With the likes of the Guineas Festival, the Derby Festival, Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood done and dusted, this fantastic summer of flat racing is quickly drawing to its conclusion.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as we still have the upcoming Yorkshire Ebor Festival to look forward to before turning our attentions to the St. Leger Stakes in Doncaster and flat racing’s seasonal conclusion on Champions Day at Ascot.
So, with the Ebor Festival pencilled in to take place between 18-21 August, and a full crowd set to ascend on the historic York Racecourse over the course of the four days, let’s take a look at the meeting’s biggest races!
Juddmonte International Stakes
Headlining the first day of the festival on August 18th is the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes. The one mile, two furlong and 88-yard race is the final leg of the middle-distance British Champions Series before the showpiece at Ascot’s Champions Day in October. The race was only introduced in 1972, but already has a rice history. This favourite to win this year’s £1m-race in the York races betting is Aidan O’Brien’s St Mark’s Basilica, who has already landed some huge victories in France and at Sandown this year.
Ladies’ Day’s card on day two is topped by the Yorkshire Oaks. The Group 1 race, contested over a mile and four furlongs, is the last race in the British Series Fillies & Mares ahead of the final at British Champions Day. Formed way back in 1849 as a race for three-year-olds, the top-group outing started allowing fillies and mares to enter 30 years ago, and is now littered with entries from the Oaks, which is contested at Epsom Downs during the Derby Festival. With three victories already this year, including in the aforementioned Oaks, Snowfall, another from O’Brien’s esteemed yard, is the favourite to win this year’s race.
Day three’s feature race, the Nunthorpe Stakes, is one of the most exciting races of the festival. Named after an area of York, the five-furlong race is one of the only sprints to pair two-year-olds with their older, more experienced counterparts. The Wesley Ward-trained Golden Pal, who recently won the Grade 3 Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga in the United States, is the favourite to win this year’s race — in what will be just his second race in Britain after finishing second in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last year.
The final day features the festival’s showpiece race, the Ebor Handicap. The richest race of its type in Europe, the heritage handicap is raced over a distance of one mile and six furlongs. Inaugurated in 1843, the historic race’s prize purse reached £1m in 2019, and after dropping down to £250,000 last year due to the pandemic, it’s set to climb back to half a million for this year’s renewal. Live Your Dream, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, has been in fine fettle this season, winning three of his four races, and he’s expected to carry on that form at York.