The UK’s biggest horse racing event you might never have heard of – Hometown Station | KHTS FM 98.1 & AM 1220 — Santa Clarita Radio
If you are a fan of horse racing in the United States, you know the best races such as Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes and Breeders’ Cup. Chances are you also know the most popular races here in California, such as the Santa Anita Handicap and the Pacific Classic Stakes. You may even be aware of major horse racing events in the UK such as the Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot. But have you heard of the Ebor Festival?
Over 175 years of history
This four-day event has been held in York, England since 1843 and attracts over 350,000 horse racing enthusiasts each year. This puts it on a par with other major UK horse racing events, although it does not receive the same level of global attention. This is one of the key events for flat racing fans as it comes towards the end of the season at the end of August and offers a chance to see some of the country’s best performers in action. With so many spring and summer forms to study, York’s betting markets are among the busiest of the season with millions wagered over the four days.
Outstanding Cash Prize on Offer
The Ebor Festival offers the second largest prize fund of any flat racing meeting in the UK, with only Royal Ascot paying more than the £2.3million allocated for 2021. The richest race in the festival is the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes which is held on Day One and has a pot of £1 million ($1.4 million). Next is Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks who pay £400,000 ($560,000). Aidan O’Brien’s St. Mark’s is favorite to win this year’s showpiece race.
Good hunting ground for racing legends
Even if you haven’t heard of the race, you’ve surely heard of one of its most famous winners. Frankel, trained by Henry Cecil, triumphed in the Juddmonte International Stakes in 2012. The champion went undefeated over his 14-race career and is considered one of the greatest racehorses of all time. His triumph at York was the penultimate before a Champions Stakes victory at Ascot two months later ended his glorious career.
— York Racecourse (@yorkracecourse) May 16, 2018
Sea the Stars, formed by John Oxx, have also been ranked among the greatest of all time. The champion Irish Thoroughbred won the 2000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse Stakes, Juddmonte International Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe all in the same season (2009). His triumphant victory over Mastercraftsman at York broke the track record by 0.8 seconds.
“It’s horses like that that inspire you to do that.”
John Oxx & Sea The Stars – two legends
Irish champion stakes
Arc de Triomphe Prize
A horse of a lifetime
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) October 13, 2020
The American Thoroughbred Dahlia was the first racehorse to win over $1 million and is one of only three horses to win the Juddmonte International Stakes twice (in 1974 and 1975), although the race had a different sponsor at the time. Legendary English jockey Lester Piggott was on board for both wins.
As you can see, the York Ebor Festival can boast some serious prestige. It’s no wonder the event has such a reputation among seasoned European racing fans as one of the must-attend events of the year.
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