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York Ebor Festival Tips

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The Ebor Festival

Held over four days in August each year, the Ebor Festival is a racing festival that takes place at York Racecourse. It's one of the most popular flat racing festivals run in the UK, mainly because it is the final major racing meeting of the annual flat racing season. 

The festival was established in 1843 and has been run at York every year since, aside from 2008 when the entire course became too waterlogged for racing to safely take place.

Juddmonte International Day

The first day of the festival is known as Juddmonte International Day and has three feature races – the Juddmonte International, the Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Acomb Stakes. 

Of those three the Juddmonte is perhaps the most prestigious, having been established as recently as 1972 and now possessing a prize purse of £1 million.

Ladies' Day

As with most racing festivals one day is known as 'ladies day' where women can don their finery and attend the course. There are two major races on the second day of the festival – the Lowther Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks. The Oaks has been run since 1849, and is a flat race over one mile and three furlongs for three-year-olds and up.

Nunthorpe Day

Day three of the festival takes its name from the feature race of the day, the Nunthorpe Stakes. This short race (five furlongs) is for horses two-years-old and up, and has a prize purse of around £350,000. 

It is named after an area of York and was first run in 1903. The other major races on day three are the Gimcrack Stakes and the Strensall Stakes.

Ebor Day & Ebor Handicap

The festival will close on the Saturday with 'Ebor Day' – 'Ebor' is a shortened form of Eboracum, which is the Roman name for York. There are two main events to close festivities – the Ebor Handicap which is a race over one mile five furlongs and 188 yards for three-year-olds and up, and the Lonsdale Cup which is also for three-year-olds and up but more of a stayers' race, being run over two miles and 56 yards.

York Racecourse

Located in the south-west of the city, York Racecourse has been holding horse racing meetings since the 1730s although there is some evidence that racing has been taking place in the area since Roman times. The flat racing course is oval with one bend extending into a straight. The usual going is typically dependent on the preceding weather.

Famous Ebor Festival Winners

Despite being run since 1843, only one horse has ever won the Ebor Handicap twice – Flint Jack in 1922 and 1923. Legendary Gordon Richards-trained Sea Pigeon won the race in 1979 on the way to winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1980 and 1981. 

In recent times, the impressive Cracksman won the Great Voltigeur Stakes in 2017 before taking the Prix Niel and the Champion Stakes in the new year.

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