York Racecourse 2017

The 2017 York Ebor Festival: A Preview

The four-day York Ebor Festival starts on Wednesday of this week and runs through until Saturday. It is one of Britain’s leading summer festivals and features three top-class Group One contests and culminates with the ultra-competitive Ebor Handicap over 1m 6f on the fourth and final day.

Here is guide to what you can expect to see this week on the Knavesmire:

 

Wednesday

The opening day of the Ebor Festival is named Juddmonte International Day after the showpiece event, the Juddmonte International. The Juddmonte is a Group One over 1m2f for horses aged three years and older and is renowned for bringing together the Classic generation with their elders.

It has become routine for dominant Guineas’ and Derby victors to tackle the older crop in the Juddmonte.  The race is regarded as one of the very best middle-distance contests of the summer, adding further importance to the first day of the meeting.

This year’s Juddmonte International is being billed as a “clash of the titans” by many and the race should really live up to its star billing from what we have seen from the main protagonists already this season.

Barney Roy and Churchill share favouritism after featuring among 14 confirmations for Wednesday’s renewal.

Aidan O'Brien's 2000 Guineas hero Churchill will be having his first run over ten furlongs as he bids to put a lacklustre performance behind Barney Roy in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot behind him.

The pair top the betting but are closely followed by the Sir Michael Stoute’s Ulysses who got home by just a nose from Barney Roy in the Eclipse, and has since finished second behind Enable in the King George at Ascot.

The Great Voltigeur Stakes also plays a major role in the horse racing action on the Ebor meeting’s opening day. As a Group Two race over 1m 4f for three-year-old colts and geldings, the Great Voltigeur is a mid-summer alternative to the Epsom Derby.

Leading fancy Capri is not a certain runner on Wednesday, Aidan O'Brien told reporters on Sunday.

The John Gosden trained Cracksman who was third in the Derby at Epsom and second in the Irish equivalent shortened in price when news of Capri’s possible absence filtered through.

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Thursday

Day two marks Ladies’ Day at York racecourse as the Yorkshire Oaks and Lowther Stakes dominate the afternoon’s racing.

Enable faces just eight rivals in the Yorkshire Oaks and she is the heavy odds-on favourite to take it.

The English and Irish Oaks heroine beat the boys in style in last month's King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and will be aiming to clinch her fourth Group One success of the season en-route to a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at the beginning of October.

Newbury winner Madeline has been installed as the marginal 3-1 favourite for the Lowther Stakes in front of 7-2 shot Happy Like A Fool.

The Roger Varian-trained filly is one of 15 entries for the Group Two at the forfeit stage, with Goodwood winner Threading being supplemented along with Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary Stakes runner-up Happy Like A Fool at a cost of £15,000 each.

Aidan O’Brien has four entries and Actress, who was third in the Phoenix Stakes, comes in as his most fancied runner.

 

Friday

The third afternoon of the Ebor meeting is centred around the sprinters, and the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes for horses aged two and older. The contest is a blistering five-furlong sprint that is regarded as one of the strongest races in the division.

The fastest race of the week, the Coolmore Nunthorpe, is the target for Lady Aurelia and she is set to clash with Battaash, the impressive winner of the King George Stakes at the Goodwood Festival.

Clive Cox’s Profitable and Priceless are both aiming to cause an upset against the two ante-post principles in the betting.

Bought by Godolphin in the off-season, Profitable has been super game this term, finishing second in France, at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.

Sir Mark Prescott's flying filly Marsha will be hoping to prove that this race is certainly not just a matchup between Lady Aurelia and Battaash.

Marsha looked like taking the sprinting world by storm when winning the Palace House under a penalty back in May and since then she has run well in defeat.

She will be 1lb better off with Battaash at York following her fast-finishing third behind him at Goodwood and should not be ruled out.

Saturday

The last day of the Ebor meeting sees the week’s showpiece event, and Europe’s richest handicap, the Ebor Handicap headlines a hugely competitive card. Raced over 1m 6f, the race brings together a number of Britain and Ireland’s best staying handicappers as they do battle for a share of the £285,000 prize-purse.

York Racecourse chairman Lord Grimthorpe said: “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.”