Yorkshire Ebor Festival: 5 events to look forward to

Features | 12th August 2020

Four fantastic days of racing at York Racecourse's biggest Festival. Classic champions and multiple Group One winners descend onto the beautiful track locally known as "the Knavesmire"

The Yorkshire Ebor Festival has four spectacular racedays on show with three Group One races and four British Champions Series races.

York’s premier meeting is steeped in history; many of the big races go back 100 plus years. Some of the biggest names to win at the track during that time include equine legends Frankel, Sea The Stars, Mill Reef and Sea Pigeon.

This year, there’s a plethora of top notch equine talent heading to York. You can catch the best of the action at the Yorkshire Ebor Festival live on ITV throughout the week.

The Juddmonte International Stakes

Time: 3:15pm, Wednesday 19th August. Distance: 1 mile, 2 furlongs and 56 yards

The Juddmonte International has been a race renowned for drama ever since its inception. The inaugural meeting was won by that year’s Derby winner Roberto who defeated the great Brigadier Gerard. It was Brigadier Gerard’s only defeat in 18 races.

Modern greats Sea The Stars and Frankel avoided Brigadier Gerard’s fate and extended their unbeaten runs in the race in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Frankie Dettori followed in his father Gianfranco’s footsteps by winning the Juddmonte International in 1996; 20 years after his father’s victory. Frankie went on to win the race a further four times and become the most successful jockey in the race’s history.

This year, the outstanding contender for the feature race of the week is Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath. He’s unbeaten in 2020 with victory in the Coronation Cup and was most recently seen beating superstar filly Enable with a gigantic performance in the Coral-Eclipse.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks

Time: 3:15pm, Thursday 20th August. Distance: 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 188 yards.

This is one of the oldest races at the Yorkshire Ebor Festival with over 150 years of history. Big winners in recent years include Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stars Dar Re Mi and The Fugue.

Wondermare Enable is herself a two-time winner of the race. This year, however, her connections have opted to head for the September Stakes at Kempton.

Aidan O’Brien’s Classic winning filly Love, if lining up, will undoubtedly be sent off favourite. She’s been a hugely impressive winner of both the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks. Love scorched the Epsom turf and won by a massive nine lengths last time out!

The Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup

Time: 2:15pm, Friday 21st August. Distance: 2 miles and 56 yards.

The lengthy contest has gone up in stature recently, elevating from a Listed contest in 1997 to become a Group Two and British Champions Series race.

The jockey with the most victories is once again Frankie Dettori with five – Sergeant Cecil in 2006, a double with Opinion Poll in 2010 and 2011, and the last two years with the supreme stayer, Stradivarius.

Through Stradivarius’s absence this year’s contest appears to be much more hotly contested; with Yorkshire-based trainer Mark Johnston’s Nayef Road looking the likely favourite. The four-year-old has filled the runner up slot on his last two runs behind the aforementioned Stradivarius.

The Coolmore Nunthorpe

Time: 3:15pm, Friday 21st August. Distance: 5 furlongs.

Blink and you’ll miss it! This is where some of the fastest racehorses in the world come to do battle over five short furlongs at a blistering pace from the very start.

Battaash thundered to victory in last year’s race. The horse that jockey Jim Crowley describes as a ‘Batmobile’ reached top speeds of 46mph and broke a 29 year long course record by 0.26 seconds.

Battaash lines up for this year’s race in spectacular form having broken his own track record at Goodwood in his fourth King George Qatar Stakes victory. 

The Charlie Hills flyer seems to be getting better with age. Earlier in the year he conquered his personal demons by winning the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal Ascot at a comfortable winning margin of over two lengths.

Battash at ascot and goodwood. Yorkshire Ebor Festival favourite
Battaash winning the King’s Stand Stakes (left) and winning a fourth King George at Goodwood (right)

The Ebor Handicap

Time: 3:35pm, Saturday 22nd August. Distance: 1 mile 5 furlongs and 188 yards.

The Ebor Handicap is quite a sight. A big field of 24 horses careering down the Knavesmire in an effort to take victory in one of Britain’s premier handicaps.

It’s a highly competitive race and traditionally a devilishly difficult one for punters to pick apart; recent champions include 2015 winner Ligitant, a 33/1 shot who had not raced for 491 days, and Mudawin a 100/1 outsider trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam in 2006.

First EThe Ebor Handicap at the Yorkshire Ebor Festival

You can watch all five races and all the best action from York next week on ITV.