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

Action for the 2017 season at York Racecourse gets underway with the three day Dante Festival starting on Wednesday 17 May.  With a record investment across the season of £7.7m in prize money (up £600k), as well as a new eighteenth raceday on Saturday 1 July and ongoing improvements across the racecourse; excitement is building for the summer ahead on the Knavesmire.

Prize money over the three days of the Dante Festival has risen for the sixth year in succession, increasing by £45,000 again this year to £1.2m, with all four of the Group Two contests receiving a boost of £5,000 per race and every race worth £20,000 or more. With a feature race on each day sitting within the top 250 contests in the world, the York season begins with a feast of top quality racing.

Wednesday’s £100,000 Tattersalls Musidora is one of twenty one races across the York season to offer at least a six figure sum to connections.  A feature race for three year old fillies, the Musidora has proved to be a leading form indicator for the Investec Oaks, with six champion fillies that have gone on to achieve Classic glory.  Typically, fillies from the Musidora return as older horses to contest the now £125,000 Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes on the Thursday of the Festival, one such looks set to be the 2016 champion, So Mi Dar.

Potential champion sprinters will go to post in the fastest contest of the week, the Group Two Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, staged over just six furlongs expect to see the winner in the mix for all the summer’s big sprints.  This year’s renewal looks set to include last year’s victor, Magical Memory, and a host of other Group One proven speedsters.

The Betfred Dante, the race that gives the Festival its name by honouring the last Yorkshire trained winner of the Derby back in 1945, is staged on Thursday.  This Group Two contest, now offering a prize fund of £165,000 is one of ten contests on the Knavesmire that sit proudly within the top two hundred contests anywhere in the world, according to the respected TRC Global Rankings.  The Dante winner has gone on to win the Investec Derby ten times, with Golden Horn the last to achieve that double two seasons ago.

The British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes for three year old sprinters is one of three Listed contests during the Festival to see their prize money rise to £50,000. The then Michael Dods trained, Easton Angel, campaigned at the highest level after victory at York in 2016.

Friday’s principal race is The Betway Yorkshire Cup, now with £165,000 on offer to the leading stayers over one mile and three-quarters, a valuable and highly-rated Group Two ‘Cup’ race.  Friday’s renewal is part of the Qipco British Champions Series, the first of five York contests that are part of this special series of the top races in Britain.

Whilst this contest will feature established crowd favourites such as the most recent winner, locally trained Clever Cookie, a Listed race on the final day showcases the star fillies of tomorrow.  Backed by both Langleys Solicitors and the European Breeders’ Fund, the Marygate has proven a stepping stone to contests such as the Queen Mary and Sky Bet Lowther; a rise in prize money to £50,000 makes it the richest contest of its type for juvenile fillies in the country.

The latest improvement to the racegoing experience at York is the extensive refurbishment of the eating area on the ground floor of the Ebor Stand. Called “Eat Between Our Races” the new name seeks to capture the speed of service on offer, as well as referencing the most famous contest at the track. A range of freshly made hot and cold deli sandwiches and tasty cakes are likely to start as favourites in this particular race. The upgraded area forms part of a rolling programme of improvements that has seen the unveiling of £10m Northern End Development in recent years. This winter has also seen an upgrading to the “thatched head-on box” which is a recognisable landmark at York.  Renovated and restored in Douglas Fir to the style of the rest of the equine areas of the course, this improvement has been kindly supported by the Calvert family.

True to York’s reputation and despite the currency pressures of the last year, a bottle of champagne will be available from selected bars at £31.  Other tastes are catered for with an extended range of craft beers brewed by Ainsty Ales just beyond the six furlong start, the introduction of premium mixers from Fever-Tree to join the premium spirits served on the smart Moët Ice Roof Terrace, or the easy availability of Heineken 0.0 as a new, refreshing, zero alcohol option.

The opening race sees on-line bookmaker, Sky Bet, extend their support to a valuable middle-distance handicap contest over one mile and a quarter.  Infinity Tyres continue to back York – this time by supporting a valuable handicap race over six furlongs.  Conundrum Human Resources return to the venue where they provide professional services, to put their name to a competitive-looking handicap contest for three-year-olds, over seven furlongs. Novice two-year-olds take their opportunity in a contest under the European Breeders’ Fund banner, one of a record twenty-one contests over the season to receive the generous backing of the EBF. While racegoers continue to benefit from free, high speed Wi-Fi, racing connections benefit from the support of its technical provider, York Data Services, as they support the final handicap of day one.

As Thursday’s feature race points the way to Epsom, it is no surprise that the blue riband backers, Investec, also support a race on the Knavesmire. The Stratford Place Stud, owned by popular music impresario, Chris Wright CBE, once again supports a contest for maiden two-year-olds, the Stratford Place Stud Breeds Group Winners EBF Stakes.

A second Listed race for fillies is prominent on the final day as three-year-olds are catered for in The Longines Irish Champions Weekend Stakes, a contest over one mile supported by Horse Racing Ireland that has also benefited from a boost in prize money to £50,000. The Betway Jorvik Stakes also offers a £50,000 pot and is a handicap run over one mile and a half. Three-year-old sprinters have their opportunity, as new sponsors, the Yorkshire Equine Practice, support a handicap race over five furlongs.  Fillies and mares face the starter in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Frank Whittle Partnership Fillies’ Stakes, backed by the firm who advised the racecourse team on the popular Northern End Development Project.  Completing the twenty-one race programme is the 7IM supports Cystic Fibrosis Care Stakes, a handicap that promotes the link between the charity and the financial services firm; with £20,000 in prize money being a healthy reward as the minimum return of the week.

Richard Fahey is seeking to defend what was his eighth leading trainer title at York with competition again set to be fierce for the Charles Clinkard backed Top Trainer Trophy.  Andrea Atzeni bagged his first leading rider title on the Knavesmire last season; though crafty punters have already noted the return of former multiple champion Paul Hanagan to his northern roots, so expect a battle for the Living North Magazine Top Jockey Trophy.

York are pleased to be offering complimentary guided minibus trips to the start for racegoers; these will be taken by former professional flat jockey, John Murray, as another example of initiatives to further explain the sport and get racegoers closer to the action.

A new giant screen has been installed in the canopy over the John Carr Stand bringing the racing action alive to racegoers enjoying the champagne lawns in the shadow of the Grade 2* Listed John Carr Stand that dates from 1755.  This increases the provision to four giant screens at York which will join the 100 plus LCD flat screen televisions in showing high definition (HD) pictures of the action; a benefit also available to viewers of Racing UK for all twenty-one races.

Further details about the Dante Festival and the season ahead, please visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

TRAINER Michael Bell is hoping it will be third time lucky for stable stalwart Big Orange who is among 38 horses to remain in contention for the feature race of Friday 19 May, the Betway Yorkshire Cup, at today’s first forfeit stage.

The globetrotting six-year-old will be hoping to add a further Group 2 triumph to his previous success at this elevated level, having recorded back-to-back victories in the last two renewals of the Goodwood Cup.

But, to date, York has not been a happy hunting-ground for Big Orange, who has disappointed on his two previous course appearances.

He was seventh in the weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup – a Listed contest – and had only one behind him in the 2015 running of the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.

However, Bell believes Big Orange can be excused for not delivering his best form on the Knavesmire…yet.

He said: “He has run twice there. The first time we changed the tactics and tried to drop him in but that backfired. Then he also ran again in the Lonsdale but that was on the back of a hard race in the Princess of Wales’s (at Newmarket) and a hard race at Goodwood. There’s no logical reason why he shouldn’t be effective at York, so we want to go there all guns blazing.

“We feel that the Yorkshire Cup fits in nicely – timing-wise – with possibly running in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Provided there are no extremes of ground – and that he’s healthy and well – I am sure he will be there.”

His last run in England was on the Sussex Downs nine months ago. Since then he has been campaigned in Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Most recently, he contested the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (sponsored by Al Tayer Motors) in which he was a very creditable fourth. That performance at Meydan in late March is all the more impressive, given the back-story.

Bell explained: “Bearing in mind 48 hours before the race he had a temperature of 104, I think it was a very, very good run. He had a heat wobble. Although on race day he was fine, that is not the ideal preparation.

“He couldn’t canter the day before the race. Not that you can get a horse fit in a day but it can’t have been a positive – it must have been detrimental. And he ran, I wouldn’t say a career-best, but he wasn’t far off his best ever form.”

Almost a month later and Bell reports his charge to be in “very good form” at home. And, unsurprisingly, Big Orange is a very popular figure around the stables at Fitzroy House in Newmarket.

Bell added: “He is a great character – a huge presence in the yard, physically as much as anything else. The longer horses stay around in Flat racing yards, the more attached you get to them. He has taken us all round the world, not once but twice, so he’s a great friend.”

The £165,000 Betway Yorkshire Cup is a Group 2 race, staged over a mile-and-three-quarters of the Knavesmire and is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 17 May to Friday 19 19 inclusive.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225 Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk>

One of the best known all girl bands of all time, All Saints, are set to play York Racecourse on Music Showcase Saturday, 29 July.

All Saints (Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis, Natalie & Nicole Appleton) were one of the most successful pop groups of the 1990s, with two multi-platinum albums and record sales in excess of 12 million worldwide. Their debut album, ‘All Saints’ went 5x platinum and produced 3 number-one singles, including the double BRIT award-winning ‘Never Ever’ which ended up selling over 1.2 million copies in the UK. The band returned with a new album, “Red Flag” and are back performing live to rave reviews.

To book visit yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk>; admission to the main Grandstand and Paddock enclosure, starts at just £24 per person for a group of six.* Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge and as well as free car parking, there are no booking fees.

On the racecourse itself, the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes will be the £120,000 centerpiece of a seven race card, with a first race time of 1.55pm.

It promises to be a fun filled July for racing and music fans as there are four other racedays scheduled for this popular month; which gets under way with a brand new date for the York Calendar, Saturday 1 July, when Olly Murs will be the headline act. A fortnight later the traditional highlight of the 58th John Smith’s Cup Meeting (Friday 14 and Saturday 15 July) will entertain the crowds.

Just the evening before, Friday 28 July, Jess Glynne will have been on the Knavesmire stage, after an evening of racing.

James Brennan, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship said:

‘Everyone at the course is really excited now that we have finalised an exciting Music act that will sit alongside our races. I’m delighted that we will be welcoming Melanie, Shaznay, Natalie & Nicole to York. This year’s lineup offers performers who have been stars across two decades and promises to be a real treat. Add in the spectacle of the racing itself and we hope these will prove summer days to savour.’

The tickets for All Saints officially go on sale at 9am on Wednesday19 April and music and racing fans alike can take advantage of some attractive deals by visiting www.yorkracecourse<http://www.yorkracecourse>.co.uk or calling 01904 620911.

YORKSHIRE-based trainer Kevin Ryan has the Betfred Dante Stakes (Thursday 18 May) as an early-season target for his exciting three-year-old, Syphax.

The colt, who was purchased by Godolphin during the off-season, is one of 84 entries for the richest ever renewal of the Group 2 contest which is widely recognised as the leading ‘trial’ for the Investec Derby. This year’s entry offers £165,000 in prize money so it is no surprise that it includes the top five in the betting for Epsom’s globally-renowned Classic.

Ten winners of the Betfred Dante – including Golden Horn, two years ago – have gone on to take the Blue Riband. The Knavesmire showcase also has a rich history of throwing up French and Irish Derby winners with Ryan himself responsible for The Grey Gatsby in 2014. The striking ‘grey’ followed up his home turf success with victory in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

Syphax was last seen winning the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes, a Group 3 for two-year-olds staged at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. He beat subsequent Royal Lodge Stakes winner Best Of Days and the pair could meet again at York on 18 May.

Ryan is reluctant to draw comparisons between Syphax and The Grey Gatsby but is hopeful that he has a high-class prospect on his hands.

He said: “We had planned to go straight to the Dante but the plan is now to run at Newcastle on 14 April in a conditions race. It will be good to get a run into him before going to York.

“He has done fantastically well over the winter and I am very happy with him. He obviously won the Acomb at the track and all being well he can go there in good shape.”

Godolphin are represented by 15 colts while the trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team make up over a third of the initial entry with 29. Among them are current Qipco 2000 Guineas/ Investec Derby favourite and champion juvenile Churchill, as well as the highly regarded, War Decree.

Another intriguing ‘possible’ is Rivet, the colt landed his maiden victory at York last August and then won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, for Skipton born handler William Haggas. Fellow Newmarket trainer John Gosden, has won the last two renewals of the big race with the aforementioned Golden Horn (2015) and twelve months ago with Wings Of Desire. Among the master of Clarehaven’s eight entries for this year’s contest is Crowned Eagle, an Oasis Dream half-brother to Wings Of Desire, who ran out an emphatic winner of his maiden at Nottingham last November.

Gosden also looks to have a strong hand in the Betfred Middleton Stakes, the Group 2 that focuses on the fillies & mares on the second day of the Dante Festival (Thursday 18 May).  Another contest that has seen prize money increase, a total of 23 horses have been entered in the £125,000 contest, run over the same extended ten furlongs as the Dante.

Gosden’s trio include Journey, the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares winner as well as So Mi Dar, who was an impressive winner over course and distance in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes last May.

The other Group 1 winners who could feature in the line-up are Breeders’ Cup heroine Queen’s Trust (Sir Michael Stoute) and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Seventh Heaven, who followed up her Darley Irish Oaks success with victory at York in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks of 2016.

Also among the entry is the defending champion, Beautiful Romance, who racked up the air miles following that success with a trip to Australia last autumn. The daughter of New Approach, owned by Godolphin and trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, ran with credit in the Melbourne Cup. She then enjoyed success at Meydan this winter – scoring in Group 3 company.

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 17 May to Friday 19 May inclusive.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/>

 

 

TRAINER Laura Mongan believes that the Group 2 Betway Yorkshire Cup at York on Friday 19 May is “the perfect starting point” for 2016 St Leger winner Harbour Law.

The Lawman colt really put Epsom-based Mongan on the map with his superb Classic success last September. Owner Mrs Jackie Cornwell has kept the horse in training as a four-year-old and his initial challenge is scheduled to be the mile and three-quarter contest that offers record prize money of £165,000.

Harbour Law features among a bumper 50-strong entry – up from the 28 at the same stage twelve months ago. It is a case of quality as well as quantity, with the both the 2016 & 2015  Gold Cup at Royal Ascot winners, Trip To Paris and Order of St George, both featuring, amongst some seven stayers to have already scored at the highest level.

Mongan has already given Harbour Law “a couple of pieces” of fast work this spring and is looking forward to her stable star returning to action in the Betway Yorkshire Cup.

She said: “We think that’s the perfect starting point for him – with the view, all being well, to go onto the Gold Cup. They’d be our main early targets. We think we’ve got a horse good enough.

“I think, the further the better with him. The mile and six furlongs at York will suit him but the best of him will show over longer trips.”

Harbour Law, not seen out since scoring in the Classic at Doncaster last September, enjoyed a winter break at his owner’s property in Dorset.

Mongan added: “He has been back with us since mid-January. We’re very lucky to have him back. He looks great and holidayed well. We couldn’t be happier with him.

“He always was a beautiful stamp of a horse and he looks better, stronger – great in himself. So we’re very excited, if not a little nervous! (But) it’s a lovely pressure to have.

“All he did last season was mature and improve, looks-wise and mentally. I’m pretty sure that he has carried on doing that. He is doing everything right at home – that’s all I can ask for.”

Evergreen Clever Cookie – now nine – could bid to give trainer Peter Niven back-to-back victories in the race. The course specialist has three other Knavesmire triumphs to his name.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 17 May to Friday 19 May  inclusive.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225   Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

The Group 1 Juddmonte International, already Britain’s highest rated race, according to the average three year rating by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, will become the richest race ever run at York, with £1,000,000 on offer this August.

Connections of horses seeking to follow such superstars as Frankel or Sea The Stars into the Winner’s Enclosure on the opening day, Wednesday 23 August, will be the beneficiaries of a £100,000 rise in prize money.

The 2016 duel between Postponed, Europe’s highest rated older horse, and Highland Reel, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf hero, emphasised the global standing of this contest, so generously backed by Juddmonte Farms for more than a quarter of a century.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks, recently ranked as Europe’s highest rated contest for fillies and mares, and the Coolmore Nunthorpe, the best five furlong sprint in the world, will both see increases to reach their richest ever renewals at £350,000.

Completing the feature race set in August is Saturday’s Betfred Ebor, with Europe’s richest flat handicap of 2016, increased again to £285,000.

Speaking about the injection of funds, York Racecourse Chairman Lord Grimthorpe said, “Attracting the best horses to run in competitive races on the Knavesmire is what we are all about; so I am pleased that the unstinting support from long standing sponsors has allowed us to increase prize money for our feature races again this year. The Juddmonte International will reach a notable landmark demonstrating the generous support of Prince Khalid for a race that I know he cherishes.”

 

York Racecourse, one of the world’s leading flat racecourses, plays host to c. 350,000 racegoers and 1,300 runners across 18 racedays from May to October.  This progressive, independent racecourse seeks to deliver the best in prize money, facilities and raceday experience for racegoers, stable staff and horses.  York has 180 well-appointed stables in four peaceful quadrangles alongside top quality staff accommodation on the back stretch.

York Racecourse now seeks an appropriately experienced individual to joins its award winning team as Stables Manager for race weeks.  This is an appointment for a respected horseman to take the lead in managing all aspects of the stables operation at York before, during and after racedays.

Reporting to Anthea Morshead, the successful candidate will be able to lead a small, dedicated stables team in delivering a first-class experience for horses and their staff, with an eye for presentation and detail.  You will be good with both people and horses and an ambassador for York Racecourse.  You will also ensure the smooth and efficient running of the stables operation and be a hard worker, as well as a team leader.

Experience of raceday procedures and modern equine management will be essential, as well as a willingness to be hands-on and welcoming to visitors.  Approximately 50 days of work during the summer based around racedays, with bed and board for race weeks.

To apply please email CV and covering letter to Anthea Morshead at:

 

Email anthea.morshead@yorkracecourse.co.uk;

 

or write to:

 

York Racecourse

York

YO23 1EX

 

 

York Racecourse is delighted to announce that Dubai based Al Basti Equiworld will support the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes, in a three year enhancement of its existing backing for the leading venue.

The brand is already globally recognised as the leading provider of a wide range of equine products and this latest support will further raise that profile as the Gimcrack is one of the most famous races run on the Knavesmire, dating back to 1846.

Last season, the contest was the richest Group Two race for juvenile colts and the first running under its new partner’s name will see prize money boosted to a record level of £225,000; when it will be the pattern race highlight of Saturday 26 August, the final day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Racing connections at York are already familiar with Al Basti Equiworld as the brand has backed the new Owners’ Welcome Building since it opened in 2015 and will now extend that exclusive support to the main Owners and Trainers Restaurant, as well as the Winning Connections Building.

Founder of the business, Malih Al Basti, is particularly keen to recognise the work done by both jockeys and stable staff; so an innovative part of the new agreement will see it partnering with the racecourse as it provides appropriate food for the jockeys and a complimentary meal for stable staff with a runner.

Speaking about the agreement, York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe said, “The Gimcrack is a race that I hold particularly dear, so it is very exciting news that Malih and the rest of the team at Al Basti Equiworld share my enthusiasm for this famous contest.”

Summing up the partnership, Malih Al Basti said, “York Racecourse works hard to support horsemen and I share their commitment to Owners, Trainers, Jockeys and Stable Staff so I was keen to back their efforts. The Gimcrack is one of those races that echoes around the racing world and I am proud that it will now carry our name.”

 

Music sensation, Jess Glynne, is to play York Racecourse on Music Showcase Evening, Friday 28 July.

The only evening meeting of the season will see six fantastic races followed by a live concert from the artist who first shot into the public consciousness as the vocalist on Clean Bandit’s Grammy Award winning and #1 hit ‘Rather Be’;

Jess Glynne has since become one of the biggest UK breakthrough acts of recent years. Her number-one charting debut album, ‘I Cry When I Laugh’, has turned double platinum in the UK, making it the highest selling debut album of the past year. Jess is also one of only two British female solo artists to have five consecutive UK number one singles. 2016 was a further massive year for Jess, with a sold-out UK arena tour under her belt plus she was nominated for British Breakthrough Act, British Female Solo Artist and British Single for ‘Hold My Hand’ at this year’s prestigious Brit Awards.
Looking forward to her visit, Jess said; ‘It’s going to be great fun playing York Racecourse on 28th July. I love outdoor shows and can’t wait to share the summer evening with my fans!’

To book visit yorkracecourse.co.uk; admission to the main Grandstand and Paddock enclosure, starts at just £24 per person for a group of six.* Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge and as well as free car parking, there are no booking fees.

On the racecourse itself, The European Breeders’ Fund Lyric Fillies Stakes will be the centerpiece of a six race card on this Friday evening, with a first racetime of 6pm.

It promises to be a fun filled July for racing and music fans as there are four other racedays scheduled for this popular month; which gets under way with a brand new date for the York Calendar, Saturday 1 July, when Olly Murs will be the headline act. A fortnight later the traditional highlight of the 58th John Smith’s Cup Meeting (Friday 14 and Saturday 15 July) will entertain the crowds.

Just thirteen hours after Jess Glynne leaves the Knavesmire stage, the gates will open for for Music Showcase Saturday. The act for the last of York’s now three music and racing events on 29 July remains a closely guarded secret; so keep checking the course’s website www.yorkracecourse.co.uk for further announcements.

James Brennan, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship said, “Everyone at the course is really excited that Jess Glynne will be performing here; the 2017 music line up already looks fantastic. Add in the spectacle of the racing itself and we hope these will prove summer days to savour.”

The tickets for Jess Glynne officially go on sale at 9am on Wednesday 30 November and music and racing fans alike can take advantage of some attractive deals by visiting www.yorkracecourse.co.uk or calling 01904 620911.

Delighted to be back performing at York Racecourse, Olly Murs, has been announced as the first headline act for what will be three Music and Racing events in 2017.

Olly will star on Saturday 1 July, a brand new raceday in the Knavesmire Calendar, as he plays after the sporting action.

Since Olly shot to fame on ‘X Factor’ in 2009, he has crafted four multi-platinum albums, produced four number One singles, whilst clocking up total record sales exceeding 10 million.

His latest album, ’24 HRS’ sees him working with an array of producers and was recorded in both London and L.A. – Olly has never sounded so good.

Looking forward to his visit, Olly said ‘I’m really looking forward to playing York Racecourse next summer, it’ll be one of the first chances I’ll get to play tracks from 24 HRS in the sunshine so will be a special show to share with my fans. I love a day out at the races too so can’t wait to get in the crowd during the day to place a cheeky bet…’

To book visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk>; admission to the main Grandstand and Paddock enclosure, starts at just £24 per person for a group of six.* Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge and as well as free car parking, there are no booking fees.

 

On the racecourse itself, the racing action will see seven thoroughbred contests with combined prize money of £150,000.

It promises to be a fun filled July for racing and music fans as there are four other racedays scheduled for this popular month; the traditional highlight of the 58th John Smith’s Cup Meeting (Friday 14 and Saturday 15 July) will be followed by the Music Showcase Weekend itself at the end of the month.

The music acts for the only Friday evening of York’s year, 28 July and for Music Showcase Saturday on 29 July remain a closely guarded secret; so keep checking the course’s website www.yorkracecourse.co.uk<http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk> for further announcements.

James Brennan, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship said, “It is great news that Olly Murs, a performer who wowed the crowds on his last visit here in 2010 will be performing for us, it will herald a month for music and racing fans to remember.”

The first of the combined racing and music extravaganzas officially goes on sale at 9am on Monday 28 November and music and racing fans alike can take advantage of some attractive deals by visiting www.yorkracecourse<http://www.yorkracecourse/>.co.uk or calling 01904 620911.

RICHARD Fahey heads into the season-ending October meeting on Friday and Saturday with a healthy three-winner lead in the race to land the ‘Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York’ award.

But the man from Musley Bank near Malton said: “We’ll need another couple of winners to just seal it.”

Fahey has enjoyed another great season at York, having sent out no fewer than eight winners on the course.

It has left him in prime position to reclaim the Knavesmire’s top trainer title, which he won for no less than seven consecutive seasons up to 2012.

Fahey said: “It would be great. It was getting a bit embarrassing there at one stage – a bit of competition did me no harm!

“Everybody wants a winner (at York), so it’s an achievement to be leading trainer there. North, South, East and West try and get winners there. But anyway, we still have to put it to bed yet.”

The chasing group, on five winners, are the three powerful stables of Sir Michael Stoute, William Haggas and Kevin Ryan.

As a demonstration of his desire to regain the title, at the initial entry stage for both of York’s cards, Fahey has chances in thirteen of the fourteen remaining contests, reflecting a whopping thirty-two horses entry. Hambleton based Kevin Ryan has an equivalent sixteen entries, while Skipton-born Haggas has ten and the Master of Freemason Lodge just the five.

Fahey said: “I know deep down William would love to win it. His horses are flying at the moment, so I’m sure he’ll have a big team coming up. I’m sure we’ll need another couple of winners to just seal it.”

Despite having a significant team of horses bound for the Knavesmire, Fahey is not 100 per cent sure how many will get balloted out. Even so, he expects to be represented in both of Saturday’s features – the Listed coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes and the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy.

Fahey has three in that Listed race for juveniles – which he won last year with Donjuan Triumphant – and four in the feature sprint.

He said: “Rosebride was second in the Group 3 at Ayr (the Firth of Clyde Stakes) – she’ll probably run in the Rockingham. Mayfair Lady is in the sprint but I’m not sure what will get in – Mayfair Lady should, as she’s 100-plus.” The three year old filly who carries the Steel family colours, also has course and distance winning form from the June Meeting.

Whatever happens over the two days, Fahey is entitled to look back with pride at his string’s success at York in 2016. Starting at the Dante Festival, Vona supplied him with a victory in the Listed Langleys Solicitors EBF Marygate. The winners have kept flowing throughout the summer, including those of Mr Lupton in the very valuable 888Sport Charity Sprint and Queen Kindly in the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

“Not too bad,” is Fahey’s understated assessment. “We always want more, greed is good!

“There were some good winners there this year but any winner at York is good. To get a couple of winners at the Ebor meeting was great – The Wagon Wheel won the nursery as well. Any winner at that meeting is great. ”

In the Living North-sponsored race to finish as York’s top jockey, Italian aces Andrea Atzeni and Frankie Dettori are tied on seven winners apiece.

Friday’s seven-race card gets underway at 1.45pm. The most valuable race that afternoon is the £50,000 stanjames.com Handicap. Saturday’s racing begins at 2pm with the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy sure to be a race to savour.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225
Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

 

The last chance to enjoy racing action at York in 2016 comes on Friday and Saturday (7 and 8 October). With record prize money of over £415,000 retained, it is the most valuable October finale ever held on the Knavesmire.

Since 2014, the prize money for these two days has increased by more than 25%, with all races seeing a boost in that time.

The feature race of the Saturday meeting is the now £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy, an ultra-competitive sprint handicap, the nineteenth race of the York season to have a six figure purse.

The Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes, which showcased smart sprinter Donjuan Triumphant for the Richard Fahey yard last season, again offers £50,000.

Channel 4 cameras will be at the track for both days, covering two races on Friday, including the £50,000 feature handicap for three year old staying horses over a mile and three quarters supported by Stan James. Only in its second year, this race is intended to provide an autumn opportunity for the highly rated stayers who may well have competed in the Betfred Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Friday will see the fifth staging of ‘Countryside Raceday’ with its biggest ever Countryside Market; while Saturday will be accompanied by the sound of the Corps of Drums in support of the Coldstream Guards Cup, a middle-distance handicap that will bring the curtain down on the season.

Looking to combine the delights of the rural life with the excitement of a raceday, the ‘Countryside Raceday’ on Friday will mean seven races being complemented by rural activity and products; including a sheepdog display and a chance to get up close to some birds of prey. For those wishing to start their Christmas shopping early, there is a Countryside Market of local produce and crafts.

Friday’s card begins at 1.45pm and blends competitive handicaps with contests to develop the two year olds as well as honing the talents of apprentice jockeys. Regular race sponsors on this day include TSG, the IT provider that supports the racecourse team, who are using the occasion to remember Paul Beioley, the IT specialist who was the bridge to the racecourse and sadly recently passed away. Regulars at York and visitors to the city will recognise The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Cloisters Spa at Escrick who return in support of a race on this day. The European Breeders’ Fund continue their backing of York with support of the contest for maiden two-year-olds. Completing a day of returning sponsors are Racing UK and bookmaker Stan James – the latter backing a second handicap over a mile.

Continuing the theme of working with charities that saw the track host the record breaking Macmillan Charity Raceday in June, the focus in October moves to the good causes backed by The Lord Mayor of York. York based accountants, JWPCreers, have supported a race to raise awareness of these charities.

Saturday’s quality seven race programme begins at 2pm with the first of six races backed by Coral, a brand that first supported this day back in 1979.

The meeting will also see the conclusion of the season long contests to be top jockey and trainer at York. In the Living North-sponsored jockeys’ race, the Juddmonte International winning rider, Andrea Atzeni, sits tied with Betfred Dante winner, Frankie Dettori, on seven winners apiece.

The leaderboard of the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York is headed by Richard Fahey, with the Malton yard firm favourites to land an eighth Knavesmire title, as they are three clear of the chasing pack, with eight victories.

As well as the sound of fife and drum, racegoers will be able to enjoy the jazz of the Tom Roberts Band on Friday, whilst Saturday offers the foot stompin’ fun of Murphy’s Marbles.

New Beginnings, a worthy cause that supports retired racehorses, will bring Harry, a thoroughbred that raced at York in the nineties, as well as his pal, Meg the pony, for racegoers to meet on Saturday.

Four large screens will cover both racing on the Knavesmire and the major contests from Newmarket. The Punters’ Panel will offer tips before racing on each day. The wider sporting world will not be overlooked as selected televisions on stands side will be dedicated to show England playing Malta in World Cup Qualifying football.

The countdown to the biggest charity raceday in the country begins again on Sunday, when entries open to become one of the twelve riders in the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives, on Saturday 17 June 2017.

It offers a chance for twelve members of the public to enjoy the “ride of their lives” as they participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each will pledge at least £3,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support, though this year’s participant’s contributed more than £170,000 to a cumulative total that over the last 46 years has raised over £7,000,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and local charities.

The race has become a popular part of a day that heads towards its 47th year and is the biggest single fund raising event in the Macmillan calendar.

Riders from the class of ’16 – who included a hairdresser and a nurse – can take a real pride in having contributed a record amount to Macmillan. The honour of raising the most as an individual falls to Ruth Carr, who posted nearly £38,000. As recognition of their fund raising achievement, the sponsors of the race, Best Western Hotels have given each rider a complimentary break at one of their properties.

The most important aspect of the race itself was that all the partnerships returned safely to the stables. The record books will show that Ruth Carr aboard Dubai Dynamo, a horse she trains herself from her racing yard at Stillington, was led into the Winner’s Enclosure.

As part of the Press Family Raceday on Sunday 4 September, the riders will be presented with a memento of their big day in June; as leading racing photographer Mick Atkins has created a special photo book that charts their training as well as their historic ride around the Knavesmire.

Robyn Mountain Wade, Macmillan Special Events Manager, said: “Macmillan Charity Raceday is the biggest single fundraising event in our calendar and the Ride of their Lives is an incredible finale. The months of training and fundraising which all the riders put themselves through is inspirational. Their hard work makes a real difference – money raised helps fund Macmillan services, which are there to support people affected by cancer. We’re looking forward to the 2017 event, and we’re delighted to have the continued, generous support of Best Western Hotels and York Racecourse.”

Given the nature of riding a thoroughbred in front of a large crowd, the 2017 contestants are likely to already have riding experience but rest assured that anyone interested will be given intensive tuition so they have the chance to reach the required safety standard to make the start line. As this is a significant commitment it explains the early start for the search for competitors.

Once the field has been announced in December this year you will be able to help them fund raise in lots of ways, by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving or by attending the raceday on Saturday 17 June 2017.

YORK’S only Sunday card of the season takes place this weekend with over £100,000 in prize money on offer.

The feature is the £40,000 Betfred Garrowby Stakes staged over six furlongs. The initial 24-strong entry for this Listed contest includes some smart types notably last year’s Cheveley Park Stakes scorer Lumiere and the Group 2-winning duo of Muthmir and Buratino.

Danzeno is a regular in top sprints and the Mick Appleby-trained five-year-old is set for another run at the Knavesmire on Sunday. Last seen when competing in the Coolmore Nunthorpe over a furlong shorter at York, the son of Denounce is more at home over Sunday’s trip and has some smart form in the book.

Among his best efforts were a close third behind Magical Memory and Suedois over Sunday’s course and distance in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes back in May and his third in Group 1 company in the Champions Sprint on British Champions Day last October.

Appleby, who trains at Danethorpe near Newark, said: “Danzeno has come out of the race well.

“He missed the break in the Nunthorpe and it all happened a bit quick for him over five (furlongs).

“Six should suit him better and the plan is to run on Sunday. He should have a good chance – his run at York in the spring is strong form and he seems very well.”

Racegoers attending York’s Family Sunday can also look forward to four competitive handicaps and two intriguing maidens for juveniles.

The Hanson Springs Stakes, a handicap over six furlongs at 4:40pm, is likely to see a number of progressive three-year-olds face the starter.

The William Haggas-trained Gravity Flow could bid for a four-timer, having won all three of her races so far in 2016; while East Street Revue, winner of the nation’s most valuable Apprentice race, a Betfred backed handicap at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, may take his chance as well.

The up-and-coming jockeys of the future take centre-stage in the Racecourse Challenge for Cystic Fibrosis Apprentice Stakes at 5:10. Leading apprentices Tom Marquand, Megan Nicholls and Clifford Lee are all engaged in what looks a fiercely competitive event for the grade.

The mile and a half contest is part of the ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire’ Future Stars Apprentice Series which culminates in a Final at Doncaster in November. Coming into this race, Clifford Lee will bid to peg back the current leader, Yorkshire-based rider, Rowan Scott (36 points).

The seven-race card gets underway at 2:10pm with the Judith Memorial EBF Stallions Maiden over seven furlongs.

There’s fun for all at the annual Press Family Sunday at York Races this weekend (Sunday September 4), including a seven-race thoroughbred card worth over £100,000; featuring the fifth running of the Betfred Garrowby Stakes, a Listed race for sprinters. Plus, the first visit of children’s favourite, Paddington, to the Knavesmire.

The only Sunday of the season sees the return of the Conditions Series Finals as young riders take part in the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series.

It is a full day out for both the novice and regular racegoer and those under 18 years of age will be admitted free of charge into all enclosures, though the under 16s will need to be accompanied. Continuing from the previous years is the popular offer of a single admission combining both the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure with the Course Enclosure for just £12. This will enable racegoers bringing a traditional picnic into the Course Enclosure to enjoy their lunch and then take advantage of the special ‘picnic hamper cloakroom’ and then cross over the track to see the horses close up in the Parade Ring and sample the facilities on the stands side.

Also, for this special family meeting, the County Stand dress code is relaxed, with smart casual being the advice.

The action on the track begins at 1-00 p.m. with a couple of races, the respective finals in the Conditions category of the 2016 Charles Owen Pony Racing Series, showcasing the talents of the next generation of riders.

Racing under rules starts at 2-10 p.m. with The Judith Marshall Memorial Stakes – a maiden contest for two-year-olds. Sprinters take part in the afternoon’s feature race, The Betfred Garrowby Stakes, this is the fifth running of this Listed race which alone offers prize money of £40,000. It will be run over six furlongs, the same distance as The Hanson Springs Stakes –a handicap contest for three-year-old sprinters. Stayers have their opportunity in The Fred Nowell Memorial Stakes (a handicap contest over two miles). The sporting action includes a chance for those in their first season on the track in The Coopers Marquees Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes for two-year-olds and for the experienced and so familiar handicappers in The Barkers Garage Stakes – a race over one mile and a quarter.

The upcoming jockeys are again in the spotlight when they compete in The Racecourse Challenge for Cystic Fibrosis Apprentice Stakes. This race is part of the ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire’ Future Stars Apprentice Series – now in its fourth year – which culminates in a Final at Doncaster in November. Coming into this race, Yorkshire-based rider, Rowan Scott (36 points) has a clear lead from Clifford Lee and Adam McNamara.

The Racing Interactive Zone will offer the chance to ride a virtual racehorse, to try on racing silks, question our experts and enter a colouring competition. Meanwhile, Harry the racehorse is a retired star of the track waiting to meet racegoers.

For those of all ages, the funfair is back for this meeting. Bouncy castles are also located around the course, along with a wide array of entertainments for the family. There’s also the ever popular face painting.

‘Tommo’ – well-known broadcaster, Derek Thompson will share his knowledge of the sport. Listen out for his racing guide and be ready to say hello and see yourself on the big screens as he roams the stands.

Three-course Sunday lunches are being served from noon or you might want to enjoy a fresh sandwich on one of the many lawns; whatever your culinary choice, a great afternoon awaits.

A wonderful week of racing at York once again delivered fantastic racing action with record prize money attracting over three hundred and thirty runners including the world’s highest rated racehorse, winning the richest race ever staged at York.  Over the four days, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2016 attracted over 84,000 racegoers.

On the opening day, the highest rated horse in the world, Postponed, justified that rating with an impressive victory in the highest rated race in Britain, the £900,000 Group 1 Juddmonte International. Trained by Roger Varian, it was the first of two victories for the yard and four for jockey Andrea Atzeni. That total proved enough for the rider to secure the Ray Gilpin Award as top jockey for the four days, holding off the late challenge from William Buick who recorded a final day treble to tie for second place with Jamie Spencer.

Another good week for trainer Aidan O’Brien saw his colt Idaho win the Group Two Betway Great Voltigeur in good style; before Darley Irish Oaks winner, Seventh Heaven, provided a fourth Darley Yorkshire Oaks title for the County Tipperary yard.

The first running of the Lowther Stakes under the backing of Sky Bet delivered a high profile victory for the Malton yard of Richard Fahey as Queen Kindly took the prize. The daughter of the mighty Frankel overcame her sibling, Fair Eva, in the richest Group Two for juvenile fillies in the land.

The fastest race of the week, the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe, went to the Michael Dods trained, Mecca’s Angel for the second time, prompting huge cheers from the Knavesmire crowd as they welcomed a northern trained susperstar back into the winners enclosure, under local rider, Paul Mulrennan.

Europe’s richest flat handicap, the Betfred Ebor, went to Heartbreak City who had travelled over the Irish Sea from Tony Martin’s County Meath yard, leading to scenes of great jubilation from his delighted owners. So it proved a memorable day for nineteen year old apprentice rider, Adam McNamara, who is based near to the track in Malton.

A more senior member of the Weighing Room, William Buick claimed three wins in front of the near 28,000 of the final afternoon. Two of them came for team Godolphin, including aboard Blue Point in the Group Two Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack.

 

The week included wins for four different yards from the home County, as Kevin Ryan, Tim Easterby and David O’Meara joined Richard Fahey in taking a share of the record £4.25 million in prize money.

Annual visitors to this meeting enjoyed their first experience of the refurbished Edwardian Weighing Room, the final stage in the £10m redevelopment of the Northern End of the Racecourse.  These arrangements include improved pre-parade ring viewing, a new Weighing Room, Moët Pavilion, Roof Terrace, John Carr Terrace and now a bigger brighter space for racegoers to enjoy in the Edwardian Weighing Room.

Fashion is always an integral part of the occasion and a record number of racegoers went down the Ebor Fashion Lawn catwalk.  The feature prize of a trip to go racing in Dubai – courtesy of Marriott Hotels – was claimed by Georgina Friswell who had travelled from Billericay.

Reflecting on another memorable week, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, said “There was a great atmosphere at the course all week, I’m delighted that the decision to increase the prize money attracted such strong fields that in turn produced thrilling racing. Add in the sense of occasion that the Ebor Fashion Lawn created and spontaneous fun generated by the live music and it all adds up to a great four days.  Racegoers have enjoyed the Yorkshire food which celebrates our use of local ingredients.”

Over the four days, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2016 attracted 84,105 racegoers, with advance bookings having been up across the four days, the decline of 5% is clearly attributed to the poor forecast and wet weather of both Friday and Saturday. The four day format, including a Saturday still comfortably outstrips the attendance of the previous three weekday festival.

Commenting on the meeting, William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said “Ebor 2016 will be remembered for the wonderful equine performances and the human stories linked to them. The racecourse team of over 2,000 staff and partners has put in a huge amount of work and I am grateful to them, the horsemen, our sponsors and racegoers for their tremendous support of the meeting.”

Always a key part of the European racing calendar, the festival includes four races that are part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival continues to grow in its worldwide appeal, with the whole meeting being shown live in Australia, huge bonuses on offer from the Japan Racing Association for York winners and the three Group One races (Juddmonte International, Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Nunthorpe) all included in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.   Including the Goffs sales race and supplementary entries, prize money was over £4.25 million, with investment by the racecourse increased by more than £200,000.

As the feature racing Festival of 2016 becomes a fond memory and before it returns on Wednesday 23 August 2017, the sporting crowds can look forward to the next raceday on Sunday 4 September when both the Pony Race Series and Paddington come to the Knavesmire.

POSTPONED is a star attraction in what looks a vintage renewal of the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s son of Dubawi is one of six Group 1 winners declared for the richest race ever staged at York, with the original £900,000 prize fund topped up by supplementary entry to exceed £960,000.
Appropriately for what is Britain’s highest rated race, Postponed is the world’s joint highest-rated horse in training with an official mark of 124. Winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2015, Postponed is three from three since joining trainer Roger Varian at the end of last season.
His first two victories of this campaign came in Dubai where he followed up an easy win in Group 2 company with a three-length beating one of Wednesday’s rivals, Dariyan, in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
His next start came at Epsom in the Coronation Cup where he again showed the field a clean pair of heels, winning eased down by four and a half lengths.
Unfortunately, Postponed was ruled out of defending his King George crown through a respiratory infection, but connections are confident that he has bounced back and heads to York in good shape.
Varian said: “We are looking forward to dropping back to ten furlongs and this race has been an objective of ours since the start of the season. He is a colt with terrific turn of foot and a high cruising speed. These attributes and the manner in which that he has been winning over a mile and a half suggest that the drop back in trip shouldn’t be a problem. The nature of the track at York should play to his strengths.
“With five other Group 1 winners in the race, this looks a strong renewal but he seems fully recovered from the setback which ruled him out of the King George. He looks well and his work has been very pleasing.”
Among Postponed’s rivals is Coral Eclipse winner, Hawkbill, who was supplemented at the six-day stage and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes hero, My Dream Boat.
Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle stable has won the race no less than five times in the past and he will be double-handed in his quest for a sixth success. Highland Reel, who won the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes this season, will be joined by Sir Isaac Newton, fourth in that contest having previously won the Listed Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot.
The aforementioned Dariyan adds some international spice while the Kevin Ryan-trained, The Grey Gatsby, would be a popular first local winner of the showpiece affair. A son of Mastercraftsman, The Grey Gatsby was a winner of the Betfred Dante at York over Wednesday’s course and distance as a three-year-old and has also been placed twice in the last two renewals of this race.
The trophy will be presented by the track’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of York.
A field of six are set to head to post for the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes. They include Royal Ascot scorer, Across The Stars and Irish Derby runner-up Idaho.
Day one of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor festival gets underway at 1:55pm with the Symphony Group Stakes, a £65,000 handicap over five furlongs.
Four days of high-class action culminates on Saturday with the £280,000 Betfred Ebor, Europe’s richest flat handicap.
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Betfred Ebor winning rider, Oisin Murphy, is looking forward to a return to the Knavesmire next week, a track which he describes as having been “very lucky” for him in the past.

His week is set to start in Pattern race company as he partners Imperial Aviator in the Group Two Betway Great Voltigeur on Wednesday afternoon. Already a two time winner this season at Leicester and Newbury, the Roger Charlton trained three year old never settled after his voyage to the French Derby. Connections report that the horse is in “good heart” ahead of a tilt at the £160,000 prize. The York race has showcased the talents of thirteen subsequent St Leger victors and Imperial Aviator holds an entry for the final Classic of the year.

Murphy has formed a profitable alliance with Pallasator from Sir Mark Prescott’s yard; the pair landed a Group Three at Sandown in the Spring and look forward to their participation in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup on Friday. This staying contest forms the next leg in the British Champions Series and Murphy is quietly relieved that Big Orange is swerving the Knavesmire after his mount found Michael Bell’s charge to be top dog in the Goodwood equivalent. Despite his successes, Pallasator has the reputation of not being the easiest, particularly on the way to the start, but his rider gave an upbeat assessment noting that “he’s becoming a little easier as he gets older and that’s a tribute to the team at home”. A record £200,000 prize is the possible reward for good behavior.

Britain’s richest maiden contest, the £60,000 British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial is another target for Thursday as the jockey reports that there are some “nice unraced ones” at home.

SIR Michael Stoute has revealed a typically strong team for next week’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The Newmarket-based trainer will be represented in two of the meeting’s Group 1 contests, by Exosphere and Queen’s Trust.

Exosphere, who won the Jockey Club Stakes in April and was third in another Newmarket Group 2 on his last start, will contest the richest race of the Festival and Britain’s highest rated, the Juddmonte International on Wednesday (17 August).

Queen’s Trust returns to a mile and a half in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Thursday, August 18) after running a fine race to finish second to the brilliant Minding over ten furlongs in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood a fortnight ago.

The Newmarket based knight, also plans to send Royal Ascot hero Across The Stars for the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes on the opening afternoon, although he will have to carry a 3lb penalty for his Berkshire success.

Stoute said: “Exosphere will run in the Juddmonte. We are putting him back to a mile and a quarter and hopefully it will suit him. It’s a tough race but we are going to throw our hat in the ring.

“Also on Wednesday, we’ll have Across The Stars in the Voltigeur. He is in good form. I hate running him with that penalty but it’s a race for him at this stage because I wanted to give him a good break after the King Edward.

“Thursday, we have Queen’s Trust in the Yorkshire Oaks. I was very happy with her run at Goodwood but she showed in the Ribblesdale (Stakes at Royal Ascot) that a mile and a half suits her just as well. We’re going to have a crack.”

Sir Michael also brings to the Knavesmire a selection of progressive three-year-olds.

He said: “On Thursday, we have Abingdon in the Galtres (Listed) and Mustashry in the Clipper Logistics mile handicap.

“I don’t know if Forge is going to go in the City of York (Group 3, over seven furlongs on Friday) or the nine-furlong Strensall Stakes on the Saturday – so he will be double-entered. And on Saturday we have Shraaoh in the Melrose (Stakes Handicap).”

Of that quartet, Mustashry won a competitive Class 2 handicap at Ascot on King George day, while the other three were all narrowly beaten into second.

Forge lost by half a length in a Goodwood Group 3 over a mile, while Shraaoh was short-headed in a mile and a half handicap at the same meeting. Abingdon went down by two lengths in a twelve furlong Listed race last month at Newmarket.

Stoute has enjoyed many a memorable moment at York’s premier event. He has won the Juddmonte International five times and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks an incredible nine times. The Betway Great Voltigeur is another race that has served him well, with no less than seven victories.

He added: “I love York. When I came to England, I went to Malton and got to know the Knavesmire very well. It has been a very successful venue for us over the years. It’s a beautiful racecourse.”

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ELIDOR and Harlequeen are likely to spearhead the Mick Channon team for York’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival next week.

Owned by Jon and Julia Aisbitt, Elidor is set to contest the Betfred Ebor, the showpiece event on Saturday 20 August, with a prize fund of £280,000 this mile and six furlong feature is Europe’s richest flat handicap.

The son of Cape Cross has been a star for the West Ilsley-based trainer, winning the 2013 renewal of the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot and just last month returning to form with a gutsy win in the £100,000 Summer Handicap at Goodwood.

Elidor has also proven himself at Pattern race level and finished just a length behind subsequent Hardwicke Stakes winner Dartmouth in the Group 3 Ormond Stakes at Chester.

Michael Channon Jnr, son and assistant to trainer Mick, said: “The Ebor is the plan for Elidor and he has been perfect since Goodwood. We haven’t done much with him – just kept him happy and fresh.

“He is has a four pound penalty for his Goodwood win and obviously a fair bit of weight on his back. That said, he is a class horse – he was beaten just a length by Dartmouth in the Ormond Stakes.

“After that run at Chester he ran poorly twice and we gave him a thorough MOT. Nothing came to light and he bounced back at Goodwood. If the same Elidor as that, turns up a York, he’s in with a chance.”

Elidor finished third in the 2014 renewal of the race behind Mutual Regard and is available with the sponsor at a starting price of 14/1.

Channon is also looking to saddle Harlequeen in the £340,000 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, the feature on Ladies Day (Thursday 18 August).

Having finished fourth in the Tattersalls Musidora on the Knavesmire in May, the daughter of Canford Cliffs was placed in both the Investec and Darley Irish Oaks, before a narrow defeat in Group 3 company at Cork.

She seems none the worse for that effort and Channon Jnr is relishing the prospect of stepping her up to the top level again.

He said: “Harlequeen is a very good filly – she could travel with anything and has a very high cruising speed.

“We were disappointed that she couldn’t win at Cork – there is no such thing as an easy Group race but having been placed in both Oaks we were hopeful that she would go there and win.

“She didn’t but she has returned in great shape and is worthy of her place in the line up next week. She has proved that already. She is versatile regarding ground and the track should suit.”

The Channon team are never afraid to shirk a challenge and having runners at the big meetings is what it’s all about for them.

On the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Channon Jnr added: “It’s a great meeting – one of the highlight’s of the year and somewhere everyone wants a winner.”

The four-day festival takes place between August 17-20 inclusive.

Aidan O’Brien’s bid for a sixth win in the Juddmonte International next Wednesday could be spearheaded by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Highland Reel as a “strong possible”, accompanied, as at Ascot, by Sir Isaac Newton.

Speaking ahead of a race that is ranked as the best in Britain and third in the world by the Independent Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Irish handler described the three time Group One winner Highland Reel as “very possible” for a trip to the Knavesmire.

A decision as to the participation of Epsom Derby second, US Army Ranger, in the £900,000 contest will be made after he has worked later this week.

Offering an update on another possible contender from the powerful Ballydoyle operation, The Gurkha, O’Brien indicated that whilst the horse was in “good shape” he would now be given “a little rest” after his heroics at Goodwood.

Talking about the feature of the opening day, O’Brien concluded, “The Juddmonte (International) is a great race, at a great track, a very fair track, and it is a very prestigious race”

Details of further plans for runners from County Tipperary, over the four days of a Festival that offers more than £4 million in prize money, will emerge as the horses go through their training routines.

TRAINER Willie Mullins has outlined that ante-post favourite, Ivan Grozny, is an intended runner in the Betfred Ebor at York on Saturday 20 August.

The sponsor has the Mullins-trained six-year-old heading the market at 10/1 for Europe’s richest Flat handicap.

Andrea and Graham Wylie’s gelding tuned up for the £280,000 York race in impressive fashion, winning by no less than fourteen lengths at the Galway Festival.

Mullins, who may also send Simenon for the mile and six-furlong race on the Knavesmire, has been pleased with Ivan Grozny since his recent victory and confirmed that he is Ebor-bound.

The Co.Carlow-based master trainer said: “Ivan Grozny is definitely coming and seems in good form after his recent run in Galway.

“I think he was really right for his last run. And if I can hold that form for York, it puts him in with a really good chance.

“I think the track and the trip will suit. I’m not worried about the ground at all, whichever way it comes.”

Nine-year-old Simenon has been in excellent form back over hurdles in the last month. He has won twice in recent times, including a ten length triumph at Cork.

Mullins said: “Simenon has been running well over hurdles. He seems to have found his spark again.

“He has a nice weight, so we will see nearer the day whether he will take part or not.”

His third entry Renneti is rated 90 and is very unlikely to beat the cut for the race.

Mullins has already won a Betfred Ebor, landing the race – first run in 1843 – with Sesanta in 2009. And last year he was just denied a second success in the renowned contest with his charge, Wicklow Brave, finishing runner-up to Litigant.

This year, Wicklow Brave is being aimed at the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, the two mile stayer’s feature of the third day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Commenting on the chances of the seven year old who was fourth in the Goodwood Cup, Mullins said, “he ran well enough at Goodwood, so we’ll have a crack at the Lonsdale and see how he goes”.

The trainer expanded on a possible Autumn campaign down under for his stayers saying; “you’ve got to have Melbourne on your mind, if I get a horse qualified to run, then that’s where I’m going.”

And with regard to Wicklow Brave himself, observed; “the Lonsdale is a tough race to win but a first three finish gives us a great chance.”

Mullins added: “we always look forward to going to York. The Ebor is a race on the English calendar with great history and heritage.”

TRAINER Clive Cox has Group 1 stars Profitable and My Dream Boat ready to roll into York for next week’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Lambourn-based Cox sent out both colts to big-race glory at Royal Ascot with Profitable landing the King’s Stand Stakes and My Dream Boat victorious in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

At York, My Dream Boat could contest the richest ever race on the Knavesmire, the £900,000 Juddmonte International, on the opening day, Wednesday, August 17, while Profitable is lined up for the sprint showpiece, the £340,000 Coolmore Nunthorpe that headlines Friday.

Cox said: “Profitable is in excellent form and I have been very pleased with him. The Nunthorpe is looking like a race to savour and we are very much looking forward to it.

“We decided after Ascot that we would like to give him a run between then and the Nunthorpe. We gave him a break last year and he didn’t thrive on it, so we felt that it was in his best interest to have another run.

“Being a Group 1 winner he would have carried a penalty in the King George at Goodwood over five furlongs so we took our chance in the July Cup over six. He ran with credit (to finish fourth) and you couldn’t say he didn’t stay, but he is more effective over five (furlongs).

“The Nunthorpe is shaping up to be a very hot race – like I said, one to savour – but we are very happy with Profitable.”

Owned by Alan Spence, Profitable is a course and distance winner, which partly explains his being around a 7/2 chance for the five-furlong Group 1, vying for favoritism with last year’s winner, Mecca’s Angel, from the northern yard of Michael Dods.

The Paul and Clare Rooney-owned My Dream Boat is a possible contender for the Juddmonte International, on Wednesday 17 August.

Cox added: “My Dream Boat is also in excellent form. He worked very well on Saturday morning and is under consideration for the Juddmonte International.

“The main factor in determining his participation will be the ground as he wouldn’t want it too fast. But he’s in excellent shape and I have been pleased with him.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival gets underway on Wednesday, August 17 and runs to Saturday, August, 20 (inclusive).

With record prize money of over £4 million, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival looks set to attract the very best of thoroughbreds from Britain, Ireland and continental Europe to the Knavesmire for York’s flagship meeting over four spectacular days of racing action from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 August. The stellar racing action forms the centrepiece of a meeting brimming with top quality Yorkshire food, the popular Ebor Fashion Lawn and good fellowship. The meeting also represents a chance for racegoers to enjoy the Edwardian Weighing Room, the finishing touch to the £10m Northern End Development project which, over the last two years, has transformed facilities around the parade ring for horses, horsemen and racegoers.

The increase of £260,000 is spread over fifteen races; with the feature contest on each of the days receiving a boost, as well as the prize money threshold for all races rising by a fifth to £60,000. It marks another step in York’s support for its flagship race programme which has seen prize money increase by 50% over the last five years.

Britain’s highest rated race, according to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, will become the richest race ever run at York, with £900,000 on offer to the horse seeking to follow such superstars as Frankel or Sea the Stars into the Winner’s Enclosure on the opening day. Appropriately, the world’s joint highest rated thoroughbred of this season, Postponed, is targeting the prize.

Boosts in prize money of £50,000 to both the £200,000 Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Stakes (2m) and recently upgraded £150,000 Sky Bet City of York Stakes (7f) – now the richest Group 3 race run in Britain – support the enhanced Group 1 contests of Thursday and Friday respectively.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Thursday 18) and the Coolmore Nunthorpe (Friday 19) have both seen increases to reach their richest ever renewals at £340,000. County Durham trained, Mecca’s Angel is seeking back to back victories in the sprint race.

Completing the feature race set is Saturday’s Betfred Ebor, as Europe’s richest flat handicap, at £280,000.

From sprinters to stayers, Friday’s Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup over the two miles joins the Group One races as the fourth contest to be part of the British Champions Series, which culminates at the richest day of racing in this country, Qipco British Champions Day on Saturday 15 October. Additionally, winning and placed connections of Thursday’s £85,000 Clipper Logistics Stakes over a mile qualify for the valuable Balmoral Handicap on the championship day hosted for the sport at Ascot. The support of Qipco is prevalent on all four days; with the BCS racemakers in attendance to help guide less experienced visitors around the racecourse and share their knowledge.

Other sporting highlights include the £220,000 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes which remains Britain’s richest juvenile Group 2 colts’ race and the £200,000 Sky Bet Lowther which is the richest equivalent for fillies. The latter may be the target for a thoroughbred that has all the right genes, as Fair Eva, the impressive daughter of the mighty Frankel holds an entry.

At £60,000 apiece, the Betway Nursery Handicap, the European Breeders’ Fund Convivial, and the Betfred Apprentice Stakes are the richest nursery handicap, maiden and apprentice race respectively in Britain.

On all four days, stand side racegoers will be able to watch and participate in the Ebor Fashion Lawn without the need to book in advance. The eye-catching, flower-clad catwalk, set in the picturesque surroundings in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room, will offer a touch of “modern vintage”. A panel of judges will cast an expert eye over the preparations and attire before them, ready to decide the winner on each day of the “Best Dressed Racegoer”. As well as prizes like £500 gift vouchers for the likes of Hobbs and French Connection, or a bespoke initial ring from Rebus for “Best Hat, Best Dressed Gent, Best Dressed Child and Best Dressed Couple”. The daily winner on Ladies Day (Thursday 18 August) will also be crowned ‘Best Dressed Festival Racegoer’, and will win a short break for two to the Marriott Hotel in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup.

Expect to see a host of world-class jockeys competing for top honours at York – the field at York is currently led by Frankie Dettori, the man closing in on his 3,000th career success. In a fitting tribute to popular racing journalist, Ray Gilpin, who passed away last year, a special prize will be offered by Sky Bet, for the most successful rider over the twenty-five races of the Ebor Festival.

The global nature of the top quality competition is reflected with the three Group Ones all being part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and the Juddmonte International and Darley Yorkshire Oaks attracting huge bonuses for the winner to go to race in Japan.

There is horsepower of a different nature on display on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn as the latest Maserati will be on show courtesy of JCT600.

All races at the Ebor Festival will have speed-tracking equipment attached to runners to allow an instant relay of speed and position information to racegoers on the four giant screens around the course. In addition, the Official Race Times will be displayed as they happen on an Al Basti Equiworld supported digital stopwatch, positioned by the winning post.

Adding a sparkle on Saturday will be the Silver Stars, the parachute display team of the Royal Logistics Corps, who are due to drop in just after lunch, on what it is hoped will be a sunny day.

Broadcast partners Channel 4 Racing, Racing UK, TurfTV and GBI Racing will be covering the action and transmitting the event to over 80 countries around the world. Nick Luck will front the four days of Channel 4 coverage which will include a fascinating “Graham Bell Ski Sunday” style course ride by Group One winning jockey, Paul Mulrennan.

In high summer, the award-winning flowers at York should be at their best and a bespoke arrangement in the welcome lobby of the Ebor Stand will celebrate this festival event.

Away from the track, a brigade of some 80 chefs, backed by a wider raceday team of over two thousand staff, will provide the welcome, services and treats that come with a major sporting event. Seafood will be delivered from the Yorkshire coast every morning including 2,000 crabs, joining Dales lamb and 3,000 homemade beefburgers, Hawes cheeses, 6,000 fresh baked fruit scones and locally made dairy ice cream on the various menus.

Whether it is to show off their fashion or send pictures of the ice sculptures and chocolate fountains in the main restaurants, or simply to capture the feel good factor, racegoers will be able to use the free Wi-Fi service installed at the track by local tech firm, York Data Services.

Those seeking musical entertainment will have their choice, as Yorkshire brass bands perform on the weighing room lawn and Murphy’s Marbles play their own blend of Irish foot stomping, good time tunes. As it has proven popular, up and coming local bands will play on into the evening as racegoers have a chance to enjoy their bottle of Mercier champagne for £33.50.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, concluded “The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is simply the highlight of our year. With the record investment in prize money, the stellar entries, the popular Northern End Development and all the other initiatives and innovations, this year looks set to be a landmark event of top quality racing action as well as a tremendous social and fashion event. I very much hope racegoers, punters and viewers will enjoy the feast on offer.”

TRAINER Michael Dods is planning to be double-handed for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes – the sprint showdown at York that his Denton Hall Stables won last summer.

All being well, on Friday 19 August, Mecca’s Angel ,will try to regain the Group 1 crown she claimed twelve months ago on the Knavesmire.

And the intention is for her stable-mate, Easton Angel, to also line up in the 2016 renewal of the five-furlong race, which has increased in value to be worth £340,000.

Mecca’s Angel gave Dods’ team a cherished first Group 1 triumph when she scored in convincing fashion by two lengths from Us raider, Acapulco.

Owner David Metcalfe’s grey mare opened her 2016 campaign with a neck defeat behind the Clive Cox trained, Profitable, in the Temple Stakes before not firing in the testing conditions at Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand.

But she was back to something close to her very best last month when putting up an emphatic display in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at The Curragh.

Easton Angel, owned by Al Shaqab Racing and Ritchie Fiddes, has already struck twice this term – including over course and distance in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes, interestingly the same race that launched the career of Profitable, who remains a potential opponent in two weeks’ time.

The three-year-old filly, stabled in County Durham, ran well again last week at Goodwood in the Group 2 King George Stakes, finishing fourth of seventeen – beaten only half a length – despite a less than straightforward passage.

“Both Mecca’s Angel and Easton Angel are in good form,” reported Dods a fortnight ahead of his charges’ bid for Coolmore Nunthorpe glory.

“Obviously, with Mecca’s Angel, it would be nice to have a bit of juice in the ground. But they are both well and we’re looking forward to it.”

The trainer outlined how he was pleased to see Mecca’s Angel regain the winning thread in Ireland three weeks ago.

He said: “It was good. We knew that things didn’t go right at Ascot – the ground was very testing, she showed in season. Obviously, it was a big disappointment.

“But we were happy we had her where we wanted for Ireland and luckily she went there and did well.

“If she can turn up (at York) in the same form that she turned up last year then I’ll be very happy.”

Connections will be hoping for some fortune in running for Easton Angel at York after a very creditable but somewhat frustrating effort at Goodwood on 29 July.

Dods added: “It didn’t happen for her. She didn’t jump as well as I’d have liked and certainly didn’t have a lot of luck in running. But that’s what happens in these sprint races.

“She has won at York and I’m sure she’ll put a good performance up. It’s nice to be going there with two such ‘live’ chances but we understand there are a lot of other good horses there. We just need a bit of luck on the day.”

Whatever happens in this year’s renewal, the memory of Mecca’s Angel triumph at York 12 months ago will forever burn bright for those closest to it.

Dods reflected: “To win the Nunthorpe – our first Group 1 success and to do it at York, our local grade 1 track – it meant a lot.

“There were a lot of people there that we knew and it was a good day for everyone, especially all the staff, the owners and Paul Mulrennan.”

The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival – the highlight of York’s season – begins on Wednesday 17 August and runs to Saturday 20 August. The four-day meeting showcases the stars of horseracing and includes three Group 1 races and the famous Betfred Ebor – Europe’s richest Flat handicap.

YORKSHIRE-based trainer, Kevin Ryan, has pointed the way to York and the Juddmonte International for The Grey Gatsby.

The Frank Gillespie-owned five-year-old is on target to take up his engagement in the richest ever race at York, the £900,000 Group 1 feature on Wednesday 17 August – the opening day of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The son of Mastercraftsman has pleased at home since the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last month when he finished second behind subsequent Goodwood Cup winner, Big Orange.

Ryan’s charge returns to a mile and a quarter at York where connections will be hoping it is third time lucky. He finished second to Australia in 2014 and third behind Arabian Queen and Golden Horn, twelve months ago.

The Grey Gatsby is yet add a follow up success to his terrific victory at the expense of Australia in the 2014 Irish Champion Stakes. In a stellar three-year-old campaign, he also landed the Prix de Jockey Club at Longchamp and the Betfred Dante Stakes, run over the same course and distance as the Juddmonte International.

Ryan, who is based at Hambleton near Thirsk, said: “The Grey Gatsby is on target for the Juddmonte. He’s in good order and we are hoping the weather stays fair and we get some good fast ground.

“He has run well in the last two years and has never run a bad race at York – we are hopeful that he can be competitive again.”

Later in the week, the Coolmore Nunthorpe is on the agenda for both Brando and Goken from the Ryan yard. The former won the Group 3 Coral Charge at Sandown before finishing second behind last year’s Nunthorpe winner, Mecca’s Angel, in a Group 2 at The Curragh. Goken put up a career best when third in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and has run respectably on two outings since.

Ryan added: “The plan is to run Brando and Goken…both are in good form.

“Brando is an improving sprinter. He will have to improve again but I’m very happy with him.

“Goken ran very well at Royal Ascot and in the July Cup where he got no run. The ground was a bit quick for him (in the King George Stakes) at Goodwood last week.”

The richest ever renewal of this famous sprint, now with £340,000 in the kitty, takes place on day three of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival – Friday 19 August.

Yorkshire trainer, David Griffiths, has confirmed that nine-year-old sprint star, Take Cover, is on course for another tilt at the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday 19 August.

The evergreen gelding proved that age is no barrier to success last week, when he landed the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood for the second successive season. That afternoon, Take Cover had sixteen rivals behind him and Griffiths reflected that it may well have been his charge’s best ever run.

“I think it probably was, wasn’t it,” he said. “He’s as good as ever, definitely – I think arguably, he’s better than ever.

“The race at Goodwood the other day was obviously a very good one and he turned the tables with a few of them.

“He has come out of the race really well, he likes York and we go there, hopefully, all guns blazing.

“Good ground is fine, on the quick side is better and good-to-firm like it was at Goodwood is ideal. We are just praying for no rain.”

Take Cover is proven over the fast five furlongs of the Knavesmire, winning twice over course and distance in the past – including at Listed level.

On the bare form, he also ran very respectably to finish eighth in the 2014 renewal of the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. But that performance behind Sole Power was even better if granted an unruly moment in the starting stalls.Griffiths explained:

“When he got beat by Sole Power, just a fraction before the off, he went up over the top of the stalls, whacked his head and still ran very well that day and was only beaten two lengths. We’ve fixed the stalls problem now, touch wood.”

The £340,000 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is now £15,000 more valuable than on his last visit but remains the fastest contest of the twenty-five at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival. The four days of high quality action start on Wednesday 17 August with York’s richest ever race – the £900,000 Juddmonte International.

TRAINER Dean Ivory may well bring Royal Hunt Cup runner-up, Librisa Breeze, to York this Saturday for the seven furlong handicap , that forms part of £235,000 card, supported by Sky Bet.

Radlett-based Ivory is searching for a bit of juice in the ground for the talented grey gelding.

Librisa Breeze is entered back at Ascot on the same day in a valuable handicap but with scorching temperatures hitting the south of England, Ivory is very aware that there is the possibility of thundery showers for York on Wednesday and maybe Friday.

He also has Kadrizzi in the same seven-furlong race – worth £25,000 – the Read Richard Fahey´s Column At sportinglife.com Stakes; currently this horse is a 40/1 chance for the Qatar Stewards’ Cup the following week.

The yard has also entered Golden Amber in the six-furlong Sky Bet Dash, the £50,000 sprint feature of the afternoon.

All of his charges would benefit from some ease in the ground.

Ivory said: “We won’t be going to Ascot if we’ve got firm ground, which it looks like we’ve got. Therefore, we’ll have to run where the ground is.

“Librisa Breeze, Golden Amber and Kadrizzi like a bit of cut in the ground. We’ll talk to the owners who’ll make the decisions but it looks like we’re coming to York.”

Ivory isn’t overly concerned about the prospect of dropping to seven furlongs with Librisa Breeze, he said:

“We’ve got to go where the ground is. If we’ve got the ground, you’ve got to take your chance a bit over seven. Seven or a mile – either or wouldn’t worry him. He’s better over a mile but nevertheless he’s a horse that’s very versatile.

“He is a horse that you can switch off and ask him to travel whenever you want in the race. There will be more pace on over seven and he will sit there proud and I’m sure he has got the turn of foot to finish strong at seven.”

York’s two-day Music Showcase Weekend starts on Friday evening (6pm) with the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies´ Stakes as the showpiece. Kaiser Chiefs will perform on the Knavesmire after racing on Friday.

Saturday’s seven race-card begins at 1.55pm. The feature race is the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes, worth £100,000. The Corrs take to the stage at the conclusion of the action on the track.

CONNECTIONS of Time Test believe this Saturday’s £100,000 Sky Bet York Stakes represents a good chance for the four-year-old colt to record a second Group 2 triumph.

The homebred from owner Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms is one of a small but select field for the feature race which shares a distance with the Juddmonte International itself, the extended mile-and-a-quarter trip at York.

Time Test is enjoying another fine season, winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May before finishing third in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown three weeks ago.

The latest assignment for trainer Roger Charlton’s charge will see him take on four rivals – all of whom are rated between 110 and 116. Time Test is rated 121 and so looks set to go off a short-priced or even odds-on favourite.

But Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager at Juddmonte Farms, said: “It’s like everything, you must show respect to the opposition. This is obviously a valuable Group 2 and we need to be putting our best foot forward.”

Time Test, who won his previous Group 2 – the Joel Stakes – at a mile – has shown his versatility as regards trip, not least with his very creditable run over 10 furlongs at Sandown last time. That effort came on ground softer than ideal and he was only beaten two and a quarter lengths by Hawkbill.

Lord Grimthorpe added: “It was a very good run, all things considered. He came out of the race really well…Roger seems very pleased with him.

“He needs to be able to prove himself at Group 1 level when he can but certainly this looks like a good opportunity for him. I’m sure he will be seen to best effect on good or fast ground.”

Stable-mate Countermeasure, who was an excellent fourth in the Eclipse, will also run for the same connections.

Lord Grimthorpe said: “Countermeasure is in there just to ensure a sensible pace. Of course, he also ran very well in the Eclipse.”

Among the opposition is Mahsoob, winner of the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket in April. Yorkshire-based trainer David O’Meara sends Mondialiste, a winner in Pattern company at York, courtesy of the Strensall Stakes,; he subsequently took a Grade 1 at Woodbine.

The field is completed by the Ralph Beckett-trained Air Pilot, successful in a Group 3 in France on his last start.

The £50,000 Sky Bet Dash is sure to be a stunning spectacle as sixteen speedsters cover six furlongs on the Knavesmire. Tanzeel won the race a year ago and is back again for more on Saturday. Opposition is provided by a clutch of in-from horses including the O’Meara-trained Intisab who has won two of his last three starts.

The first race on Saturday is at 1.55pm though York’s Music Showcase weekend commences tomorrow with the course’s only evening fixture of the season. Kaiser Chiefs are on stage after racing on Friday, while The Corrs will perform on Saturday.

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York’s two-day Music Showcase weekend on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon (July 22 & 23), supported by Sky Bet, combines Pattern race quality action on the track and live performances on the music stage, so it is no surprise that each event can claim to be the best attended meeting of its type, in the country.

Kaiser Chiefs are set to play on the evening of Friday 22 July, returning to their home county, having delivered a memorable, high energy show on their previous visit to the Knavesmire, three years ago.

After racing on Saturday 23 July, The Corrs, who are delighted to be back performing together, will be the headline act. The family quartet are famous for their enchanting mix of traditional Celtic music with a pop rock twist that has led to number one singles such as Breathless, plus more than 30 million album sales.

The only evening fixture of the season at York gets underway at 6.00 pm on Friday with gates opening at 4pm.

The highlight of a valuable six race card is the eighth running of a Listed race for fillies and mares, the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Stakes offering a total prize fund of £40,000 and one of nineteen contests on the Knavesmire this year supported by The European Breeders’ Fund. Last year’s race was won by French Dressing, another smart sort from the yard of John Gosden.

Also featured on Friday evening is a handicap contest over five and a half furlongs that demonstrates Sky Bet’s commitment to The Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival, as this meeting is part of the initiative that links the eight flat courses in the county, over nine days of fantastic sport.

Apprentice jockeys are in the spotlight in the opening race, The Think as One Stakes, with two-year-olds being the rationale for The Best One Maiden Stakes; whilst a competitive handicap takes the name of buildings support firm, Novus.

Saturday’s quality seven-race programme means the prize money for the two days will exceed £325,000. The action starts at 1-55 p.m. with the entire card sponsored by Sky Bet – an Authorised Betting Partner to the sport and also one of the leading horseracing, gaming and sports betting companies in the U.K.

The principal race on Saturday is the eleventh running of The Sky Bet York Stakes, a £100,000 Group 2 contest, run over the extended one mile and a quarter, won last year by Tulius, giving Phillip Makin another big Saturday winner as he secured his first Top Jockey title on the Knavesmire. According to recent history Saturday’s victor could reappear in the best race in Great Britain and the richest race of York’s season, the £900,000 Juddmonte International on Wednesday 17 August.

Also featured on Saturday’s strong card is the fastest race of the two days, the Sky Bet Dash. This £50,000 sprint is over six furlongs. Last year’s winner was Tanzeel, who is part of a crop of quality sprinters trained by Charlie Hills.

Former racehorses now in the care of ‘New Beginnings’, a Yorkshire-based charity, are in attendance on Saturday, enabling racegoers to see them at close hand.

Several giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action from both the track and the stage on both days, as well as following the action from the other big Saturday race meeting at Ascot and Test Match cricket from Old Trafford.

Away from the main stage, there will be music from both New York Brass and The Y Street Band. The popular totepool ‘Punter’s Panel’ takes place prior to racing helping racegoers to identify possible winners.

For the best in racing and live music York is the perfect venue.

IT was one of the most dramatic climaxes to a big race that has been seen this season. Seamour burst clear approaching the final furlong of last month’s John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle and looked set to give locally-born trainer Brian Ellison a victory to remember. But in the closing strides, jockey Ben Curtis and his five-year-old mount were collared by the late charge of Antiquarium who landed the heritage handicap.

A fortnight later and Seamour will bid to go one better at York, contesting the John Smith’s Silver Cup – a £40,000 Listed race staged over a mile and three-quarters, two furlongs less than at Newcastle.

Ellison said: “He came out of the race very well. We were going to wait for the Ebor (at York on Saturday 20 August) but he is so well in himself we’ve decided to run this weekend.

“We just thought, to wait two months for the Ebor is a long time. So we will take this on board as long as it’s not on the firm side.”

Looking back at the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate, Ellison concedes it’s one that got away.

He added: “He should have won. He didn’t have much cover, sat on the outside. He probably kicked too early but if we’d have won you would have said it was a great ride. So it’s catch-22 isn’t it? He won’t be kicking early on Saturday, put it that way!”

But Ellison wasn’t overly downbeat about the result, saying: “I just came away knowing that I’ve got another good horse. The way he travelled, the way he picked up and everything. I was just pleased with the way he ran.”

Seamour, a gelding owned by P J Martin, will face eleven rivals on the Knavesmire – including Curbyourenthusiasm, who was second in the Group 2 Betway Yorkshire Cup over course and distance in May.

Ellison also brings flashy chestnut and people’s favourite Top Notch Tonto to York on Saturday. A Listed winner on the course just over a year ago, he will be joined by stable-mate Balty Boys in the £200,000 John Smith’s Cup – the richest middle-distance handicap in Britain.

The Norton-based trainer said: “It’s a hot race, isn’t it? Balty Boys and Tonto are both in good form.”

York’s two-day fixtures starts tomorrow at 1.50pm. Saturday will see the 57th running of the John Smith’s Cup, continuing the longest commercial sponsorship of a Flat race in the country.

TRAINER William Haggas is hoping that Besharah can regain the winning thread when tomorrow she returns to York – the scene of her finest hour.

This time the target is the Group 3 188BET Summer Stakes which offers £60,000 in prize money.

The now three-year-old filly sped to success in the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes as part of a wonderful week enjoyed by the Haggas team at the 2015 Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Besharah has since run with credit in Group 1 company – including when fourth in the French 1,000 Guineas – but has not added to her wins’ tally.

Last time saw her contest the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot where she finished tenth of fourteen after a less than straightforward passage.

But Friday will see her drop back in trip to six furlongs with connections aiming for more black type through a second course and distance triumph on the Knavesmire.

Haggas, a Newmarket-based Yorkshireman, said: “We’ve been training her for the mile races and we think it’s worth a shot back at six furlongs. There are very few races over this trip for fillies-only.

“Obviously, I’ve been trying to slow her down all spring – now I’m asking her to sprint again, so she might be a bit rusty.

“But I think she is in good form. We’re only putting the cheek-pieces on just to sharpen her up a bit.

“She is penalty-free in this race and has won on the track. This is the best chance she has had for a bit.”

Besharah was just one of five winners that Haggas’ Somerville Lodge team enjoyed at last year’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Unsurprisingly, it’s a meeting he looks back on with great fondness.

He said: “It just happened right for us last year – the horses fitted into the races, which was terrific. It won’t happen like that again probably.

“But we had good chances in lots of races. What we considered to be our best chance actually got beat!”

Skipton-born Haggas is always keen to have runners at York – a course where he has enjoyed plenty of success over the years. Indeed, only David O’Meara had more winners on the Knavesmire in 2015. There were eight victories in 2012 – the same again a year later. And from his last 147 runners at the course, no fewer than 31 have triumphed.

Haggas said: “I love York. They look after us very well. They put up proper prize money and deserve all the support they get.”

There is a total prize fund of £200,000 – £50,000 more than twelve months ago – on offer for Saturday’s John Smith’s Cup. Haggas, who won the race in 2011 with Green Destiny, sends Our Channel for the 57th running of the mile and a quarter contest, which is now the richest middle distance handicap in Britain. Apprentice Georgia Cox will ride, hoping to emulate the likes of Paul Hanagan and Adam Kirby who won this race with a claim.

He said: “Our Channel will get in and he runs. He hasn’t run for a bit. He won a nice handicap for Georgia when she rode him at Kempton – then he won a Listed race (also at Kempton). There are very few races you can run this sort of horse in where he has got a reasonable chance – and I think he has got an outside each-way chance.”

Friday’s seven-race card starts at 1.50pm. Saturday’s racing commences at 1.55pm.

NEWMARKET trainer James Fanshawe will be keeping a close eye on the weather ahead of this Saturday’s John Smith’s Cup at York. Fanshawe is responsible for the current 10/1 joint-favourite Arthenus, a son of Dutch Art.
Arthenus, now four, had a productive three-year-old campaign, which culminated in a gutsy success over subsequent Royal Hunt Cup runner-up, Librisa Breeze, in a nine-furlong handicap over the Knavesmire last October. He failed to land a blow on his first two starts of this campaign, but returned with a career best to finish fourth in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
The ground was officially soft at Ascot and Fanshawe is hoping there is some ease underfoot on Saturday. He said: “The plan is to run on Saturday. I am just hoping that the ground doesn’t dry out too much as he very much likes to get his toe in. It doesn’t have to be soft like it was at Ascot, just a little bit of ease.
“He ran a really good race in the Wolferton and has come out of the race well. He seems in good form and is the right type for a race like this.
“He has a bit of class which you need for these big handicaps. He’s well, I’m happy with him and now we need a bit of luck with the draw and the ground.”
Arthenus is one of fifty-one who stood their ground for the richest ever running of the John Smith’s Cup. The 57th renewal of the mile and a quarter contest had its prize fund boosted by £50,000 this season, making it the richest middle-distance handicap in Britain.
Britain’s best-selling ale is responsible for sponsoring the entire seven-race card, which also features two Listed races. It is the longest continuous commercial sponsorship of a flat race in the country.
The winner of the John Smith’s Cup often goes on to make their mark in Group races, with recent winners including Canadian Group 1 winner Wigmore Hall (2010) and dual Group 3-scorer Green Destiny (2011). The 2014 winner Farraaj went on to be placed in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes in Australia.
Saturday’s racing at York starts at 1.55pm, though the two-day meeting gets underway twenty-four hours earlier with another excellent afternoon of action. The seven-race card on Friday includes the 188Bet Summer Stakes – a six-furlong Group 3 for fillies and mares.

The richest ever running of the famous John Smith’s Cup will see £200,000 on offer for the 57th staging of this famous handicap on Saturday 9 July. The £50,000 boost in prize money makes the John Smith’s Cup the richest middle distance handicap in Britain.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, it is the centrepiece of a seven-race programme, that includes two Listed races, as well as being the longest continuous commercial sponsorship of a flat race in the country. An arrangement that will now reach at least the Diamond Jubilee of the contest, as the racecourse recently announced a new three year deal with Heineken.

The opening day of the early July Meeting on the Knavesmire is Friday, with the Group Three 188Bet Summer Stakes both offering a black type opportunity to the fastest filly down the six furlong course as well as signalling a new sponsor partner to the track. The online brand are Authorised Betting Partners of the racing industry and also back a competitive middle distance handicap, later in the afternoon.

One of the most prestigious and competitive middle-distance heritage handicap contests, as well as Britain’s richest, Saturday’s renewal of The John Smith’s Cup is contested over the extended one mile and a quarter. The winning owner can look forward to receiving the specially-commissioned Wedgewood challenge trophy.

Fougalle was the first winner of this famous race back in 1960, and since then there have been many dramatic moments, with the race becoming a major betting heat of the summer. In 2015, the Rod Millman trained, Master Carpenter, was part of a fabulous afternoon for Thirsk-based jockey, Phillip Makin who won four out of the seven contests, providing a 4,799/1 return to his followers at the bookies.

Always one of the big days of the year, this event has become a showcase for ‘Yorkshire’s Finest’, and sees John Smith’s treasuring its Yorkshire roots with a full Yorkshire menu of locally-sourced and home-made food. In addition, there will be a number of cask ales available at the racecourse, thanks to collaboration with fellow Yorkshire brewers, Theakston’s.

Racing on Saturday also features a pair of Listed races; the first for stayers. The John Smith’s Silver Cup, an established contest over one mile and three-quarters. An hour or so later and sprinters will be to the fore in the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes – a contest over five furlongs, the shortest trip in UK racing. Won last year by locally trained, Out Do, the David O’Meara speedball now holds an entry to return to York in August in the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe. Both Listed races offer prize money of £40,000.

The highlight on Friday, The 188Bet Summer Stakes, is a Group Three sprint contest over six furlongs for fillies and mares, continues to offer a purse of £60,000. Last year’s race was won by New Providence for Newmarket trainer, Hugo Palmer.

Friday is the annual charity day in support of GroceryAid, the national charity which exists to provide financial aid for those people who have served in the grocery industry. The northern branch of the charity is once again responsible for Friday’s fund-raising activities, which also involves their support for The GroceryAid Chairman’s Charity Cup.
Local businesses are prominent on Friday as the third generation of the Raylor family celebrate their role in the business life of the city; the Raylor Centre itself is home to a wide range of enterprises.
The afternoon gets underway with an interesting maiden contest over the unusual distance of five and a half furlongs; Coopers Marquees support this contest as well as being responsible for the wide range of marquees on site at York including the palatial one used by the sponsor’s guests on Saturday. It is also one of nineteen races on the Knavesmire that also benefit from the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund, making reference to the Irish Trustees on this occasion.
Acturis return to York, putting their name to a handicap contest over seven furlongs where apprentices will be the pilots.

Catering for broad musical tastes, Friday offers a choice of the Chris Brown Quartet or Murphy’s Marbles brand of foot-stomping Irish tunes. More of the latter on day two as the party atmosphere of Saturday also hosts a Caribbean Band with The Monotones performing their melodic set of popular covers to the bandstand as the last race crosses the line.

A number of giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action on both days, along with racing from Newmarket’s July Meeting. The tennis action from Wimbledon will be shown on televisions around the track. The popular punter’s panel held prior to racing on the winners’ podium will preview the card on both days.

 

TRAINER Andrew Balding has the talented Elbereth in fine fettle for the 57th running of the John Smith’s Cup at York.

The now £200,000 race is the highlight on this Saturday’s action on the Knavesmire and looks sure to be another high-quality renewal. A £50,000 boost in prize money makes the mile-and-a-quarter race the richest middle-distance handicap in Britain.

Elbereth, a daughter of Mount Nelson, comes into the race in good heart having taken the Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks in early June. Owned and bred by David Taylor, Elbereth is no stranger to big-handicap success with a neck victory over stalwart Fire Fighting in a valuable contest at Epsom’s Investec Derby Festival in 2015.She has been a model of consistency and connections are looking forward to letting her take her chance at York.

Balding said: “Elbereth has been in good form since winning at Nottingham and this has been her target since.

“It seems realistic to have a go at this as she is a Listed winner who is still off a reasonable handicap mark and I think she is capable of being competitive.

“The track should suit and as long as it doesn’t rain too much, Saturday is the plan.”

The current market leader is the James Fanshawe-trained Arthenus who was last seen finishing fourth in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot.

The in-form Godolphin team also look to hold a strong hand with four representatives headed by Carry On Deryck. The son of Halling was a winner at Meydan back in February and ran well when last seen in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Named after Britain’s best-selling ale, the John Smith’s Cup is the longest continuous commercial sponsorship of a Flat race in the country.

Also on Saturday are two cracking Listed contests. The John Smith’s Silver Cup, run over the Betfred Ebor trip of a mile and three-quarters, may see Betway Yorkshire Cup winner and local favourite Clever Cookie lock horns again with the runner-up Curbyourenthusiasm, while the one-two from the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate – Antiquariam and Seamour – also feature among the twenty-one strong entry.

The sprinters take centre stage in the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes where a number of old favourites could line up. Commonwealth Cup runner-up Kachy takes the eye but this rising sprint star will have to be at his best to beat the likes of Muthmir, Pretend and ‘Wokingham’ winner, Outback Traveller.

Saturday’s racing at York starts at 1.55pm though the two-day meeting gets underway a day earlier with another afternoon of Pattern class action, including the 188BET Summer Stakes – a six-furlong Group 3 for fillies and mares.

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As the first stage of entries for the Group 2 races at the 2016 Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival are published, the track has confirmed a record investment in prize money of over £4million for the four day centrepiece of the Knavesmire season (Wednesday 17 August to Saturday 20 August).

The increase of £260,000 is spread over fifteen races; with the feature contest on each of the days receiving a boost, as well as the prize money threshold for all races rising by a fifth to £60,000. It marks another step in York’s support for its flagship race programme which has seen prize money increase by 50% over the last five years.

Britain’s highest rated race, according to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, will become the richest race ever run at York, with £900,000 on offer to the horse seeking to follow such superstars as Frankel or Sea the Stars into the Winner’s Enclosure on the opening day.

Boosts in prize money of £50,000 to both the £200,000 Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Stakes (2m) and recently upgraded £150,000 Sky Bet City of York Stakes (7f) – now the richest Group 3 race run in Britain – support the enhanced Group 1 contests of Thursday and Friday respectively.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Thursday 18) and the Coolmore Nunthorpe (Friday 19) have both seen increases to reach their richest ever renewals at £340,000. Completing the feature race set is Saturday’s Betfred Ebor, as Europe’s richest flat handicap, at £280,000.

Other highlights include the £220,000 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes which remains Britain’s richest juvenile Group 2 colts race and the £200,000 Sky Bet Lowther which is the richest equivalent for fillies.

At £60,000 apiece, each of the Betway Nursery Handicap, the European Breeders’ Fund Convivial, and the Betfred Apprentice Stakes are the richest nursery handicap, maiden and apprentice race respectively in Britain.

First stage entries for the £160,000 Betway Great Voltigeur number forty-nine which represents a five year high and nine ahead of the initial number of last year, which culminated in a pulsating finish between Storm the Stars and Bondi Beach, a duo that went on to be joint favourites for the St Leger.

York is proud to stage nineteen races with the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund including three at this feature Festival.

York racegoers have supported a record breaking Macmillan Charity Raceday, helping to raise at least £450,000 on its 46th staging; taking the cumulative total since 1971 to past £7 million.

Nearly 27,000 people flocked to the Knavesmire for a day of racing and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. The event is the biggest single fundraising event in the Macmillan calendar. This strong support and the backing of race sponsors, box holders and hospitality guests, means that the funding to the good causes from York Racecourse itself, set the charitable total rising.

Following a card of seven races with experienced jockeys, it was the turn of ten members of the public to race. The amateur riders have trained for months to prepare for the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives. The riders, eight of which are from Yorkshire, all raised money for Macmillan to take part, smashing last year’s fundraising record total of donations in the process. The class of 2016 raised approaching £150,000, with further promises expected to take them through that threshold.

In a race with no losers, the first past the post was Ruth Carr aboard Dubai Dynamo, a horse she trains herself from her racing yard at Stillington, near York. Before the turn of the millennium Ruth, 39, was well known on the Lady Amateur circuit but by her admission it was a huge challenge to get herself back fit enough to ride the Knavesmire. To the great credit of Ruth and her supporters, they have already contributed approaching £35,000 and further donations to the justgiving pages of Ruth and the other nine riders will swell this total.

The day also included charity auctions, with lots including exclusive holidays and sporting memorabilia, while 23,000 raffle tickets were sold over the two days for a range of prizes including £500 cash. More than 100 Macmillan volunteers helped collect donations from generous racegoers.

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a success. This is the biggest single fundraising event in our calendar, so plays a big part in funding Macmillan services, which are there to ensure that people get the best quality care and support throughout their cancer journey.”

Rob Payne, chief executive of Best Western Hotels, the first time sponsors of both the Macmillan Ride of their Lives and the Listed Ganton Stakes said: “The record breaking Ride of their Lives participants were the highlight of an inspirational day at York Racecourse. Best Western Hotels were proud to sponsor the race and to help raise important funds for Macmillan Cancer Support both on the day and through the fundraising efforts of our own staff. ”

James Brennan, Head of Marketing at York, summed up the day, saying “Yet again, the commitment of the amateur riders to both their riding and fund raising has been amazing; matched only by the generosity of York’s racegoers. They saw some high quality action on the track and can go home knowing they were part of something special today as they broke all fundraising records.”

Macmillan Charity Raceday is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. The event has been held annually since 1971, and has now raised more than £7 million in total for Macmillan and other charitable causes.

Supporters have already ringed Saturday 17 June 2017 in their diaries, as the likely date for the 47th staging of this popular event.

 

THE famous blue and white silks of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum will be carried by a duo of intriguing runners in the Listed Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes, the black type highlight at York tomorrow.

Muwaary and Mutakayyef are two classy performers with high-class form in the book, although both are on the comeback trail following injuries.

The John Gosden-trained Muwaary hasn’t been seen on a racetrack for 698 days but he was held in high regard as a three-year-old and his connections were keen to persevere with him.

On form it is easy to see why as the son of the Juddmonte stallion, Oasis Dream, registered some smart efforts in 2014, most notably a close fourth in the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas and when runner-up in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Mutakayyef, trained by William Haggas, also has a number of creditable efforts to his name, including a neck second behind subsequent Grade 1 winner Mondialiste in the Betfred Strensall Stakes, over course and distance last August.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan, said: “Both horses are on the comeback following injuries. Muwaary has been off the track a long time but he is a very good horse – he was placed in a Classic and he finished second in the Jersey.

“Mutakayyef ran a fantastic race in the Strensall last season and is also a useful horse. Both horses are fit enough to do themselves justice and are ready to run. It will be good to get them both on the track and then we can build their seasons from here. We are hopeful rather than confident.”

That Classic history is perhaps what tempted Paul Hanagan to don the first cap on Muwaary; helpfully Pat Cosgrave was in the plate for that placed effort by Mutakayyef at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

An eleven-strong field head to post for this £40,000 event run over a mile. Other interesting contenders include last year’s winner for Brian Ellison, the ever popular, Top Notch Tonto and recent course winner, Jallota from the Charlie Hills stable.

Sheikh Hamdan also has two declared for the £100,000 888sport Charity Sprint, a six-furlong handicap for progressive three-year-old speedsters, as demonstrated by last year’s first and third being Twilight Son and Magical Memory.

Retained rider Paul Hanagan will get the leg-up aboard Elronaq, a son of Invincible Spirit who finished third in the Group 3 July Stakes last season.He has yet to hit those heights since, but connections were pleased with his latest fourth at Chelmsford and hope he can reproduce his best on Saturday.

Sheikh Hamdan’s other runner, Alqubbah, is also declared in the feature on Friday’s York card, the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies Stakes and her participation is ground dependent.

Hills added: “Elronaq ran very well at Chelmsford and has the ability to run well in a race like this. Alqubbah is a nice filly. She is due to run on Friday but needs the rain to come so we have the option of Saturday if it doesn’t come in time.”

Once again this looks fiercely competitive with 20 sprinters set to face the starter. The betting is headed by the Richard Guest-trained Udontdodou, winner of his last two starts.

A total of £6.7million has already been raised for good causes in the 46 years of the Macmillan Charity Day and just by attending Britain’s biggest charity raceday, spectators will be doing their bit to boost that total.

The seven-race card gets underway at 1:50pm.

Newarket handler saddles two runners on Friday
TRAINER Ed Vaughan has two good chances of tasting success on the Knavesmire this Friday courtesy of Mehronissa and Interconnection.
The former tackles the feature race on the seven-race card – the £30,000 EBF Breeders Series Fillies Handicap, over six furlongs (4.20pm). Mehronissa looks to have strong credentials on paper having won in good style on her seasonal debut at Haydock last month. The daughter of Iffraaj, a winner on the Knavesmire when both the Royal Ascot and St Leger Meetings paid a visit some ten years ago, has two wins of her own at Newmarket and another at Windsor. Vaughan is optimistic that there is more improvement to come from her.
He said: “Mehronissa is entitled to have come on for her first run of the year and goes there in good form. She likes to get her toe in but is fine on good ground.
“She has a nice progressive profile and I think she is still improving. She is off 93 now and I hope that she can continue to progress with the main aim being to get some black type. A race like the Chipchase at Newcastle may be on the agenda if all goes to plan on Friday.”
Mehronissa carries the colours of Dubai-based owner Salem Rashid, who also owns Vaughan’s other representative, Interconnection.
The son of Mount Nelson will tackle the 888sport.com Handicap over an extended mile and a quarter at 2:35pm.
He is one of 12 runners heading to post in search of the majority of the £20,000 prize pot and he, too, has strong claims based on his smooth win at Newmarket a month ago.
Vaughan added: “Interconnection is another who wouldn’t want the ground rattling fast but he is well and we are looking forward to running.
“He has run well at York before and is suited by the long straight and galloping track. The form of his Newmarket win was boosted when Sylvester Kirk’s horse (Gold Prince) was second at Epsom and he looks to have a chance.”
Friday’s seven-race card also features an intriguing five-furlong novice race for juveniles, which gets the day underway at 2:00pm.
The second day of York’s June Meeting takes place on Saturday. Britain’s biggest charity raceday kicks off with the historic Queen Mother’s Cup at 1:50pm with the highlight, the £100,000 888sport Charity Sprint, scheduled for 3:35pm.

Top Notch Tonto among Listed race entry

TRAINER Rae Guest is hoping Show Stealer can live up to her name this Saturday when she’ll contest the £100,000 888sport Charity Sprint, on the second day of York’s June Meeting.

The three-year-old filly produced a sizzling seasonal reappearance at Newmarket where she sped to success in a nice handicap over the same trip as this weekend, six furlongs.

Newmarket-based Guest pointed the way to York immediately after that triumph. Sure enough, Show Stealer is one of the leading contenders for the richest race of the weekend on the Knavesmire. She is one of 37 entries for the valuable contest, so it is little surprise that no fewer than nine of them were victorious on their last start.

Guest said: “I was very pleased with Show Stealer’s run at Newmarket. It was her first of the year and we hadn’t been getting her ready because she likes firm ground. Lucky enough, it was firm ground that day which suited her and she has come on for that run.

“We have been targeting this race from that day – as long as it doesn’t rain we are very hopeful.

“She doesn’t take much getting ready – she is not a very big filly, has always been very clean winded and very easy to deal with. Whatever you want to do with her, she does.”

Guest also has Show Stealer entered in the feature of Friday at York, the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies Handicap. But he acknowledged that entry was “a fall back” in case she didn’t beat the cut for Saturday’s big prize.

However, Show Stealer will comfortably make the 20-strong line-up for the 888sport Charity Sprint with thirteen rated higher than her on official figures. Indeed, Guest believes that in the future his charge can aspire to contesting Group races.

“I think so,” he confirmed. “She is 92 now. If she does well on Saturday, she’ll probably go looking for some ‘black type’ afterwards.”

It would be no surprise at all if the race produces a high-class performance. In the past, it has been won by star sprinters such Cadeaux Genereux, Sheikh Albadou and just last year Twilight Son and Magical Memory were at the fore of affairs.

The black type highlight of Saturday – Britain’s biggest charity raceday – is the Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes. This Listed contest over a mile has attracted a 20-strong entry, including the popular Top Notch Tonto who won it last year for local handler, Brian Ellison.

The two-day ‘June Meeting’ begins on Friday afternoon. Both days offer seven races under rules and gates open at 11.15am.
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Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

Building on 46 years of popularity with racing fans and with approaching £7 million already raised for good causes, Macmillan Charity Day at York Racecourse this Saturday (June 11) promises to be an afternoon of quality racing that again helps those in most need.

Saturday’s principal race is the 888sport Charity Sprint, one of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds, which offers prize money of £100,000. The roll of honour in this race over six furlongs includes top sprinters such as Cadeaux Genereux and Sheikh Albadou.

For only the fifth time, the day will end with Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of Their Lives, a chance for ten supporters to participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each has pledged at least £2,500 to the charity and you can help them beat last year’s contribution of over £110,000 by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving. The riders, which include a hair salon owner and a nurse, have put their normal lives on hold to take part in this unique charity challenge; Steve Charlton from Bishop Auckland is the oldest competitor at 61 with Siobhan Carey representing both the South (Buckinghamshire) and the younger generations, being nearly three decades his junior.

The charity auction so generously supported over the years is now available to view online in advance of the raceday. This means everyone can place a bid for the many stunning lots. A once in a lifetime trip to Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle Racing Stables, a weekend break in a Best Western Hotel every month for a year, or a Roxburghe Hall golf break are all amongst the travel items. An array of fine dining experience, a Porsche experience at Silverstone or the chance to either brew your own recipe of beer or be on the set of Soccer AM during filming, are some of the more unusual opportunities. Visit the yorkracecourse.co.uk news section for more information on how to make your bid.

Since 2012, a Listed race has featured on the Saturday racing programme supported alongside the Charity Race by York-based , Best Western Hotels. The Ganton Stakes over one mile offers prize money of £40,000 and provides another reason to attend the day, just by attending, racegoers will increase the money raised for charity.

Racing on Saturday begins at 1.50pm, with the 28th running of The Queen Mother’s Cup, the richest race for lady amateur riders in Britain and a contest won by The Princess Royal in 1988. It offers an opportunity for the successful rider to toast her success in her own weight of G.H. Mumm champagne.

Gaming brand, Betstars, make their debut at York to support a valuable handicap over nine furlongs. The high standard continues on this Charity Day with The Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes – a contest for two-year-olds named in honour of the founder of this Charity Day in 1971. The Ice Co° back a competitive handicap for the fourth year that denotes their support of Macmillan, a link that was cemented when company director, Polly Marr, rode in the Macmillan Charity Race of 2013. The traditional seventh race of the card is once again, The Charles Henry Memorial Stakes.

Macmillan Charity Day is part of a two-day meeting with racing on the Friday beginning with a contest in memory of popular Yorkshire Trainer, Mel Brittain.

Amongst the nineteen contests at York to benefit from the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund is the feature of the afternoon, a fillies handicap over six furlongs, that offers £30,000 in prize money and so cements the policy of every card on the Knavesmire being worth at least £100,000.

Also a sponsor on the opening day, 888sport see their own name against a valuable handicap contest over the extended ten furlongs. The SKF Rous Selling Stakes has now been supported for a dozen years by engineering company, SKF (UK) Ltd. Then Goffs UK will bring the excitement of the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure with an auction straight after the race. The Jigsaw Sports Branding Stakes, a handicap contest over seven furlongs demonstrates the help given to the track by its sign and branding contractor. The Rush hair opens June 18th Stakes, is the longest race of the day and cleverly highlights the imminent arrival of a new salon to the city. On a card full of variety, the concluding race is a handicap contest for apprentice jockeys taking the name of long standing supporter, ripleycollection.com.

The totepool-supported ‘Punters’ Panel’ takes place prior to racing on both days from the winner’s podium as a preview to the action on each day, while giant screens will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.

As part of a series of initiatives to get closer to the sport, groups of racegoers will be able to enjoy accompanied, complimentary trips to the round course starts. On Saturday, they will also have the chance to meet a retired racehorse, Harry, courtesy of equine charity, New Beginnings

The two day meeting offers a further chance for racegoers to explore the extensive refurbishment of the Edwardian Weighing Room – the final element of the three year £10m Northern End Development. The work over the winter has sought to retain and celebrate the history and heritage of the 1907 building which was home to jockeys, stewards and officials for over 100 years. In its new life as a County Stand racegoer facility, it is lighter, brighter and has more useable space. Freshly made sandwiches, picnic platters and other goodies can be washed down with a cup of tea or the track’s new range of locally brewed craft ales. True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £30.

A busy weekend for sport will see racegoers able to follow action from the opening game for Wales in the Euro 2016 tournament (England kick off at 8pm on Saturday so the racecourse will have closed), as well as the Third cricket test from Lords and the first rugby union test from Australia, on selected televisions.

Musical accompaniment to the action will take the form of three different bands; Murphies Marbles performing their brand of foot stompin’ Irish fun in the Knavesmire Courtyard whilst the equally upbeat New York Brass sound off on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn. Proceedings will be brought to a close on Saturday by the Monotones who have a huge repertoire of popular classics.

QUEST For More – last seen in the Melbourne Cup – has been declared for the Listed weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup at York this Saturday.

The Roger Charlton-trained six-year-old ran a belter in the famous Australian race, finishing ninth of 24 – beaten just four lengths.

Charlton, who trains at historic Beckhampton, has indicated that York’s mile and six-furlong Listed contest will be the ideal starting point for his charge, who also holds an entry for next month’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Jamie Spencer will ride Quest For More for the first time on the Knavesmire.

Charlton said: “We’re looking forward to getting him back on track. Our horses have been a bit slow to come to hand and he is unsuited to soft ground, so I guess his training was a little bit behind where it should have been.

“The York race has come at a perfect time. The flat track, like Newcastle and Doncaster etc, suits him well – fast ground, if possible.

“He seems in good form, but I would expect him to just come on a bit for his first race, although he ran very well first time out last year (beaten a head at Newmarket).

“The plan is to run in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot if everything is okay after York.”

Quest For More was a major improver last season, going from an official rating of 90 to his current mark of 109. He won the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate, finished a neck second to Big Orange in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup and then signed off for the season ‘down under’.

Charlton said: “This time last year, we viewed him as a horse that was fairly high in the handicap and who, like most handicappers, every now and again hopefully was going to win his race. But he excelled and was so close in the Goodwood Cup.”

Charlton believes a trip to the Melbourne Cup is “tough for a horse” but says a 2016 return is “a possibility” for Quest For More, who did himself proud last November.

He reflected: “I was very pleased with him. He had a fairly outside draw and got himself into a good position. They perhaps, from his point of view, went too slowly and then they sprinted up the straight. He got swamped a little bit – a bit short of room – and he was running on at the end and was only beaten four lengths. It was a good trip.”

The £50,000 Titanbet.co.uk Spring Sprint is sure to be a fiercely competitive contest with sixteen declared thoroughbreds chasing the richest prize of a day with nearly £170,000 on offer.

There are four course and distance winners for the five-furlong race including Bogart who will be making his 19th appearance at York.

The seven-race card starts at 2.05pm with the seven-furlong Titanbet.co.uk Handicap in which another Knavemsire regular – Hoof It – will line up.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225

York is back in action with the first Saturday of its seventeen day season (May 21).

As with every afternoon at York, the total prize money is into six figures, on this occasion nearly £170,000 for the seven race card.

This is the first opportunity for weekend racegoers to explore the extensive refurbishment of the Edwardian Weighing Room – the final element of the three year, £10m Northern End Development. The work over the winter has sought to retain and celebrate the heritage of the 1907 building which was home to jockeys, stewards and officials for over 100 years. In its new life as a County Stand racegoer facility, it is lighter, brighter and has more useable space. Freshly made sandwiches, picnic platters and other goodies can be washed down with a cup of tea or the track’s new range of locally brewed craft ales. True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £30.

The first of six Saturday afternoon fixtures this season on the Knavesmire, the day welcomes new sponsors to York, the footwear accessory brand, weddingmates.co.uk who support the Listed Grand Cup. Returning to the day is online betting company, Titanbet.co.uk. who back a top drawer contest for sprinters, The Titanbet.co.uk Sprint, which alone has prize money of £50,000; the richest of a pair of valuable contests that carry their name.

The Yorkshire Regiment, return to put their name to a contest for maiden two-year-olds and away from the track, the Regimental Band will entertain racegoers. It is also part a racing scheme known as Plus 10 and Bobis, meaning that there is a bonus of £10,000, awarded to the winning connections if the horses are qualified.

Another maiden sponsor on the day is Federation of British Bloodstock Agents who back a competitive handicap in mid-afternoon.

The Infinity Tyres Breeders Backing Racing EBF Fillies Stakes is one of 19 races at York to also benefit from the generous support of The European Breeders’ Fund

Gentleman amateur riders have their opportunity in the final race of the afternoon, a handicap contest over seven furlongs, sponsored once again by York-based John Wright Electrical Services Ltd., who have worked on the facilities at the racecourse.

Racegoers will have the chance to get close to a racehorse as Yorkshire based equine charity; New Beginnings are bringing Harry, (a thoroughbred who raced here in 1994 using his professional name of Golden Hello) as well as his friend Meg the pony.

The relaxed atmosphere of the first weekend fixture is further enhanced with live musical entertainment provided by the Band of the Yorkshire Regiment on the Weighing Room Lawn and the Y Street Band under the Knavesmire Stand. The upbeat style of the Monotones provides the soundtrack to the late afternoon.

The totepool ‘Punters Panel’ will preview the action before racing from the winners’ enclosure, while a trio of giant screens will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track. Those wishing to get yet closer, can sign up for the free trips to the start on the round course.

Racegoers will be able to follow both Test Match cricket and the FA Cup Final on selected televisions around the course.

Those who want to find out more about this raceday and the season ahead can visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

NIVEN HOPING FOR RAIN FOR EIGHT-YEAR-OLD STABLE STAR

NORTH Yorkshire-based trainer Peter Niven has reported Clever Cookie to be in “good nick” ahead of Friday’s Betway Yorkshire Cup at York.

The mile-and-six-furlong Group 2, part of the British Champions Series, has attracted six classy stayers.

Clever Cookie has already shown smart form this season, finishing second on two occasions – including in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot two weeks ago, when he went down by a mere neck.

Niven, who trains at Clovafield Stables near Malton, is keen to bring him back to the Knavesmire where he has twice enjoyed course and distance success. But he is also keen to see some ease in the ground to guarantee Clever Cookie’s participation.

Niven said: “He is good – he seems to be progressing along nicely. But I was praying for these showers to happen.

“He is in good nick. The run at Ascot was brilliant – I thought he ran a great race. He loves it round York – he has won three times there. If he gets a strong gallop over a mile and a six, he has every chance.”

Clever Cookie is rated 113 – 5lb below the top-rated horse in the race, Second Step. The Luca Cumani-trained five-year-old already has a Group 1 prize to his name, having landed the Grosser Preis von Berlin last August.

Flying Officer is another intriguing runner in the race. Now six, he ran up a hat-trick last season, culminating with victory on British Champions Day in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup. Champion trainer John Gosden’s charge was third – half a length back from Clever Cookie – on his seasonal bow at Ascot.

Nemoralia brings American Grade 1 form into the longer of Friday’s brace of Listed races – the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies’ Stakes, run over a mile.

Trainer Jeremy Noseda’s representative, rated 112, finished third at the Breeders’ Cup – and second in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes. She is one of nine fillies set for the £45,000 contest on the Knavesmire.

Noseda said: “I am happy with Nemoralia. Her preparations have gone well. She had a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last Tuesday and I was pleased with her. She handled cut in the ground in America but I think fast ground is ideal for her.”

York’s season-opening Dante Festival continues until Friday 13 May.

NIVEN HOPING FOR RAIN FOR EIGHT-YEAR-OLD STABLE STAR

NORTH Yorkshire-based trainer Peter Niven has reported Clever Cookie to be in “good nick” ahead of Friday’s Betway Yorkshire Cup at York.

The mile-and-six-furlong Group 2, part of the British Champions Series, has attracted six classy stayers.

Clever Cookie has already shown smart form this season, finishing second on two occasions  – including in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot two weeks ago, when he went down by a mere neck.

Niven, who trains at Clovafield Stables near Malton, is keen to bring him back to the Knavesmire where he has twice enjoyed course and distance success. But he is also keen to see some ease in the ground to guarantee Clever Cookie’s participation.

Niven said: “He is good – he seems to be progressing along nicely. But I was praying for these showers to happen.

“He is in good nick. The run at Ascot was brilliant – I thought he ran a great race. He loves it round York – he has won three times there. If he gets a strong gallop over a mile and a six, he has every chance.”

Clever Cookie is rated 113 – 5lb below the top-rated horse in the race, Second Step. The Luca Cumani-trained five-year-old already has a Group 1 prize to his name, having landed the Grosser Preis von Berlin last August.

Flying Officer is another intriguing runner in the race. Now six, he ran up a hat-trick last season, culminating with victory on British Champions Day in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup. Champion trainer John Gosden’s charge was third – half a length back from Clever Cookie – on his seasonal bow at Ascot.

Nemoralia brings American Grade 1 form into the longer of Friday’s brace of Listed races – the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies’ Stakes, run over a mile.

Trainer Jeremy Noseda’s representative, rated 112, finished third at the Breeders’ Cup – and second in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes. She is one of nine fillies set for the £45,000 contest on the Knavesmire.

Noseda said: “I am happy with Nemoralia. Her preparations have gone well. She had a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last Tuesday and I was pleased with her. She handled cut in the ground in America but I think fast ground is ideal for her.”

York’s season-opening Dante Festival continues until Friday 13 May.

YORK has been a happy hunting ground for trainer Roger Varian in recent seasons and he is hoping for fresh glories on Thursday when he saddles two runners in the feature races.

The China Horse Club-owned Choreographer will be the Newmarket handler’s representative in the £160,000 Betfred Dante Stakes, the Group 2 race renowned as the leading trial for the Investec Derby at Epsom.

A son of Sea The Stars, Choreographer won on his debut seventeen days ago at Windsor, where he travelled strongly before showing an impressive turn of foot to win by two lengths.

That effort and his subsequent work at home have prompted connections to let him take his chance at Group 2 level on Thursday.

Varian said: “I have been very happy with Choreographer since his debut win at Windsor. I was impressed with his performance that day and he is entitled to have come on plenty for it.

“It is obviously a big step up from a maiden to the Dante but he is an exciting colt who we have always thought a lot of. He has shown plenty at home and we feel he deserves to take his chance in this race.”

The Betfred Dante Stakes looks a race to savour with plenty of big guns standing their ground at declaration stage. Among the twelve strong field are current Derby favourite Midterm and Racing Post Trophy-runner up, Foundation.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien has declared Listed winner, Black Sea; as well as Deauville, a Group 2 winner as a two-year-old, who will be making his seasonal bow.

Varian took the Betfred Middleton Stakes two years ago with the classy mare Ambivalent and he has high hopes for the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid-owned Lady Of Dubai in the £110,000 Group 2.

The daughter of Dubawi, now four, brings a high-drawer record from last season – most notably her third place behind Qualify and Legatissimo in the Investec Oaks at Epsom.

Varian added: “Lady Of Dubai is a high-class filly. She had smart form when she came to us and I have been very pleased with how she has trained this spring.

“The Middleton Stakes has been her planned starting point for some time and her preparation has gone smoothly. I think the trip and track at York should be ideal and we are expecting a good run from her.”

A field of eight talented fillies will face the starter including Journey, a dual Listed winner who was Group-1 placed last season and Koora, winner of the Group 3 St Simon Stakes last October when last seen in action.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 11 May to Friday 13 May inclusive.

DANZENO will try to take advantage of a 5lb weight advantage when he renews acquaintances with Twilight Son in what is set to be a thrilling Group 2, the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on Wednesday.

The pair last locked horns in October at Ascot in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint, won by star speedster Muhaarar. On that occasion Twilight Son was second, a length and a half ahead of Danzeno in third place.

But trainer Mick Appleby has today given an upbeat bulletin about Danzeno ahead of the five-year-old lining up in a field of twelve chasing the record prize money pot of the £120,000, down the six furlongs.

Appleby said: “He should go well. He is in good order and has grown and filled out again from last year. I expect him to run a big race.

“Looking at the race, I think we’re the one to beat in it, to be honest. As long as it stays on the quick side of good, it would be perfect for him.”

Appleby is hoping that Danzeno, a Group 3 winner to date, can make further progress in 2016.

He added: “I’ve always said he’s going to be better when he’s five and six. So I think it might be his best couple of years now.

“I’ve always thought that he’s a Group 1 horse – I’ve been quite optimistic that he could go and land one this year.”

Twilight Son, at 117, is the top-rated horse in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. Henry Candy’s charge is a proven star, having landed the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock last September, after a course and distance success in June. But the trainer feels the four-year-old may sharpen up for this first run of the campaign.

Candy said: “He has done very, very well through the winter – probably too well. He might need his first run and giving 5lb to some of these, I would think might prove too much for him. But he is in need of a run and loves York, so it’s a great place to start.

“He doesn’t show a lot in his work, he is quite lazy. But I think once he has got a race under his belt and he’s back on level terms and not giving weight away, hopefully we will have some fun. He is one who does like to get his toe in a little bit, so I would prefer a bit of give in the ground.”

Both Danzeno and Twilight Son will be making their respective seasonal bows, but one who has shown fine form in 2016 is Magical Memory – winner of the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket. The progressive four-year-old is likely to be sent off favourite in what is sure to be a fascinating clash of classy sprinters.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 11 May to Friday 13 May inclusive.

CANDY’S ‘SON’ MAY NEED SEASONAL BOW

DANZENO will try to take advantage of a 5lb weight advantage when he renews acquaintances with Twilight Son in what is set to be a thrilling Group 2, the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on Wednesday.

The pair last locked horns in October at Ascot in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint, won by star speedster Muhaarar. On that occasion Twilight Son was second, a length and a half ahead of Danzeno in third place.

But trainer Mick Appleby has today given an upbeat bulletin about Danzeno ahead of the five-year-old lining up in a field of twelve chasing the record prize money pot of the £120,000, down the six furlongs.

Appleby said: “He should go well. He is in good order and has grown and filled out again from last year. I expect him to run a big race.

“Looking at the race, I think we’re the one to beat in it, to be honest.  As long as it stays on the quick side of good, it would be perfect for him.”

Appleby is hoping that Danzeno, a Group 3 winner to date, can make further progress in 2016.

He added: “I’ve always said he’s going to be better when he’s five and six. So I think it might be his best couple of years now.

“I’ve always thought that he’s a Group 1 horse – I’ve been quite optimistic that he could go and land one this year.”

Twilight Son, at 117, is the top-rated horse in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. Henry Candy’s charge is a proven star, having landed the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock last September, after a course and distance success in June. But the trainer feels the four-year-old may sharpen up for this first run of the campaign.

Candy said: “He has done very, very well through the winter – probably too well. He might need his first run and giving 5lb to some of these, I would think might prove too much for him. But he is in need of a run and loves York, so it’s a great place to start.

“He doesn’t show a lot in his work, he is quite lazy. But I think once he has got a race under his belt and he’s back on level terms and not giving weight away, hopefully we will have some fun. He is one who does like to get his toe in a little bit, so I would prefer a bit of give in the ground.”

Both Danzeno and Twilight Son will be making their respective seasonal bows, but one who has shown fine form in 2016 is Magical Memory – winner of the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket. The progressive four-year-old is likely to be sent off favourite in what is sure to be a fascinating clash of classy sprinters.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 11 May to Friday 13 May inclusive.

 

MIDTERM headed up the eighteen horses at Friday’s confirmation stage for next Thursday’s £160,000 Betfred Dante Stakes at York – and connections are looking forward to their impeccably-bred colt lining up in the “definitive Derby trial”.

Owned and homebred by Prince Khalid Abdulla, his dam is the six-time Group One-winning Juddmonte Farms mare, Midday. The impressive colt has won both of his career starts to date.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, the son of leading stallion Galileo, was victorious on his debut in a Newbury maiden last October before winning on his seasonal bow in a Group 3 at Sandown last month. He showed a good attitude in knuckling down to land the Classic Trial by a length and a half from Algometer.

It was a win that strengthened his position at the head of the market for the Investec Derby and he is currently a 3/1 chance with Betfred. But before a date at Epsom, Midterm must face the challenge of the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes.

The race’s reputation as the pre-eminent Derby trial was boosted again only 12 months ago when Golden Horn led home stable-mate Jack Hobbs – a result that was repeated in the Blue Riband in Surrey, making the champion the tenth winner of the Knavesmire/Epsom double.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager at Juddmonte Farms, said: “We were very pleased with Midterm’s reappearance in the Classic Trial at Sandown.

“He has always been a hard horse to gauge because he does very little in his homework but wakes up at the racecourse. Obviously, this is another big step for him and we are looking forward to the race.

“He will need to come on and improve. It is going to be a good test for him.

“I’ve always considered it the definitive Derby trial. You only have to look back to last year to see how true that is with Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs. But you can go back a lot further – there is a list of illustrious winners of the Dante.”

Midterm’s two wins to date have come when the going has been on the slow side and he may face a quicker surface next week after drying conditions this week. But Lord Grimthorpe feels that the colt will prove just as effective on fast ground.

He said: “He has done well with a bit of cut in the ground. He has got a very good, smooth action so I would think he would suit fast going as well.”

Workforce, for the same connections as Midterm, finished second in the 2010 Betfred Dante Stakes before going onto glory in the Derby.

Arabian Queen is the star name in the Betfred Middleton Stakes, which will also take place on the Knavesmire next Thursday. The 2015 Juddmonte International Stakes winner is amongst ten fillies and mares to remain in the Group 2 race at the latest confirmation stage.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 11 May to Friday 13 May inclusive.

CONNECTIONS of So Mi Dar are looking forward to competing in the £100,000 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York on day one of the Dante Festival, Wednesday 11 May.

The John Gosden-trained filly, who runs in the colours of her owner/ breeder Lord Lloyd-Webber, is unbeaten in two starts and overcame the colts in tidy fashion in the Epsom Derby Trial last time out. That effort earned her quotes of around 6/1 for the Investec Oaks and teed up a trip to the Knavesmire for this notable Group 3, run over the extended mile and a quarter.

So Mi Dar is certainly bred to do the job. She is by none other than Dubawi and her dam, Dar Re Mi, struck three times at Group 1 level, including in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks – and finished third in the equivalent race back in May 2008.

The Lloyd-Webber pale pink silks were carried to victory in the 2012 renewal of the Tattersalls Musidora by The Fugue who was also trained by Gosden and it is the Newmarket-handler who has been responsible for three of the last six winners.

Simon Marsh, general manager of Watership Down Stud, representing Lord Lloyd-Webber, said: “We were very happy with her performance at Epsom where she beat the colts in the Derby Trial.
“We ran her there due to a lack of fillies’ conditions races and handicaps and we wanted to give her another run before going into Stakes company.
“The Musidora Stakes was the obvious next step. Her mother was third in the race and went on to be a multiple Group 1 winner.
“She will need to step up again but she is a filly we have always liked and we hope that she can run very well on Wednesday.”

Last year’s winner Star Of Seville went on to take the French Oaks and this time around the race has attracted another high-class entry of seventeen fillies. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has five entries including Pretty Perfect, a Galileo filly who was an easy winner of the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan on her seasonal reappearance.

A total of fifteen sprinters have stood their ground in the day’s sprint feature, the £120,000 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. Recent Newmarket Group 3 winner Magical Memory heads the market with Group 1 winner Twilight Son due to make his seasonal bow having won over course and distance last June.

Other intriguing entries in the Group 2 are Jungle Cat, who finished a close second in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday and Mattmu, trained in Yorkshire by Tim Easterby, and who finished a good third behind Mecca’s Angel in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes last August.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 11 to Friday 13 May inclusive.

 

Action for the 2016 season at York Racecourse gets underway with the three day Dante Festival starting on Wednesday 11 May. With a record investment of over £1m in prize money, as well the opening of the refurbished Edwardian Weighing Room to racegoers, excitement is building for the 17 raceday season ahead on the Knavesmire.

Prize money over the three days of the Dante Festival has risen for the fifth year in succession, increasing by £45,000 this year to £1,120,000, with a Group Two on each day receiving a boost of £10,000 per race.

Wednesday’s £100,000 Tattersalls Musidora is one of eighteen races across the York season to offer a six figure sum to connections. A feature race for three year old fillies, the Musidora has proved to be a leading form indicator for the Investec Oaks with six champion fillies that have gone on to achieve Classic glory. Last year’s winner, Star of Seville, went on to land the French Oaks so becoming one of four classic winners that showcased their talents on the Knavesmire in May 2015. Typically, fillies from the Musidora return as older horses to contest the now £120,000 Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes on the Thursday of the Festival.

The Betfred Dante, the race that gives the Festival its name by honouring the last Yorkshire trained winner of the Derby back in 1945, is staged on Thursday. This Group Two contest, offering a prize fund of £160,000, was the highest rated three year old Group 2 in Britain in 2015 with the first two home, Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs, going on from York to land the English and Irish Derbys, respectively.

Last year also witnessed the inaugural running of a new Listed race – the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes for three year old sprinters – this year it will offer enhanced prize money of £45,000 to those seeking to follow the Clive Cox trained, Profitable.

Friday’s principal race is The Betway Yorkshire Cup, now with £160,000 on offer to the leading stayers over one mile and three-quarters, a valuable and highly-rated Group Two ‘Cup’ race. Friday’s renewal is part of the Qipco British Champions Series, the first of five York contests that are part of this special series of the top races in Britain.

Over the three days, racegoers will have the chance to explore the extensive refurbishment of the Edwardian Weighing Room – the final element of the three year £10m Northern End Development. The work over the winter has sought to retain and celebrate the history and heritage of the 1907 building which was home to jockeys, stewards and officials for over 100 years. In its new life as a County Stand racegoer facility, it is lighter, brighter and has more useable space. Freshly made sandwiches, picnic platters and other goodies can be washed down with a cup of tea or the track’s new range of locally brewed craft ales. True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £30.

It has been announced that HRH The Duke of York, Patron of York Racecourse, will visit Knavesmire on Wednesday 11th May. Prince Andrew, who became Patron in 2015, will present the trophy to the winner of the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes.

The opening race sees on-line bookmaker, 888sport, return to support a valuable middle-distance handicap contest over one mile and a quarter. Infinity Tyres continue to back York – this time by supporting a valuable handicap race over six furlongs. Conundrum Human Resources return to the venue where they provide professional services, to put their name to a competitive-looking handicap contest for three-year-olds, over seven furlongs. Novice two-year-olds take their opportunity in a contest under the European Breeders’ Fund banner, one of nineteen contests over the season to receive the generous backing of the EBF.

The Stratford Place Stud, owned by popular music impresario, Chris Wright CBE, once again supports a contest for maiden two-year-olds, the Stratford Place Stud Breeds Group Winners EBF Stakes.

A couple of Listed races for fillies are prominent on the final day and each has benefited from a boost in prize money to £45,000; two-year-olds take part in The Langleys Solicitors LLP EBF Marygate Stakes, while three-year-olds are catered for in The Longines Irish Champions Weekend Stakes, a contest over one mile supported by Horse Racing Ireland. The Betway Jorvik Stakes is a £50,000 handicap over one mile and a half. Three-year-old sprinters have their opportunity in The Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes, a handicap race over five furlongs. Fillies and mares face the starter in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Frank Whittle Partnership Fillies’ Stakes, backed by the firm who advised the racecourse team on the popular Northern End Development Project. Completing the twenty-one race programme is the 7IM supports Cystic Fibrosis Care Stakes, a handicap that promotes the link between the charity and the financial services firm; with £15,000 in prize money being a healthy reward as the minimum return of the week.

David O’Meara, who has relocated to his new base near York at Warthill, is seeking a hat-trick of leading trainer titles at York this season with competition again looking set to be fierce for the Charles Clinkard backed Top Trainer Trophy. Phillip Makin will be wanting to retain his leading rider title on the Knavesmire in the Living North Magazine Top Jockey Trophy.

New this season, York are pleased to be offering complimentary guided minibus trips to the start for racegoers; these will be taken by former professional flat jockey, John Murray, as another example of initiatives to further explain the sport and get racegoers closer to the action.
The giant screens at York will join the 100 plus LCD flat screen televisions in showing high definition (HD) pictures of the action; a benefit that is recently available to viewers of Racing UK for all twenty-one races.
The first day of the season will help raise funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund as another former rider, Charlie Ward, joins Anthony and Matthew Fison on a 550 mile bicycle ride between the charity’s two recuperation centres, Jack Berry House in Malton and Oaksey House in Lambourn. York is the first port of call for the trio who are seeking to give something back after Angela Fison received the support of the IJF following a fall.
The Totepool ‘Punters’ Panel’ will preview the action each day from the winners’ enclosure under the guidance of former Racing Journalist of the Year, Tom O’Ryan, who joins the York team this season.

Further details about the Dante Festival and the season ahead, please visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

MAGICAL Memory could next be seen on the opening day of the York season in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes on Wednesday 11 May.

The Charles Hills-trained sprint star began his four-year-old campaign with a fine win in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket last week.

It was a performance that suggested the striking grey, owned by Kennet Valley Racing, could be a leading light among the speedsters.

The victory, by a neck, maintained his progressive profile after a fine 2015 season in which he clinched the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood en route to finishing third in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock.

Now the son of Zebedee has been pencilled in for a tilt at the £120,000 Group Two sprint highlight of the three day Dante Festival.

Sam Hoskins, racing manager for Kennet Valley Racing, said: “Charlie has been really happy with how Magical Memory has come out of his win at Newmarket. I personally was very impressed with his performance that day.

“I thought that, although on paper it looked a race that was there for the taking, we knew he would need the run and could be vulnerable to something fitter first time out, especially on easy ground.

“But it wasn’t the case and he was definitely value for more than the winning margin and was vastly superior. He showed a very impressive turn of foot to put the race to bed.

“He has done very well from three to four and looks a stronger model this year. We gave him an extended winter break having had our last run at Haydock in early September. This meant he had a good long break and he really did well for it.

“Winning at Newmarket was a great start to the year and we are hopeful he can build on that at York before heading to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

“At this stage we would like to run in the Duke Of York although if conditions weren’t in his favour he has another entry in the Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh on Irish 2000 Guineas day (May 21). The flat six furlongs on hopefully fast-ish ground at York should really suit and he is a strong traveller which is essential at York where they always go a good gallop in sprints.

“We have been beaten three times by Twilight Son but we are getting 5lb from him and with that in our favour, I could see him running him very close.

“York is a terrific racecourse to take syndicates like Kennet Valley to. The racing is top class and the hospitality from the track is second to none.”

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 11 to Friday, May 13 inclusive.

BIG GUNS SET SIGHTS ON YORK’S RENOWNED DERBY TRIAL

FOUNDATION and Midterm, who are Betfred’s 12/1 market leaders for the Investec Derby, are both among an impressive eighty-eight strong entry for the Betfred Dante Stakes, to be run at York on Thursday 12 May.

The £160,000 Group 2 – recognised by many as the premier Derby trial – has attracted 19 more entries than at the same stage 12 months ago. The 2015 renewal saw Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs finish first and second – just as they did the following month at Epsom.

That pair were saddled by John Gosden and the Newmarket-based trainer is represented by no fewer than 10 colts at the initial entry stage this season.

One of those is Foundation, who was a high-class two-year-old. He landed the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket before finishing a luckless third in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy. Foundation already has a clutch of big-race entries for the season ahead and Gosden said: “He is coming along fine.”

Sir Michael Stoute is no stranger to success in the Dante Stakes – he has so far sent out six horses to win the mile and quarter race. Stoute has given the entry to four horses this time around, including Midterm.

The beautifully bred son of Galileo, out of multiple Group 1-winning mare Midday, caught the eye when scoring on his debut at Newbury last October. Stoute indicated that no plans have been set in stone for him yet but said: “I am happy with the colt.”

Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle powerhouse is responsible for no less than twenty-one of the entries. Godolphin are also strongly represented, by fourteen horses.

Trainer Hugo Palmer, has nominated two from his growing operation – Mengli Khan and Galileo Gold. The latter, who proved himself very good when winning the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, is set to have a Guineas as his main spring target – but stable-mate Mengli Khan may contest the Dante. Palmer is expecting his charge to bounce back this season from a below-par effort in the Racing Post Trophy.

He said: “Mengli Khan was disappointing at Doncaster but the ground was too soft for him. He has done really well over the winter. He is a full-brother to Very Special who is now a multiple Group winner in Dubai. I think a mile and a quarter will be at least his trip, so the Dante is a possibility.

“Galileo Gold’s season is to start in a Guineas. Because he wants a little more give in the ground than he is possibly likely to get here in Newmarket, the plan, really for quite a long time, has been the French Guineas.”

Trainer Marco Botti has entered Mr Khalid, a Nottingham maiden winner by a wide-margin. This unexposed son of Pour Moi may be asked to prove himself worthy of a Dante spot with a handicap outing at Newmarket’s Craven meeting in a fortnight’s time.

Botti said: “He has done tremendously well over the winter. Physically, he’s a different horse to last year – much stronger and he has grown.

“I hope to maybe start him in the mile and a quarter handicap at the Craven meeting to see if he could be a potential Group horse. Whether he is up to that level, we will take it step by step and find out.”

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 11 to Friday, May 13 inclusively.

BETFRED MIDDLETON STAKES ON THE AGENDA

TWO-TIME Group 1 winner Covert Love could start off her 2016 campaign in the Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes at York – ahead of taking on the colts.

Trainer Hugo Palmer has outlined an exciting plan for the Darley Irish Oaks heroine that includes Thursday May 12’s mile-and-a-quarter race on the Knavesmire.

Covert Love was one of the stars of last season, also winning over course and distance in late May, then the Group Prix de l’Opera and finishing a neck second to Pleascach in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York. Her only two reverses from seven races in 2015 came when there was some ease in the ground.

The likelihood is the four-year-old Azamour filly will be kept to quicker surfaces this term with top targets such as the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Eclipse Stakes and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes under consideration.

The Breeders’ Cup in November could also on be the agenda for Palmer’s stable star, who is one of twenty-six entries for the £120,000 Betfred Middleton Stakes.
Newmarket-based Palmer said: “Covert Love is in great form. She looks fantastic – she’s much bigger and stronger than she was last year.

“She’s got an entry in the Middleton. She runs well at York. Granted a decent racing surface, I would have thought we’d be turning up at the Middleton – she won’t run before.

“I’d like, at some point, to have a go at the colts. If we don’t run in the Middleton that means we’d be taking on the colts first time…we might have to go to the Prince of Wales’s first time, the Eclipse or even the King George.”

Palmer added: “I’d like her to go to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup. She is a Group 1 winner over 10 and 12 furlongs – the world’s her oyster.”

Palmer is also aware of the quality of this season’s older fillies and mares’ division, which includes Arabian Queen – winner of the 2015 Juddmonte International Stakes at York last August.

She has a Betfred Middleton Stakes entry as does Euro Charline who ran brilliantly to finish second in the $6million Group 1 Dubai Turf at Meydan on Saturday. Trainer Marco Botti’s five-year-old charge also has options in Hong Kong and a Lockinge Stakes entry.

Botti said: “I need to discuss with Team Valor (owners of Euro Charline) which route we will go. Ideally, I would like to stick with a mile but a mile and a quarter on a flat track like York might be an option. She came back from Dubai on Monday. She battled on and it was a great run.”

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, May 11 to Friday, May 13 inclusively.

BETWAY YORKSHIRE CUP ATTRACTS STRONG FIELD

TRAINER Charlie Hills looks to have a strong hand for the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, which will be staged on the opening day of York’s 2016 season –Wednesday 11 May

The £120,000 Group 2 contest has attracted an exciting initial entry of forty- eight, including three from Hills’ powerful stable at Lambourn.

Hills enjoyed a stellar year in the sprint division last year – thanks in the main to four-time Group 1 and York winner, Muhaarar. The Oasis Dream colt has since been retired to stud, but Hills still looks to have a clutch of speedsters to contend in the key races once again.

Strath Burn and Magical Memory – second and third in the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup – and Listed winner Cotai Glory all look capable of making their mark among the fastest sprinters of 2016.

Hills said: “We are looking to go straight to the Duke of York with Strath Burn. He is well. Magical Memory is coming along and I think we shall look to run him somewhere before York.

“I have also entered Cotai Glory in the Duke of York. We are also looking at running him somewhere before and we shall know more then.

“We are some way off but I am happy with how they have all wintered.”

Haydock Sprint Cup hero Twilight Son could renew acquaintances with Strath Burn and Magical Memory at York over six furlongs. Another intriguing entry is the John Gosden-trained three-year-old Shalaa, who won the Group 1 Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes last season.

Two other notables to mention are the 2015 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Mecca’s Angel and Bobby’s Kitten, who was a Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner in 2014. The latter named had his first start for trainer Dermot Weld on Monday when he won a Listed race at Cork by eight and a half lengths!

The highlight on day three of the Dante Festival, Friday 13 May, is the £160,000 Betway Yorkshire Cup. The Group 2 contest, run over the Ebor handicap trip of a mile and three-quarters, has been won in recent years by the likes of Red Cadeaux (2012) and Gospel Choir (2014).

The latter is among this year’s twenty-eight strong entry, which also features emphatic Group 1 Irish St Leger winner, Order of St George and Kingfisher, who chased home Trip To Paris in last year’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Both colts represent trainer Aidan O’Brien who has yet to saddle a winner of this prestigious prize.

Top Yorkshire-based handler, Richard Fahey, saddled Glen’s Diamond to win the Betway Yorkshire Cup three years ago and he has made an entry for the Dr Marwan Koukash-owned Suegioo. The 2014 Chester Cup hero put up a solid effort to be fourth in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan last weekend.

York’s season-opening Dante Festival runs from Wednesday, 11 May to Friday 13 May 13.

York Racecourse concluded its 2015 season today after a hugely busy year which has seen a strong attendance, as over 360,000 racegoers (+9%) witnessed 115 races over 17 fabulous days of racing action, with an increased number of runners as 1,465 thoroughbreds competed for a record of £6.7m prize money.

In other excitements this year, the racecourse raised a record sum of over £420,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities at its June Charity fixture and welcomed a record evening crowd for any UK racecourse when 36,479 racing and music lovers enjoyed a concert by Sir Tom Jones.

The transformation of the northern end of the racecourse was completed with the opening, to critical and popular acclaim, of the Northern End Development. The development was winner of the Civic Trust backed York Design Awards and the new Moët Pavilion won Best Bar on a UK Racecourse in the Merbury National Catering Awards. The reconfiguration of the pre-parade ring and new weighing room has improved both the viewing facilities for racegoers and the working day for jockeys and officials. It was officially opened by the new Patron of York Racecourse, HRH The Duke of York, on the first day of the 2015 season.

The opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw Lady Cecil unveil the wonderful Sir Henry Cecil Gates that stand close by the first ever equine statue at York, a bronze of the mighty Frankel. County Stand racegoers explored the new Moët Pavilion, Roof Terrace, John Carr Terrace and the Edwardian Weighing Room. Improved facilities meant they could sample stone baked pizza and freshly griddled beef burgers underneath the new ETFE canopy on the John Carr Terrace.

In what has been another memorable year for performances on the track, the highlight must be quality of racing at York’s two flagship festivals. No fewer than four subsequent Classic winners competed at York in May and the 2015 renewal of the Betfred Dante Stakes must rate as one of the highest quality stagings of recent seasons, led home by horse of the year, Golden Horn.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival saw an outstanding four days of racing action with a record number of runners, the first ever runners from the US – both ridden by “Hall of Fame” American based jockeys – and a memorable week for Yorkshireman in exile William Haggas who claimed five of the 25 races. Locally-based jockey, Paul Mulrennan, guided Mecca’s Angel into the Winners Enclosure to a rapturous and emotional welcome after winning a first Group One for both his rider and northern trainer, Michael Dods, in the Coolmore Nunthorpe.

The total attendance for the year of 360,743 included thirteen days that displayed a year on year increase, as the final day saw 22,056 racegoers (up 9% year on year) watch Shared Equity land the Coral Sprint Trophy for trainer Jedd O’Keeffe. This bumper crowd meant the seasonal total finished 28,178 (9%) ahead of the last year’s number. That means 2015 is the second best attended York season since modern records began, only eclipsed by the 2011 total which would have included racegoers aged 16 and 17 who are now granted free admission, so are no longer included in the attendance totals.

Macmillan Charity Raceday in June is the largest charity raceday in British racing as well as Macmillan’s largest single fundraising event. Through the collective efforts of many individuals, organisations and the 27,216 crowd, a fantastic sum in excess of £420,000 was raised, being a record annual amount and taking the cumulative total over the past 46 years to more than £6.6 million.

The fiercely contested Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York Trophy was successfully defended, with David O’Meara now having taken the title for three consecutive seasons, finishing the year with twelve winners.

A new name appears on the Living North Champion Jockey Trophy as local rider Phillip Makin posted an impressive eleven winners to land his first title.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse said, “What an incredible season 2015 has been. The quality of racing action at York has been tremendous and we are delighted that our continued investment in the track, facilities and prize money has delivered such compelling and competitive racing action. Racegoers have seen some of the best horses and jockeys in the world compete on the Knavesmire with many of the standout horses of the season having been part of the York story. We have been delighted with the transformation of the northern end of the racecourse and the reaction of racegoers and horsemen to the improved facilities, many people have been kind enough to comment on the unique atmosphere on course that this investment has helped to create. We are grateful for the ongoing support of owners and horsemen for bringing their fabulous horses to York. We are proud to be part of a Yorkshire racing community which goes from strength to strength and the success of Yorkshire handlers, both here at York and further afield, is a tremendous reflection of the health of flat racing in the County.”

“I must pay tribute to the team at York who have delivered such a memorable and successful season, from the permanent York Racecourse and York Racecourse Hospitality teams based at the racecourse who work so hard throughout the year to continue to innovate and improve the experience for visitors to the Knavesmire, to the raceday team who help provide the award-winning service and welcome to our racegoers. This year, the efforts of the design and construction team who worked so hard to deliver our fantastic new facilities must be acknowledged. I was delighted that our groundstaff won Flat Racecourse Grounds Team of the Year, that our events team won Visit York Conference Venue of the Year award and that my invaluable assistant, Jane Richardson, was voted Members’ Member PA of the Year in York by her peers. Some 2,000 people have given their time, talent and energy to making every York raceday so special.

“We remain hugely appreciative of the support of racegoers, boxholders, hospitality guests and sponsors; so very much hope they have enjoyed their own racedays at York in 2015 and will both look back on many happy memories, as well as look forward to many more!”

Head of Sponsorship and Marketing at York Racecourse, James Brennan, noted, “The turn out this year is a remarkable achievement. Competition for leisure spending is intense and we continue to strive to offer quality racing, value for money and a great day out. I am pleased our programme of entertainment, investment and innovation has been so well received. The UK’s two largest attended live concerts after racing, by Sir Tom Jones and Scouting For Girls, the relocated Ebor Fashion Lawn which attracted a record level of entrants seeking to win some fabulous prizes, a Family Sunday with more children and animals than ever before and the Countryside Raceday in October, were all exciting aspects which combined with top-class racing, service and facilities to provide memorable entertainment. The 2015 attendance and ongoing commitment of the course to buying fresh, local produce further support the independent economic study that concluded the racecourse was worth £58 million to the York economy per annum.”

Summarising the year, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, concluded, “It has been an honour and privilege to be involved with such an exciting, enjoyable and successful season and I would like to thank everyone connected to York for their attendance, enthusiasm and support. Work will continue during the winter, as we strive to further develop and so improve the experience of racing at York. I am looking forward to Wednesday 11 May 2016.”

TRAINER Mick Appleby is hoping Poyle Vinnie can go one better than the Ayr Gold Cup when he contests the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy at York on Saturday.
The five-year-old gelding ran a cracker in going down by only half a length to the well-supported favourite Don’t Touch on September 19.
As a result, Poyle Vinnie was raised to an official mark of 105 – the highest of any of the 47 entries for the ultra-competitive Coral Sprint Trophy.
But Appleby’s charge looks likely to get the easy underfoot conditions he relishes and is 12/1 for glory with the sponsors.
Poyle Vinnie will return to the Knavesmire where he was beaten just over three lengths by Lucky Kristale in last month’s Listed Garrowby Stakes, staged over this weekend’s six-furlong distance.
Appleby said: “We were delighted with the way he ran at Ayr. We always thought that was the ideal race for him and he was probably unlucky to bump into a good horse.
“He came out of the race very well – he is in very good order. The more rain the better for him.”
Golden Amber is a filly in form and is a 14/1 chance for Coral Sprint Ivory. The Dean Ivory-trained four-year-old has won two of her last three starts, including a competitive contest at Newmarket almost a fortnight ago.
Indeed, Golden Amber also has an entry this week back at the Rowley Mile but connections are leaning towards the Coral Sprint Trophy due to the likelihood of there being more juice in the ground at York.
Ivory said: “She came out of her last race better than any other. I was amazed because she’d carried all that weight (top-weight at 9st 6lb).
“I couldn’t be happier with her. If we run, she’s got to have a great chance. I’m delighted with the way she is.”
The two-day October meeting, the richest finale York has staged to a season with over £415,000 prize money on offer, gets underway this Friday, October 9.
For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225. Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

TRAINER Dave Evans is hoping for a bold run from in-form Gracious John in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes at York on Saturday.

The two-year-old son of Baltic King will be seeking a third successive victory when he contests the six-furlong Listed contest, that has seen its prize money increase to £50,000.

Gracious John is returning to the Knavesmire, scene of his maiden triumph just over a month ago in a race where he beat the subsequent big Newmarket sales race winner, Poets Prize.

Evans admits his charge had been stretched stamina-wise on his first two career starts – both over seven and a half furlongs at Ffos Las.

But the decision to revert to out and out sprint trips has worked the oracle with Gracious John striking over five and a half furlongs at York before following up with success at Haydock.

That latter victory in a five-furlong nursery was particularly impressive as he came away to score in style.

Evans said: “I ran him over probably the wrong trip the first and the second time, he went very keen and wide. So we dropped him back and he did it well at York – and he did it exceptionally well last time.

“It surprised me, really. He won by three lengths, so there’s a little bit left in the tank. He couldn’t pull him up after that race.

“I haven’t done a lot with him since he ran (at Haydock) but he seems in good order still.

“He should be alright over six (furlongs) and he won on soft ground last time, so the ground should be fine as well. It will probably suit him better than most of the others.

“It’s probably a nice race to go for. I am looking forward to it…it would be nice if he ran to form on Saturday.”

Gracious John is rated 98, so he will need to progress again in terms of official figures to trouble possible contender Tasleet.

Trainer William Haggas’ charge has a mark of 109, having won the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes at York and then finished second, beaten a nose, in a Group 3 at Newmarket.

The two-day October meeting, the richest finale York has staged to a season with over £415,000 prize money on offer, gets underway this Friday, October 9.

AGENT GIBBS SET FOR SWIFT REAPPEARANCE

MIDDLEHAM-based trainer Mark Johnston has enjoyed a fruitful season at York and is aiming for more home county success there when, Yorkidding, returns to Knavesmire on Friday to tackle new feature race on the card.

The Stan James-sponsored handicap offers a £50,000 prize and is run over the Ebor trip of a mile and six furlongs. It has attracted a field seven progressive stayers, including the Johnston-trained daughter of Dalakhani.

Yorkidding won a competitive handicap at the Dante Festival over a mile and a half and also won at Sandown over tomorrow’s trip. Her last two runs have seen her finish a close fourth at Ascot and second at Chester.

Charlie Johnston, representing his father Mark, said: “She goes well at the track having won at the Dante Festival and has been a consistent filly this season.

“She has been set some stiff assignments during the summer including Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and the Ebor Meeting so this looks more realistic.

“She stays well, seems in good form and should run a solid race.”

Yorkidding’s rivals include Agent Gibbs, winner of four of his last five starts and the Richard Hannon-trained Who Dares Wins who goes in search of a four-timer.

Agent Gibbs won his latest race only two days ago at Leicester and connections are hoping to run him back quickly but will ensure everything is well before fully committing.

Sam Stronge, assistant to his wife Ali, said: “Agent Gibbs has been a star this season. Obviously he only won on Tuesday so we will see how he is today just before we confirm that he definitely runs. But with such a valuable contest, we wanted to support it.

“He has been progressive all season. If he carries on the way he is going, the form he is in, he should run a big race. The soft ground is not ideal. He coped with it at Leicester but trip-wise, certainly not a problem.”

Johnston also saddles Furiant in the TSG Nursery handicap over six furlongs. The son of Invincible Spirit won on debut at Musselburgh in May and has been a consistent performer for connections this summer.

Charlie Johnston added: “The handicapper probably has Furiant where he wants him but he has run some good races this season. He is a solid horse and I would expect him to run his race again.”

Another interesting contest on the seven-race card is the Parsonage Hotel and Cloisters Spa Handicap over five furlongs. A maximum field of 20 will face the starter in this £20,000 event including York regulars Judge N Jury, Captain Dunne and Blithe Spirit.

The last chance to enjoy racing action at York in 2015 comes on Friday and Saturday (9 & 10 October). With record prize money of over £415,000 on offer, it is the most valuable October finale ever held on the Knavesmire.

A year on year increase of £100,000 to prize money sees all fourteen races over the two days benefitting from the boost of more than 25% over 2014.

The feature race of the Saturday meeting is the now £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy, an ultra-competitive sprint handicap benefitting from a £25,000 increase to become the nineteenth race of the season to have a six figure purse.

The Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes which showcased smart sprinter Mattmu for the Tim Easterby yard last season, will now offer £50,000.

Channel 4 cameras will be at the track on the Friday for the first time, to cover two races; including a new £50,000 feature handicap for three year old staying horses over a mile and three quarters supported by Stan James. This new race is intended to provide an autumn opportunity for the highly rated stayers who may well have competed in the Betfred Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Friday will see the fourth staging of ‘Countryside Raceday’ with its biggest ever Countryside Market; while Saturday will be accompanied by the sound of the a marching military band in support of the Coldstream Guards Cup, a middle-distance handicap that will bring the curtain down on the season.

Looking to combine the delights of the rural life with the excitement of a raceday, the ‘Countryside Raceday’ on Friday will mean seven races being complemented by rural activity and products; including a sheepdog display and a chance to get up close to some birds of prey. For those wishing to start their Christmas shopping early there is a Countryside Market of local produce and crafts.

Friday’s card also begins at 1.45p.m. and blends competitive handicaps with contests to develop the two-year-olds as well as honing the talents of apprentice jockeys. Regular race sponsors on this day include TSG, the IT provider that supports the racecourse team and Future Cleaning Services who keep the stands spic and span. Regulars at York and visitors to the city will recognize the Parsonage Country House Hotel & Cloisters Spa at Escrick who return in support of a race on this day. The European Breeders’ Fund continue their backing of York with support of the contest for maiden two-year-olds. Completing a day of returning sponsors, are Racing UK and bookmaker Stan James. The latter also backing a valuable handicap over the unusual distance for the UK of a mile and a sixteenth, a trip more familiar to followers of US racing.

Saturday’s quality seven race programme begins at 1-45 p.m. with the first of two valuable handicaps backed by Titanbet.co.uk.

The meeting will also see the conclusion of the season long contests to be top jockey and trainer at York. This season both competitions have a clear favourite. In the Living North-sponsored jockey’s race, the 56th John Smith’s Cup winning rider, Phillip Makin sits three clear of national champion elect Silvestre De Sousa with ten winners already this term at York. Mid season injuries to both defending champion, Ryan Moore and perennial contender North Yorkshire-based, Danny Tudhope has left the way clear for the fine form of Phillip to be rewarded with a first York title.

The leaderboard to be the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York is headed by the current champion on the Knavesmire, locally-based David O’Meara with eleven successes to date. The Nawton yard’s closest rival is William Haggas who moved rapidly to seven winners after a golden Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival added five to his tally.

As well as the sound of fife and drum, racegoers will be able to enjoy the jazz of the Tom Roberts Band on Friday, whilst Saturday offers the foot stompin’ fun of Murphy’s Marbles.

New Beginnings, a worthy cause that supports retired racehorses, will bring Harry, a thoroughbred that raced at York in the nineties, as well as his pal, Meg the pony, for racegoers to meet.

Four large screens will cover both racing on the Knavesmire and the major contests from Newmarket. The totepool – backed Punters Panel will offer tips before racing on each day. The wider sporting world will not be overlooked as televisions will be dedicated to show the Rugby World Cup matches featuring Scotland against Samoa and Wales taking on Australia.

York Racecourse is delighted to announce an increase of £100,000 to prize money for its final meeting of the 2015 season on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October.  All fourteen races over the two days will benefit, as the prize fund is boosted by over 25% from last year, to a record level of £416,000. 

The feature race of the Saturday meeting is the now £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy, an ultra-competitive sprint handicap benefitting from a £25,000 boost to become the nineteenth race of the season to have a six figure purse.  Also benefitting is the Listed Coral Rockingham Stakes for juveniles that will now offer £50,000, a race which uncovered the talents of impressive Coolmore Nunthorpe third placed horse, Mattmu.

Channel 4 cameras  will be at the track on the Friday for the first time, to cover two races; including a new £50,000 feature handicap for three year old staying horses over a mile and three quarters supported by Stan James.  This new race is intended to provide an autumn opportunity for the highly rated stayers who may well have competed in the Betfred Melrose Stakes at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

 All fourteen races have received an increase in prize funds across the two days with no race offering less than £12,000 on the Friday and £15,000 on the Saturday.  

Connections in October are the beneficiaries of the strong performance of the business across racing and non racing events, and from the support of racegoers, sponsors and partners, over the summer months. The track remains true to its mission of investing in prize money, fixed facilities such as the new Northern End Development and in the experience of going racing on the Knavesmire.  These latest increases will take prize money at York in 2015 to a record level of £6.7m which is some 26% ahead of 2012. 

York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, “York is delighted that our continued commercial success has allowed us to keep investing in the prize money, facilities and experience of racing at York.  Our aim across all seventeen days is to stage compelling, competitive race action.  Our investment in prize money has already been rewarded with tremendous contests for our feature races over the summer months and our hope is that these further increases to October will be rewarded by a fitting finale to the season. Our continued thanks to our supporters and sponsors who help us to invest in racing at York.”

There’s fun for all at the annual Press Family Sunday at York Races this weekend (Sunday September 6), including a seven-race thoroughbred card worth over £100,000; featuring the fourth running of the Betfred Garrowby Stakes, a Listed race for sprinters. Plus, the return of children’s favourite, Peppa Pig, to the Knavesmire.

This year the only Sunday of the season sees the inaugural Conditions Series Finals as young riders take part in the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series.

It is a full day out for both the novice and regular racegoer and those under 18 years of age will be admitted free of charge into all enclosures, though the under 16s will need to be accompanied. Continuing from the previous years is the popular offer of a single admission combining both the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure with the Course Enclosure for just £12. This will enable racegoers bringing a traditional picnic into the Course Enclosure to enjoy their lunch and then take advantage of the special ‘picnic hamper cloakroom’ and then cross over the track to see the horses close up in the Parade Ring and sample the facilities on the stands side.

Also, for this special family meeting, the County Stand dress code is relaxed, with smart casual being the advice.

The action on the track begins at 1-00 p.m. with a couple of races, the respective finals in the Conditions category of the 2015 Charles Owen Pony Racing Series, showcasing the talents of the next generation of riders.

Racing under rules starts at 2-00 p.m. with The Judith Marshall Memorial Stakes – a Nursery Handicap for two-year-olds. Sprinters take part in the afternoon’s feature race, The Betfred Garrowby Stakes, this is the fourth running of this Listed race which alone offers prize money of £40,000. It will be run over six furlongs, the same distance as The Hanson Springs Stakes –a handicap contest for three-year-old sprinters. Stayers have their opportunity in The Castles UK Educational & Residential Furniture Stakes (a handicap contest over two miles). The sporting action includes a chance for those in their first season on the track in The Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Maiden Stakes for two-year-olds and for the experienced and so familiar handicappers in The Barkers Garage Stakes, – a race over one mile and a quarter.

The upcoming jockeys are again in the spotlight when they compete in The Coopers Marquees Apprentice Stakes. This race is part of the ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire’ Future Stars Apprentice Series – now in its third year – which culminates in a Final at Doncaster in November. Coming into this race, North Yorkshire-based rider, Josh Doyle (54 points) has a clear lead from Nathan Evans and Daniel Cremin

The Racing Interactive Zone will offer the chance to ride a virtual racehorse, to try on racing silks, question our experts and enter a colouring competition. Meanwhile, Harry the racehorse is a retired star of the track waiting to meet racegoers. There will also be a demonstration of how to saddle him up.

For those of all ages, the funfair is back for this meeting. Bouncy castles are also located around the course, along with a wide array of entertainments for the family. There’s also the ever popular face painting.

‘Tommo’ – well-known broadcaster, Derek Thompson will share his knowledge of the sport. Listen out for his racing guide and be ready to say hello and see yourself on the big screens as he roams the stands.

Three-course Sunday lunches are being served from noon or you might want to enjoy a fresh sandwich on one of the many lawns; whatever your culinary choice, a great afternoon awaits.

A wonderful week of racing at York once again created fond memories for racegoers and racing professionals alike. Over the four days, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2015 attracted some 88,553 racegoers, which is 10% up on last year, with attendance on all four days showing an increase. The biggest attendance since 2011 is attributed to a combination of the exciting action, the allure of the new facilities at York and being blessed with largely dry weather for racing itself.

On the track, the 352 runners is the highest number of participants in recent years. Amongst them, it has been a week of success for the fillies as they landed all three of the Group One contests. David Elsworth rekindled memories as Arabian Queen became his second Juddmonte International winning filly, securing the record prize money, some quarter of a century after In the Groove was equally majestic on the Knavesmire. Another trainer with a great record at York, Jim Bolger, added to his tally as Pleascach gave him another Darley Yorkshire Oaks. The trio was completed by Mecca’s Angel, an emotional win for Yorkshire based rider, Paul Mulrennan, and her proud northern trainer, Michael Dods.

Europe’s richest flat handicap, the Betfred Ebor, was the feature of the final day and the dramatic racing continued with Litigant dashing clear of a high class field to give both Lambourn based, Joseph Tuite and rider Oisin Murphy their first success in this famous race.

The record prize money for the festival of nearly £4 million produced thrilling action with dead-heats, stalls drama and five Group race triumphs for trainer, William Haggas. The yard’s impressive winner of the Tattersalls Acomb was Recorder, in the silks of HM The Queen.

Over the twenty- five races there have been successes for four local yards, as Richard Fahey, Mark Johnston, David O’Meara and Nigel Tinkler added to their fine records on the Knavesmire. In a meeting with international competition, both France and the USA provided placed horses in the best races, with Irish trainers responsible for a winner on each of the first three days.

The Ray Gilpin Trophy for the leading rider at the Festival reflected the competitive nature of the racing with Frankie Dettori securing the prize after three winners.

On Wednesday, the course was honoured that members of the family of the much missed Sir Henry Cecil were able to officially open the set of wrought iron gates as a permanent way of remembering him. They stand at the northern end of the course, near the new statue of his most famous charge, Frankel – probably the most photographed equine star of the Festival.

Annual visitors to this meeting enjoyed their first experience of the redevelopment of the Northern End of the Racecourse. The new arrangements include new pre-parade ring viewing, a new Weighing Room, new Moët Pavilion, Roof Terrace, John Carr Terrace and racegoer access to the Edwardian Weighing Room.

Fashion is always an integral part of the occasion and a record number of racegoers went down the Ebor Fashion Lawn catwalk. The feature prize of a trip to go racing in Dubai – courtesy of Marriott Hotels – was claimed by a visiting couple from Edinburgh.

Reflecting on another memorable week, Lord Grimthorpe, Chairman of York Racecourse, said “There was a great atmosphere at the course all week and I am delighted that the decision to increase the prize money attracted such strong fields that in turn produced thrilling racing. Add in the sense of occasion that the Ebor Fashion Lawn created and the positive reaction to the new development – it all adds up to a great four days. Racegoers have enjoyed the Yorkshire food, live music and a lot of them have posed for a photograph with the wonderful Frankel statue.”

The strongest growth in attendance of the week came on Saturday when the attendance of 30,251 was 19% ahead of last year and the best attended day of the festival since 2007. The four day format, including a Saturday, still comfortably outstrips the attendance of the previous three weekday festival; that drew a crowd of just over 75,000 on its last staging back in 2007.

As part of a wider plan to encourage the next generation of racegoers, those aged under eighteen rather than under sixteen, were allowed admission free of charge, naturally this serves to further depress any historic year on year comparisons.

Commenting on the Festival, William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said “Ebor 2015 will be remembered for the moments of equine drama and the human stories linked to them. The racecourse team of over 2,000 staff and partners have delivered a memorable, successful and above all, enjoyable meeting. I am grateful to them, the horsemen, our sponsors and racegoers for their tremendous support. We are delighted with the performance of and reaction to the northern end development in its first Ebor Festival.”

Always a key part of the European racing calendar, the Festival includes four races that are part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival continues to grow in its world-wide appeal, with the whole Festival being shown live in Australia, huge bonuses on offer from the Japan Racing Association for York winners and the three Group One races (Juddmonte International, Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Nunthorpe) all included in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. Advertised prize money was at a new record of over £3.8 million, boosted to nearly four million by the supplementary entry fees for a number of the pattern races.

As the feature racing Festival of 2015 becomes a fond memory and before it returns on Wednesday 17 August 2016, the sporting crowds can look forward to the next raceday on Sunday 6 September when both the Pony Race Series and Peppa Pig come to the Knavesmire.

AMERICAN trainer Wesley Ward has reported Acapulco and Finnegan to be in fine fettle after they shipped into York ahead of their respective engagements.

Two-year-old filly Acapulco is here to take on the older sprinters in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe on Friday. Finnegan, who was a late withdrawal from the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, is back over in England for a tilt at the richest Group Two for juvenile colts in Britain, this Saturday’s Irish Thoroughbred Marketing GimcracK

The pair arrived on Saturday and are based in the stables across the Knavesmire. They have had a little stretch as part of their settling-in process and Ward couldn’t be happier with them at present.

Ward said: “Everything is phenomenal. You never know which way you go when horses ship. Some ship good and some ship bad. And you can usually tell right off the reel.

“They just shipped in wonderful. They both ate up and never left an oat. The colt Finnegan – it was all they could do to get him off the track. He was bucking, jumping, playing and feeling like a million dollars

“The filly, when she came off the track next, she was whinnying and squealing she was so happy. I could not be happier with the way things are going.”

Acapulco gave a hugely exciting performance when winning the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal Meeting. Her size and stature left an indelible impression on all who saw her score by a length and a half.

The £310,000 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes has long been Acapulco’s next target and Ward reports a first-class preparation for the race.

He said: “I think she is really going to bring her A-game to the table. I don’t think there will be any excuses after the race.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way she has trained into it. She is extremely sound – she wouldn’t have a pimple on her. She has no issues whatsoever.

“She is a big imposing filly – it’s almost like she is four! Physically, she is so sound it’s like she is a four-year-old.

“She is just a big monstrous individual and I am so extremely happy with her. I really didn’t think I’d ever have the right two-year-old to bring over to take on older horses until now.”

Keeping to his own age group is Finnegan, a five-length winner of a maiden special weight at Pimlico on his last start in May.  Ward assessed: “He has breezed right with the filly – both of them in hand in their last few breezes.

“But every work, they work together. They’re certainly at three-quarter speed, so it’s tough to judge which one is better of the two.

“Obviously, you’d have to lean to the filly – what she has accomplished (compared) to him, so far. But it is a shame he didn’t get a chance to run in the Coventry. I think he was going to fire a cracker that day. I’m very excited with him as well.”

 

Ward is due to fly out late tonight and arrive in time to put the final touches to the duo’s preparations ahead of their respective engagements at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from tomorrow, August 19-22, inclusive.

With record prize money of over £3.8 million, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival looks set to attract the very best of thoroughbreds from Britain, Ireland, Europe, Australia and, for the first time, North America to the Knavesmire for York’s flagship meeting over four spectacular days of racing action from Wednesday 19 to Saturday 22 August. The stellar racing action forms the centrepiece of a meeting brimming with top quality Yorkshire fashion, food and hospitality. The meeting also represents the formal completion of the £10m Northern End Development project which, over the last two years, has transformed facilities around the parade ring for horses, horsemen and racegoers.

The richest race ever staged at York will be the Group One Juddmonte International, advertised at £850,000, the showpiece of the opening day, when Gleneagles – the dual English and Irish Guineas winner from the powerful Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien – is due to take on the unbeaten Investec Derby and Eclipse winner, Golden Horn. Locally trained by Kevin Ryan, The Grey Gatsby, instantly identifiable by name and nature, is hoping to become the first Yorkshire horse to win this prestigious contest after a fast finishing second last year. Royal Ascot winner, Time Test, is carrying the hopes of the sponsor and aiming to follow in the mighty hoofprints of Frankel. The triple Group 1 winning Australian contender, Criterion, would be the first winner from the southern hemisphere. The race is currently ranked as the best race in the world by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and this renewal is already being dubbed as “the race of the season.”

On all four days, standside racegoers will be able to visit and participate in the Ebor Fashion Lawn. The eye-catching, flower-clad catwalk, set in the picturesque surroundings in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room, will offer a touch of “modern vintage.” A panel of judges will cast an expert eye over the preparations and attire before them, ready to decide the winner on each day of the “Best Dressed Lady” as well as “Best Dressed Gent, Best Dressed Child and Best Dressed Couple”. The daily winner on Ladies Day (Thursday 20 August) will also be crowned ‘Best Dressed Festival Racegoer’, and will win a short break for two to the Marriott Hotel in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup.

Appropriately for Ladies Day on Thursday, the action on the track will see the best fillies and mares come to York. Both feature races have seen an increase in prize money; with the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks advertised at a record £335,000 and the Pinsent Masons Lowther becoming the richest Group 2 race for juvenile fillies offering over £200,000 (from £150,000 in 2014).

The fastest race of the week looks set to be Friday’s Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe when a field of twenty will hurtle down the five furlong straight seeking to settle the debate about who is the top sprinter in the country, as well as claiming the majority of the record £310,000 prize money. It might be defending champion, Sole Power, or it could go to the fascinating entry of Wesley Ward’s two year old filly, Acapulco, who is bidding to be the first US-based horse to win the race.

From sprinters to stayers, Friday’s £160,000 Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup over the two miles joins the Group One races as the fourth contest to be part of the British Champions Series, which culminates at the richest day of racing in this country, Qipco British Champions Day on Saturday 17 October. Additionally, winning and placed connections of Thursday’s £85,000 Clipper Logistics Stakes over a mile qualify for the valuable Balmoral Handicap on the championship day hosted for the sport at Ascot. The support of Qipco is prevalent on all four days; with the BCS racemakers in attendance to help guide less experienced visitors around the racecourse and share their knowledge.

At the Dante Festival, the recently announced Royal Patron of the course, HRH The Duke of York, opened the new Weighing Room, part of the £10m Northern End Development, that will be seen by Ebor racegoers for the first time. The new pre-parade ring, wash-down area and veterinary facilities were introduced to great acclaim for last year. A new Owners’ entrance, Moët Pavilion with roof terrace, as well a scheme to showcase the Grade II* Listed John Carr Grandstand framed by a modern single-span canopy continues to serve as a popular bar and eatery, now benefitting from faster speed of service as a result of back-of-house improvements.

The much missed Sir Henry Cecil is now remembered with a set of wrought iron gates, which stand appropriately at the Owners and Trainers Entrance. The gates carry the initials of the legendary trainer, HRAC; as well as Yorkshire roses. The gates will be officially opened by members of Sir Henry’s family on Wednesday afternoon. They will pass the newly installed statue of the mighty Frankel, the first such tribute to be displayed at York. The world’s highest rated racehorse won the 2012 Juddmonte International and is forever linked with the late master of Warren Place.

There is horsepower of a different nature on display on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn as the latest Maserati will be on show courtesy of JCT600.

Expect to see a host of world class jockeys competing for top honours at York, the field at York as nationwide is currently led by Silvestre De Sousa. In a fitting tribute to popular racing journalist, Ray Gilpin, who passed away last week, a special prize will be offered by Sky Bet, for the most successful rider over the twenty-five races of the Ebor Festival.

The global nature of the top quality competition is reflected with the three Group Ones all being part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and the Juddmonte International and Darley Yorkshire Oaks attracting huge bonuses for the winner to go to race in Japan.

All races at the Ebor Festival will have speed-tracking equipment attached to runners to allow an instant relay of speed and position information to racegoers on the four giant screens around the course. In addition, the Official Race Times will be displayed as they happen on an Al Basti Equiworld supported digital stopwatch, positioned by the winning post.

Saturday’s race programme sees York’s most famous and fiercely contested race, the Betfred Ebor. The richest flat handicap in Europe, at £275,000, looks set to be another thriller with the favorites looking to land nationwide gambles. The £220,000 Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes is the richest race of its type, so is another landmark juvenile contest. Fascinating entries abound for this race steeped in history and prestige including another US trained contender, Finnegan.

Adding a sparkle on Saturday will be the Silver Stars, the parachute display team of the Royal Logistics Corps, who are due to drop in just after lunch, on what it is hoped will be sunny day.

Broadcast partners Channel 4 Racing, Racing UK, TurfTV and GBI Racing will be covering the action and transmitting the event to over 80 countries around the world. Nick Luck will front the four days of Channel 4 coverage which will include a fascinating “Graham Bell Ski Sunday” style course ride by former top jockey, John Reid.

Away from the track, a brigade of some 80 chefs, backed by a wider raceday team of over two thousand staff, will provide the welcome, services and treats that come with a major sporting event. Seafood will be delivered from the Yorkshire coast every morning including 2,000 crab, joining Dales lamb and 3,000 homemade beefburgers, Hawes cheeses, 6,000 fresh baked fruit scones and locally made dairy ice cream on the various menus.

Whether it is to show off their fashion or send pictures of the ice sculptures and chocolate fountains in the main restaurants, or simply to capture the feel good factor, racegoers will be able to use the free Wi-Fi service installed at the track by local tech firm, York Data Services.

Those seeking musical entertainment will have their choice, as Yorkshire brass bands perform on the weighing room lawn and Murphies Marbles play their own blend of Irish foot stomping, good time tunes. As it has proven popular, up and coming local bands will play on into the evening as racegoers have a chance to enjoy their bottle of Mercier champagne for £32.50.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course concluded, “The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is simply the highlight of our year. With the new development, the record investment in prize money, the stellar entries and all the new initiatives and innovations, this year looks set to be a landmark event of top quality racing action as well as a tremendous social and fashion event. I very much hope racegoers, punters and viewers will enjoy the feast on offer.”

TRAINER Michael Bell is anticipating another good performance from his star performer Big Orange, who is on track to appear in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup at York on Friday 21 August.

The son of Duke Of Marmalade has been a revelation this summer, winning a brace of Group 2s at major festivals.

His first win of 2015 came at odds of 25/1 in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. He produced a gutsy performance to beat subsequent Group 1 winner, Second Step, by half a length.

Big Orange then went to Glorious Goodwood for the Goodwood Cup, stepping up in trip to two miles. Again he showed great tenacity to hold off Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris and John Smith’s Northumberland Plate scorer, Quest For Peace in a memorable finish.

The £160,000 Group 2 at York has been his target since that last success and looks likely to be the final time he is seen on British soil this season as Bell hopes to send his star ‘Down Under’ for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup in November.

Bell said: “Melbourne is very much the plan and the Lonsdale will be his last run before the Melbourne Cup.

“He has had a stellar summer and hopefully it continues on Friday. His win at Newmarket came as a bit of a surprise but we expected him to run very well at Goodwood and he did it well.

“I have been pleased with him since Goodwood and he goes to York in good shape. We are keeping one eye on the ground as he doesn’t want it soft but I think it is settling down so he should get his conditions come Friday.

“It is great that he has come good – he is a lovely horse – a strong galloper with lots of scope and a really great attitude. A pleasure to train.”

The Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup, run over two miles, has been won by some great stayers in the past including Further Flight, Persian Punch and Royal Rebel so rightly forms a leg of the British Champions Series.

The four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22, inclusive.

COUNTY Durham trainer Michael Dods has high-class sprint duo Mecca’s Angel and Easton Angel in good order ahead of the four day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, which begins on Wednesday 19 August.

Easton Angel, second at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary Stakes and then an unlucky-in-running fourth in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, is all set to tackle the richest ever renewal of the Group 2 Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes on Thursday at York.

Stable-mate Mecca’s Angel is reported by Dods to be in fine fettle but will only contest next Friday’s Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe, another contest offering boosted prize money at £310,000, if the ground is ‘good’ or easier.

Dods said: “Easton Angel is in very good form. Her work is good and the plan, as long as we get no setbacks, is that she’ll be running.

“Possibly the Newmarket race came a bit quickly after Ascot. But she seems in better form now than she was before she went to Newmarket. So, I’m very pleased with her at home anyway.”

A tilt at the Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes, now worth nearly £210,000 after the addition of the money from supplementary entrant, Lumiere; could mean a rematch with Illuminate, who won the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes. The race didn’t pan out for Easton Angel, who was denied a clear run at a crucial stage.

Dods assessed it thus: “We were sort of stopped in our run and carried across the track. We didn’t have a lot of luck in running – and the ground was plenty quick enough for Easton Angel.

“We’ve got to hope that, with a clear run, there won’t be a lot between them. Plus, we have a 3lb pull with Illuminate, so hopefully that gives us a chance of beating her.

“But obviously it’s a tough race and there is more than just her in it – there are some other good horses. It will take a bit of winning but we know we go there happy and hope that we run a big race.”

Dods has been pleased to see the recent rain for both her and Mecca’s Angel, the yard’s Coolmore Nunthorpe entry, who was beaten a neck in a Group 2 at The Curragh on July 18, as the speedster prefers juice in the ground.

Dods said of Mecca’s Angel: “The weather is the issue because she definitely needs to get her toe in. We’ll definitely leave her in and hope that the rain keeps a bit of cut in the ground.

“As long as the ground is no faster than ‘good’ – and towards the easier side of ‘good’ – then she would take her chance. But if there was any firm in it, we wouldn’t be taking the chance.

“She is in great form. I’m very pleased with her. Paul Mulrennan rode her in the middle of this week in a gallop. He was very happy with her.

“She is ready to run but the ground is the most important factor with her. If she doesn’t get her ground, then she would struggle.”

Indeed, the size of Dods’ team for the Knavesmire is likely to hinge on how the weather unfolds over the next few days.

He added: “We’ve been happy to see a bit of rain about for everything that we’ve got in at York next week.

“We have Hernandoshideaway for the Melrose (Saturday 22 August). He won at Pontefract last week – he’s in good form. He would need a bit of cut.

“We’ve got a few (Mass Rally, Spinatrix, My Name Is Rio, Desert Ace) in the Symphony Group Sprint and will decide what we run there.

“And in Friday’s mile handicap, we’ve got Get Knotted who won his last race, a decent handicap at Ayr.”

The four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22, inclusive.

Waady also set to represent Sheikh Hamdan in showdown sprint at York

MUTHMIR, currently the 6/1 second favourite for the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, is on target to take his chance in the £310,000 highlight of day three, Friday, August 21, of York’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The William Haggas-trained five-year-old goes into the race on the back of an impressive victory over Take Cover in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

He has also won at Group 2 level in France this season and finished a close-up third in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A Group 1 victory is the main aim for this son of Invincible Spirit and connections have high hopes for him ahead of his scheduled next assignment.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “Muthmir has come out of his win at Goodwood very well and York is the target.

“Fast ground over five furlongs are his ideal conditions and we feel that the Nunthorpe has always been his race. He has strong form and looks to have a good chance.”

Sheikh Hamdan is also set to be represented by exciting three-year-old sprinter Waady. Trained by John Gosden, the son of Approve has won four of his five starts this season and has progressed through handicaps into Group company.

He took the Listed Scurry Stakes at Sandown in June before following up that success with a stylish victory over the same course and distance in the Group 3 Coral Charge.

Hills added: “We are also looking forward to running Waady in the Nunthorpe. He is a progressive young sprinter who has won handicaps before winning a Listed and a Group 3 race. We have always thought plenty of him and he deserves to take his chance at York.

“Four of his five career wins have come at Sandown over five furlongs. We feel that he has lots of speed and that York will suit him.”

The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is seen by many as British racing’s definitive speed test for a top-class thoroughbred. York’s five furlong course regularly sees times sub 59 seconds and the prize has been taken by some of the fastest horses ever to grace British turf.

A quarter of a century ago Sheikh Hamdan’s Dayjur ran out one of the most impressive winners in living memory. The son of Danzing, with jockey Willie Carson, on board, ran out a four-length winner and smashed the course record in the process.

That record of 56.16 seconds still stands today. The likes of Oasis Dream, Kyllachy and Mozart have landed the spoils in recent years and this year’s renewal looks set to have pulses racing yet again.

Acapulco, a sensational winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot will bid to become the first two-year-old filly to win since Lyric Fantasy in 1992, while Sole Power will try and emulate Tag End (1928-30 inclusive) and Sharpo (1980-82) by winning three Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

The four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22, inclusive.

TRAINER Mark Johnston has enjoyed tremendous success with his juveniles so far this season and he is targeting York’s valuable two-year-old events for a number of his star performers.

Among their most anticipated runners of the week is the unbeaten filly, Lumiere, an emphatic winner of her only start to date in a maiden at Newmarket’s July Festival. The daughter of Exceed And Excel is due to be supplemented for the Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes, the richest Group 2 in the land for juvenile fillies, now worth £200,000 and staged appropriately on Ladies Day (Thursday 20 August).

Charlie Johnston, representing his father Mark, said: “The plan is to supplement for the Lowther. She missed a couple of days in the week of the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot, so we missed that and decided to come straight here.

“She has been A1 since and we are pleased with her. It is not the ordinary route for us to jump straight from a maiden win to a Group 2 but we don’t think she is an ordinary filly.

“She was very impressive at Newmarket and we are still dreaming. William (Buick, her jockey) was incredibly complimentary about her that day and feels she is up to this grade.

“I am not sure that she beat a lot at Newmarket but she couldn’t have done it any better and we shall learn a lot more about her at York. A lot of her rivals have form at Stakes level and will have had plenty of racing. We are looking forward to it.”

Last year saw the equivalent race saw Tiggy Wiggy and Cursory Glance, both subsequent Group 1 winners, in a high-class renewal and the boost in prize money means that Lumiere should form part of a another high quality field.

The Johnston team are sitting in second place in the York Trainer’s Championship but have yet to finalise concrete running plans for the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes. Given its own increase in prize money, its position as the richest race of its type for juvenile colts has been cemented so it is no surprise that the Coventry Stakes winner, Buratino, is still in the mix. The Godolphin-owned colt was an impressive winner at Royal Ascot before finishing third in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in Ireland last weekend.

Johnston added: “Dad needs to have a discussion with John Ferguson and the Godolphin team but at the moment it is not out the question that Buratino runs in the Gimcrack.

“It is worth £220,000 and with Shalaa and Air Force Blue likely to head to the Prix Morny, it makes the Gimcrack a very attractive option.

“We felt that the slightly easy ground at the Curragh didn’t suit him and you could tell at half way that he was in trouble. He didn’t travel with the same power as he did at Ascot.

“There is no disgrace in finishing third in a Group 1 and if he turns up at York on fast ground he would take all the beating.

“Whether Buratino runs or not, we shall probably run Ode To An Evening. He ran well when fifth in the Coventry but has had a few niggles since.

“He seems in good shape now and goes there a fresh horse. He is a useful horse who deserves to be in the line-up.”

Johnston is also targeting the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes, yet another contest that will be run at the record level of £85,000, with the Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned Adventurous.

The son of Invincible Spirit was a winner at Newbury in July before running a very creditable race to be fourth in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes.

Johnson said: “Adventurous ran a good race in the Richmond, shaping as though the step up to seven furlongs should really suit. He sets a good standard for a race like this and shouldn’t be far away.”

The Betfred Ebor is a rare omission is Johnston’s impressive CV and this year he is relying on the consistent duo of Notarised and Watersmeet.

Notarised was part of a Knavesmire four timer on the final day of the Dante Festival and has also won the Old Newton Cup this year. His stable-mate Watersmeet has won three times in 2015 and was fourth in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood on his last outing.

Johnston said of the pair: “Both horses always run their races and have good solid form this season.

“Notarised won at the track in the spring and has also won at Haydock, while Watersmeet ran well in a Group 3 last time out.

“Both horses have nothing to hide from the handicapper and it may be that there will be a few in there which are better handicapped but they will run their races and can hopefully run in the first five or six.”

For Middleham-based Johnston, York’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is among the highlights of the racing calendar.

He added: “It is a great week’s racing. We shall try and have as many runners as possible and hopefully bag a few winners along the way.”

The four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22, inclusive.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225
Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

Trainer has fingers crossed for “progressive” Betfred Ebor entry Curbyourenthusiasm

TRAINER David Simcock has a clutch of exciting horses to chase the £3.8 million prize money at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival with – headed by Royal Ascot hero, Balios.

The Al Asayl Bloodstock-owned three-year-old colt delivered a superb performance to win the King Edward VII Stakes. His next start was the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris – but, according to Simcock, it proved “too messy” for the son of Shamardal. So Balios is now all set to contest the Group Two Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes on Wednesday, August 19 – the opening day of the four-day festival.

The chestnut colt will have to carry a 3lb penalty for his victory at the Royal meeting but Simcock believes his charge is still improving.

He said: “Balios is definitely due to run at York. The French race was too messy – it certainly didn’t suit him.

“He got struck into quite badly in France and I don’t think we saw him in his best light by any means.

“But I’d say he has come out of the race probably better than he came out of Ascot. He is going on to carry on improving but it isn’t going to be easy with a 3lb penalty, though.”

Simcock also has his fingers crossed that Curbyourenthusiasm beats the cut for the richest ever running of the Betfred Ebor when £275,000 is on offer for the feature of Saturday 22 August.

The four-year-old, who finished a neck second at York over 12 furlongs on his last start, is rated 95 – which is not necessarily high enough to guarantee a spot in Europe’s richest flat handicap but his 20/1 price with the sponsors is in line with his handler’s assessment.

Simcock said: “We’ll see if Curbyourenthusiasm gets in the Ebor – if he does, he’s ‘live’. He is a horse on the upgrade, who stays well and is probably crying out for a mile and six furlongs now.

“I’m hopeful more than confident that he’ll get in. But he’d be the perfect type of horse – progressive and on a track we know that he acts at. I was disappointed that he didn’t win there last time but at the same time I was delighted with the improvement.”

Simcock looks likely to be represented in the famous race by at least one horse with 104-rated Felix Mendelssohn a probable runner. He was last seen out when finishing fourth in a 12-furlong Listed race at Goodwood in May.

His trainer said: “Felix Mendelssohn is very likely to run. He is a lovely horse, in good order. Is he handicapped to win an Ebor? It’s debateable. He probably hasn’t got the profile of Curbyourenthusiasm.”

Madame Chiang, who won the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York last season, is entered in the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks. She ran respectably to finish fourth in the King George behind Postponed at Ascot last month. But she would be unlikely to line up on the Knavesmire if the ground was on the quick side.

Simcock said: “It’s all about rain. She has come out of her race a fitter and sharper horse. It was never the plan to go to the King George – it was an afterthought when the weather changed. She got very tired in the last furlong.”

It is more about the competition in defining whether The Corsican will take his chance in the £850,000 highlight of the week, the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes, also on Wednesday 19 August.

He was edged out by a neck in a Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood 10 days ago after coming fourth to Free Eagle in the Group One Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Assessing The Corsican’s York entry, David said: “We will see how it pans out, see what’s going there first. We’ll keep our options open – he’s a possible.

“We’ve gone to Royal Ascot and he has run so creditably in the Prince of Wales’s and he should have won last time out. Realistically, we would like to get his head back in front.”

Other potential Simcock-trained runners at the Festival include Barye (Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes, 10f handicap), Oracolo and Halation (both in the Clipper Logistics Stakes, an £85,000 handicap over the mile trip).

The four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22, inclusive.

For Tickets PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225. Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

York Racecourse is honoured that The Duke of York has agreed to become its Patron.

The news follows the visit by HRH on Wednesday 13 May, 2015 when he officially opened the new Weighing Room – the key part of the wider development of the northern end of the racecourse.

A staunch supporter of both the City of York and wider County of Yorkshire, The Duke of York has previously visited the Knavesmire in his capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Yorkshire Regiment when soldiers returning from active service were hosted on the opening day in 2012, for their homecoming ceremony.

A long association with racing in the City also saw HRH present the trophy for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes during Royal Ascot at York back in 2005.

Speaking about the news, Chairman of York, Lord Grimthorpe, said; “The York Race Committee and I are absolutely delighted and honoured that The Duke of York has agreed to become our first ever Patron. He will be a wonderful ambassador for the racecourse and we hope, with his help, York will continue to improve as one of the world’s leading racecourses.”

TRAINER Denis Coakley is looking forward to running his star mare Miss Marjurie in the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, the feature on day two (Thursday 20 August) of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The five-year-old by Marju had useful form last season, winning a competitive handicap at Epsom’s Derby meeting before signing off with a close-up second in Listed company.

However, she has scaled new heights in 2015 with two victories, both in black type contests.

The first came at Goodwood in May when she took the Listed Daisy Warwick Stakes, beating subsequent notable winners Mutatis Mutandis and Jordan Princess.

She then travelled to Haydock for the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes where she came with a strong late run to beat Wonderstruck by a head.

She was last seen at the same venue finishing a creditable third in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and it has been all systems go for most valuable ever renewal of this famous Group 1 on the Knavesmire since that run, hoping to earn her share of £335,000 pot.

Coakley, who trains from his West Ilsley base in Berkshire, said: “Miss Marjurie seems in good form and the plan is to run in the Yorkshire Oaks.

“She has done well this season and although this is another step up, we feel that she deserves her chance.

“She has always shown plenty at home so it wasn’t a surprise to us that she has done so well. She is a very capable mare.

“The track should suit her and good or good to soft ground is ideal so that’s what we are hoping for.

“Runners at a meeting such as this is what we all want and it is great to go there with a mare like her.”

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks has been won by an illustrious list of fillies and mares over the years and the 2015 renewal is shaping up to be another memorable one.

It is often seen as a clash of the generations when the cream of the Classic generation take on the best older fillies in training over the Oaks distance of a mile and a half.

Last year saw the Aidan O’Brien-trained Tapestry overcome the favourite, Taghrooda, under a terrific ride by Ryan Moore.

The four-day Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22.

AUSSIE ace Criterion will underline the increasingly international flavour of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival when he contests the Group One Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday 19 August.

The five-year-old, who has been based at John Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket during his summer travels, is among the top middle-distance performers in his native country. He has won three top table races, including last April’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick where he ran out two-and-a-half lengths to the good of the remarkable Red Cadeaux.

Following that success, trainer David Hayes and owner Sir Owen Glenn made the bold decision to target an international campaign with the first step taking them to Hong Kong for the QEII Cup. He ran with credit on that occasion, finishing third behind Blazing Speed.

Next up came a trip to Royal Ascot for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes where Criterion locked horns with Europe’s best; Free Eagle, The Grey Gatsby and Western Hymn. Again the son of Sebring did nothing wrong and finished a three-and-three-quarter length fifth behind the aforementioned Free Eagle.

Team Criterion are now looking forward to a tilt at the race on the Knavesmire which was ranked as the best in the world by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

Hayes’ son, Ben, has been overseeing Criterion’s training in Newmarket and he said: “It was a big decision to bring him over. He is a colt, so if he can run well in these Group 1s it enhances his stallion value.

“His owner wanted to see him compete against the best in the world. To win would be incredible.”

Reflecting on Criterion’s Ascot performance, Hayes added: “We thought he ran well. He was only beaten just over three lengths and was running on. He was a little keen, so we have exchanged the blinkers for cheek-pieces to try and stop that.

“York should suit him better than Ascot – it is flat like our tracks in Australia, much less undulating that Ascot. The long straight is ideal too.”

Obviously with Criterion being stabled at Gosden’s historic Newmarket yard, Hayes has been close at hand to witness the amazing performances posted by Golden Horn, who too is on target for York’s £850,000 showdown.

He said: “We know how good Golden Horn is and we are realistic. Our main aim is to finish in the first three and we shall ride him to place. Obviously we’re there to win but we are realistic as to his chances.”

Since his run at Ascot, Hayes has revised Criterion’s training programme in a quest to make the horse more suited to the style of racing here.

He explained: “We have changed his training since Ascot. When we first arrived we were keen to train him ‘Aussie style’ – on the flat and over further. After Ascot he had three weeks ‘spelling’ at Longholes Stud where he was in the paddock and on light exercise.

“Since he returned he has been trained in the ‘string’ with John‘s horses. He has been trained in a more European style and has been doing two canters daily up Warren Hill as well as regular ‘gallops’.

“He worked over a mile this morning and ran home the last 600 metres. We were very happy. William (Buick) was pleased with where he is and it is full steam to the race.

“This training has suited him – he looks great and seems in a better place.”

Top Australian rider Chad Schofield was in the saddle at Ascot but connections have secured the services of William Buick, a jockey with big race form at York having partnered Golden Horn over course and distance in the Group Two, Betfred Dante.

Explaining the decision Hayes said: “William is a world-class jockey- he has won numerous Group 1s worldwide. It is important to use a jockey who knows the track rather than one who has never ridden there.”

Criterion is set to return ‘down under’ after York but Hayes is optimistic that more of his fellow countrymen will follow their example and campaign their horses in Europe over the summer.

He said: “He’ll go for the Cox Plate, which he is currently favourite for, with one run before.

“Ortensia won the Nunthorpe for the Aussies a few years ago – if we were to run well then it would encourage more people to make the trip and take in more of your big races.”

The four-day Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival takes place from Wednesday, August 19-22, inclusive.

 
ACTION on the Knavesmire resumes this Friday evening with a six-race card headed by the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes, a Listed race staged over an extended ten furlongs.

A field of seven will contest the £40,000 contest and Newmarket-based trainer, James Eustace, has high hopes for his charge, Tea Blossom.

She may not be the obvious choice for many racegoers come Friday but it would not be a surprise to her experienced trainer if she were to go very close.

Indeed, those who watched her latest run in Newcastle’s Hoppings Stakes could not fail but to be impressed by her strong challenge, despite being checked at a crucial time in the race.

The eventual winner was Covert Love who tasted Classic glory in the Darley Irish Oaks last Saturday.

Eustace reflected: “I genuinely felt that Tea Blossom was unlucky not be much closer at Newcastle. I don’t think she would have beaten the winner but she was last turning into the straight and really picked up well.

“She was then checked in her run and when she eventually got in the clear, she ran on to be fifth. It probably cost her a place. The winner has gone on to win the Irish Oaks so it looks strong form for the grade.”

If Tea Blossom could win or even be placed on Friday it would be a case of mission accomplished for Eustace and her owner Major Wyatt.

The pair picked up the daughter of Rail Link out of the Juddmonte draft at last year’s horses-in-training sale at Tattersalls for 30,000gns.

A winner in France last season, she hails from the family of Trade Fair, Vortex and Danefair.

Eustace added: “We picked her up at the horses-In-training sale with the aim of getting some ‘black type’. She wasn’t expensive but she comes from a good family of Juddmonte’s and if we were to make her a stakes winner or placed it would increase her value as a broodmare. The eventual plan is for Major Wyatt to breed from her.

“She is very straightforward – a real pleasure. The track and ground should suit at York and we hope she can get in the first three.”

Three of the seven fillies; My Spirit, Crystal Zveda and Pamona also hold entries in the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks to be held at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival on Thursday 20 August.

Victory in this Listed event would provide an ideal stepping stone for that Group 1 run over two furlongs further, as demonstrated by the 2014 winner, Tasaday, who returned in August to finish in third place.

Day one of York’s two day meeting gets underway at 6pm. Saturday’s seven-race card is scheduled to get begin at 1.45pm.

TOP NOTCH TONTO POISED FOR YORK RETURN THIS SATURDAY

TOP Notch Tonto, one of the most popular racehorses in training, is all set to make another bid for glory at York this Saturday.

The five-year-old gelding has built up an army of followers, not least on social media, thanks both to his impressive form and dashing looks.

Chestnut in colour, it is his striking white blaze and four white ‘stockings’ that make him stand out from the crowd.

And last month at York he once again proved he has talent as well, when winning in Listed company on Macmillan Charity Raceday at York, in the company of jockey Silvestre De Sousa.

That was over a mile. This Saturday, the plan is to raise him up in grade, trip and hopefully prize money; for an extended mile-and-a-quarter Group 2 – the Sky Bet York Stakes worth £100,000.

His trainer Brian Ellison said: “Top Notch Tonto worked this morning and I am really happy with him.

“I know we’re stepping him up two furlongs but Silvestre seems to think he’ll stay, so we’ll have to see. I personally think he’ll get it.

“It’s down to the weather, really. As long as it’s nice, good ground – it doesn’t have to be soft or anything. The plan is to run, anyway.

“He’ll be declared, put it that way – but we’ll have a look on Friday night as I’ve got runners there.”

Top Notch Tonto certainly showed a liking for York on that last start. He came from the back to surge past his rivals and win going away by a length and a half.

Ellison said: “I just thought he was very impressive. He showed a great turn of foot.”

That victory – his first since October 2013 – saw him gain a huge ovation as he entered the York winner’s enclosure. But win or lose, Top Notch Tonto is guaranteed plenty of attention wherever he goes.

Ellison said: “The reception that he gets at the races is unreal. Somebody does a Facebook (page) for him as well. People just like him, don’t they…

“When we have the (Malton) Open Day, they just come here to see Tonto, really. You bring him out of the box, he stands there and has photographs with the kids. He loves it.

“To be fair to the horse, he is easy to train. He’ll go out first every day and lead the string, just doing what he has to do. He comes back and eats up.”

Top Notch Tonto is one of 13 entries for the £100,000 Sky Bet York Stakes, a Group 2 that has been won by the likes of Sheikhzayedroad (2014), Mukhadram (2013) and Twice Over (2011) in recent renewals.

York’s two-day meeting commences on Friday evening at 6pm. Saturday’s seven-race card is scheduled to get underway at 1.45pm.

 

York’s two-day Music Showcase weekend on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon (July 24 & 25), supported by Sky Bet, combines Pattern race quality action on the track and live performances on the music stage, after racing has finished.

The legend that is Sir Tom Jones will be on stage on Friday evening, while the chart-topping Scouting For Girls become the first band to return to entertain racegoers at the conclusion of racing on Saturday.

The only evening fixture of the season at York gets underway at 6.00 pm on Friday with gates opening at 4pm.

The highlight of a valuable evening card is the seventh running of a Listed race for fillies and mares, the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Stakes offering a total prize fund of £40,000 and one of nineteen contests on the Knavesmire this year supported by The European Breeders’ Fund. Last year’s race was won by Tasaday in the blue of Godolphin.

Also featured on Friday evening is The Sky Bet Stakes (a handicap contest over five furlongs) – part of Sky Bet’s commitment to The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, as this meeting is part of the initiative that links the nine courses in the county over nine days of fantastic sport.
Apprentice jockeys are in the spotlight in the opening race, The Think as One Stakes. Sprinters take part in The Clifton Park York’s Specialist Orthopaedic Hospital Stakes (a handicap contest over six furlongs), which acknowledges the skills of the team based on the edge of the city. Two-year-olds are catered for in The Batleys Cash & Carry Maiden Stakes whilst a competitive handicap takes the name of buildings support firm, Novus.

Saturday’s quality seven-race programme means the prize money for the two days will approach £320,000. The action starts at 1-45 p.m. with the entire card sponsored by Sky Bet – one of the leading horseracing, gaming and sports betting companies in the U.K.

The principal race on Saturday is the tenth running of The Sky Bet York Stakes, a £100,000 Group 2 contest, run over the extended one mile and a quarter, won last year by Sheikhzayedroad, who has since become an international star for trainer David Simcock, winning a Group One at Woodbine in Canada. According to recent history Saturday’s victor could reappear in the best race in the world and the richest race of York’s season, the £850,000 Juddmonte International on Wednesday 19 August.

Also featured on Saturday’s strong card is the fastest race of the two days, The Sky Bet Dash. This £50,000 sprint is over six furlongs. Last year’s winner was Muthmir who developed further to finish a fine third in Group One company at the Royal Meeting 2015 Cup for Newmarket handler, William Haggas.

Both days of this meeting are part of the 2015 Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, a partnership between all nine courses to showcase all that is best regarding racing in the county. There’s a special online competition each day with the overall winner receiving a VIP afternoon out back at York, on the concluding day of next month’s highlight, The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival – Saturday, August – including a £200 bet courtesy of Sky Bet.

Former racehorses now in the care of ‘New Beginnings’, a Yorkshire-based charity, are in attendance on Saturday, enabling racegoers to see them at close hand. Also, on Saturday, an interactive ‘Racing Roadshow’ will entertain and inform racegoers in finding out more about the equine and human stars of the sport. There’s even a mechanical horse to have a go on!

Several giant screens will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action from both the track and the stage on both days, as well as following the action from the other big Saturday race meeting at Ascot.

Away from the main stage there will be music from both Dr Jazz and Murphies Marbles. The popular totepool ‘Punter’s Panel’ takes place prior to racing helping racegoers to identify possible winners.

York Racecourse advises people to get their tickets for Sir Tom Jones
“Get your tickets for Sir Tom Jones quickly” is the message from York Racecourse as it looks forward to the visit of the Welsh singing legend on Friday evening 24 July.
Sir Tom is proving so popular that the capacity on Stands Side (County Stand and Grandstand and Paddock) is close to being reached, so people are being advised to act quickly.
The Course Enclosure (called the Picnic Enclosure by some) in the middle of the racecourse will only open to sales on the raceday, so there will still be the opportunity to be part of the evening of racing and music, even if the stand side limit is reached in the coming days. Course Enclosure visitors will not be able to upgrade to the Stands Side enclosures on the day.
Scouting For Girls will perform after racing on Saturday 25 July and whilst this is also a popular event, there is availability for all areas, County Stand, Grandstand and Paddock and Course Enclosure for Saturday 25 July; as applicable, both in advance and in all likelihood, on the gates.
Speaking a fortnight ahead of the Music Showcase Meeting, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship, James Brennan said, “Sir Tom is proving to be our fastest selling music act ever, so we want to get the message out to people to book now before the tickets on stand side are all gone. Please do not rely on buying them on the gates on the evening if you want to be on stands side.”
Explaining about Course Enclosure he continued, “It is a deliberate decision to only make Course Enclosure available on the day, so whatever happened in the next two weeks, we will start 24 July with availability in the middle of the course.”
People wanting to advance book their tickets are encouraged to visit the website www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

COURSE WINNER ON BETFRED EBOR TRAIL

PROVEN course performer, Lycidas, has been declared for what looks a very competitive renewal of the John Smith’s Silver Cup – a Listed handicap for stayers – at York tomorrow.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained six-year-old is dropping down in trip, having won a handicap over two miles at the Dante Festival.

Lycidas went on to contest the Ascot Stakes over two and a half miles at the Royal Meeting and the marathon distance proved a bridge too far.

But he was far from disgraced and Fellowes is optimistic that this three-time winner has more to offer.

He said: “Lycidas won a competitive handicap at York’s Dante Meeting – that was over two miles and we are dropping down in trip.

“I am not 100 per cent sure whether it’s the right move but Stevie Donohoe, who won on him that day and knows him better than anyone, thinks he will be better for the step back. Hopefully he’s right because the horse is in great form.

“I was not disappointed with his Ascot run – he ran very well for some way before obviously running out of gas.

“He is entered in the Ebor and this was the ideal race for him as a trial for that. He is at the right end of the handicap and is getting plenty of weight off those up the top– I am sure this horse is still improving and I think he goes there with a good chance.

“Unfortunately Stevie Donohoe can’t ride him on Saturday but I was delighted to secure Paul Mulrennan – he has a better strike rate for me than any other jockey so fingers crossed it continues.”

Lycidas’s rivals in the 16-strong field include Listed winner Ayrad (Roger Varian) and the progressive Astronereus (Amanda Perrett), who was last seen finishing third in the Duke Of Edinburgh handicap at Royal Ascot.

The race, along with the card’s other Listed contest – the City Walls Stakes – add extra lustre to what is already sure to be a superb day’s action with the highlight being the 56th John Smith’s Cup, worth £150,000.

The first of seven races gets underway at 1.45 with the John Smith’s Racing Stakes, a handicap over a mile which sees the seasonal return of the highly-regarded Basateen. Sheikh Hamdan’s colt was third when last seen on a racecourse behind subsequent Jersey Stakes winner Dutch Connection in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at the 2014 Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Newmarket handler could be represented at York by Ajman Bridge and Mount Logan

TRAINER Luca Cumani will seek to add to his impressive list of successes at York this Saturday when he will target the 56th running of the John Smith’s Cup, with either Ajman Bridge or Mount Logan – or possibly both.

The Italian has struck gold in many of York’s top races, including the Betfred Ebor, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the Juddmonte International Stakes.

But Cumani has yet to land the famous extended mile and a quarter handicap – a matter he plans to address this weekend.

Ajman Bridge, a son of Dubawi, was last seen finishing second to Saturday’s likely rival, Arab Dawn, in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot. He had previously finished third to subsequent Old Newton Cup winner Notarised, in a handicap at the Dante Festival and on form he looks to have a strong chance of giving the Newmarket-based trainer a first win in the race.

Stable-mate, Mount Logan, also has strong claims to land the bulk of the £150,000 pot, following a solid fourth in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was beaten just a length and a repeat of that effort would see him in with a decent chance.

Cumani said: “We have yet to finalise plans and at this stage both could run or we may just run one.

“Both horses ran excellent races at Royal Ascot and seem in very good form at home.

“It may be that they both are better over a mile and a half but ten furlongs in such a competitive race where there is a good pace should be fine for them. They have good form and would both go there with a chance.

“It would be a great race to win – many moons ago I won the race but was disqualified. It would be very nice to win it.”

The £150,0000 John Smith’s Cup now has 44 in it after the confirmation stage with market leaders Lightning Spear and Arab Dawn standing their ground.

Ever since it was first run in 1960, the John Smith’s Cup has had a story to tell and 2014 saw Andrea Atzeni claim success for the second year running.

Who will prevail in the 56th renewal and land both a bumper prize and a unique Wedgwood trophy? The last winning favourite was the Walter Swinburn-trained Fairmile, successful in 2006 under Adam Kirby at odds of 6/1.

The support of the Tadcaster brewer makes this the longest running sponsorship on the Flat anywhere in the world and the event is one of Yorkshire’s finest. In addition to the day’s feature there are also six other races on the card including two Listed contests in the John Smith’s Silver Cup and the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.

The latter looks set for a full field after attracting 24 entries, including last year’s winner Take Cover and the evergreen Kingsgate Native, winner of the 2007 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

The two-date meeting gets underway on Friday with the first of a seven-race card off at 1.45pm.

For Tickets and more information PLEASE CALL 01904 620911 x225
Or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk



Building on 45 years of popularity with racing fans and with over £6 million already raised for good causes, Macmillan Charity Day at York Racecourse this Saturday (June 13) promises to be an afternoon of quality racing that again helps those in most need. 

Saturday’s principal race is The 888sport Charity Sprint, one of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds, which offers prize money of £100,000. The roll of honour in this race over six furlongs includes top sprinters such as Cadeaux Genereux and Sheikh Albadou.  

For only the fourth time, the day will end with The Macmillan Charity Race, a chance for twelve supporters to “ride the dream” as they participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each has pledged at least £2,500 to the charity and you can help them beat last year’s contribution of over £90,000 by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving. Emily Easterby, (daughter of Malton trainer, Tim) is the youngest, aged 19, whilst Jonathan Gill, (the owner of York and Royal Ascot winner, Fayr Jag), is more than four decades her senior, at 61.  

Once again, the charity auction so generously supported over the years is now available to view online in advance of the raceday.  This means everyone can place a bid for the many stunning lots. A once in a lifetime trip to Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle Racing Stables, a cottage stay for a week in Ireland or a Marbella Golf break are all amongst the travel items, with an array of fine dining experiences and various prestigious racing opportunities.  Signed Chelsea and Liverpool shirts, fly fishing in the Yorkshire Dales and a Porsche experience at Silverstone feature from the sporting world with two VIP tickets to the X-Factor final as one of the more unusual opportunities. Visit the yorkracecourse.co.uk news section for more information on how to make your bid.

 Since 2012, a Listed race has featured on the Saturday racing programme supported once again by Yorkshire-based racehorse owners, Ian and Kate Hall. The Ganton Stakes over one mile offers increased prize money of £40,000 and provides another reason to attend the day, just by attending, racegoers will increase the money raised for charity.  

Racing on Saturday begins at 2p.m. with the 27th running of The Queen Mother’s Cup, the richest race for lady amateur riders in Britain and a contest won by The Princess Royal in 1988. It offers an opportunity for the successful rider to toast her success in her own weight of G.H. Mumm champagne.

 JCB return to support a valuable handicap over nine furlongs. The high standard continues on this Charity Day with The Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes – a contest for two-year-olds named in honour of the founder of this Charity Day in 1971. The Ice Co° back a competitive handicap for the third year that denotes their support of Macmillan, a link that was cemented when company director, Polly Marr, rode in in the Macmillan Charity Race of 2013. The traditional seventh race of the card is once again, The Charles Henry Memorial Stakes. 

Macmillan Charity Day is part of a two-day meeting with racing on the Friday beginning with the support of Ripleycollection.com and the European Breeders’ Fund for a maiden two-year-olds affair over the minimum trip of five furlongs.

 Amongst the nineteen contests at York to benefit from the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund is the feature of the afternoon, a fillies sprint handicap over six furlongs, that continues the policy of having at least one contest worth £25,000 on every afternoon card on Knavesmire. 

DRS television will see their own name in lights on the television network they support at the track as they back a handicap contest over the extended ten furlongs. The SKF Rous Selling Stakes is supported for the eleventh year by engineering company, SKF (UK) Ltd. Then DBS (Doncaster Bloodstock Sales) will bring the excitement of the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure with an auction straight after the race. The Geoff Pemberton Memorial Stakes, a handicap contest over seven furlongs is held to remember a local racehorse owner. The Garbutt & Elliott Stakes – a handicap race for stayers over one mile and three-quarters shows the link to the course’s audit partners. On a card full of variety, the concluding race is a handicap contest for apprentice jockeys. 

The totepool-supported ‘Punters’ Panel’ takes place prior to racing on both days from the winner’s podium as a preview to the action on each day, while giant screens will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track. 

The two day meeting offers a further chance for racegoers to explore the latest phase of the Northern End Development at the course.  The new, relocated Weighing Room opened at the Dante Festival last month and has received a warm welcome from the riders. This two storey building is also home to the fabulous Parade Ring Restaurant on the first floor.   

Also seeing a two day meeting for the first time will be the new Owners’ entrance, Moët Pavilion with roof terrace, as well a scheme to showcase the Grade II* Listed John Carr Grandstand.  The latter is now framed by a modern single-span canopy and continues to serve as a popular bar, now benefitting from faster speed of service as a result of back-of-house improvements.  At a practical level, all three new blocks of toilets will be available as well a new grill and pizza kitchen. Further aspects of the development will become available for racegoers’ use as the course heads towards the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August.