Four days of fantastic racing and fashion on the Knavesmire
The Knavesmire’s glittering showpiece fixture, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, kicks off on Wednesday and it looks set to be one of the most star-studded events of the calendar, both of the equine and human variety. York’s oldest, richest and most popular annual event is a class-filled affair, featuring a QIPCO British Champion Series race on every day of the four-day festival, along with exceptional prizes for the best dressed racegoers.
The meeting could hardly get off to a better start, with York’s richest ever contest (and one of the most anticipated of the whole season) taking place on the opening day. The Juddmonte International features Frankel, the highest-rated horse on the planet, who will be stepping up in trip from his usual mile to a mile and a quarter in an attempt to extend his unbeaten record to 13 consecutive victories.
Frankel will face eight rivals, including his stablemates, pacemaker, Bullet Train and Twice Over, who is bidding to defy the odds stacked against him and win this race two years on the trot. Whilst Frankel is currently best priced at 1/6 to win the contest, nine runners in the race will ensure that punters will be paid out for three places. Twice Over and Farhh, who is bidding to make his pilot, Frankie Dettori the winning-most jockey of the race, both probably representing some each-way value at 18/1 and 12/1 respectively. Frankel’s owner, trainer and jockey combination, Prince Khalid Abdullah, Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally, are also bidding to keep the winning streak in the family at the Knavesmire, with Frankel’s full brother Noble Mission contesting the Great Voltigeur, the race directly before the Juddmonte International.
Thursday is Ladies’ Day at the Festival and not only features the final QIPCO British Champions Series Mares & Fillies race before Champions Day, but also offers female racegoers the chance to win a trip for two to Dubai! Fashion on the Field, in association with renowned designer Jeff Banks and miliner Yvette Jelfs, will be selecting one best dressed racegoer for each day of the Ebor Festival, who will then be invited back for racing on the Saturday for the chance to scoop a luxury holiday to the Carribean! For more information about Fashion on the Field and to discover how you could be in with a chance of winning, CLICK HERE.
The ladies of the equine variety will be taking a starring role in the British Champions Series feature race of the day, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, include The Fugue, who is looking to follow up her win two weeks ago in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood for the red-hot trainer and jockey combination of John Gosden and William Buick. The current leading trainer, Aidan O’Brien, runs Was, who is attempting to become the first filly since Alexandrova (who was incidentally also trained by O’Brien) in 2006 to win both the Epsom Investec Oaks and its Yorkshire counterpart.
There is no let-up in the quality of the meeting as attention swtches to Friday’s card with leg five of the British Champion Sprint Stakes Series, the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. This year the race features 2010’s 100/1-shot winner Sole Power, and five of last year’s Nunthorpe runners, including the runner-up Hamish McGonagall, who is trained just up the road from the Knavesmire at Tim Easterby’s Habton Grange yard. July Cup hero Mayson will be bidding to give his trainer Richard Fahey his first winner of the race, while the trusty old steed and apple of Robin Bastiman’s eye, Bordelescott, is attempting a hat-trick of Nunthorpe wins at the grand old age of 10!
Saturday’s racing features the meeting’s namesake, the Betfred Ebor, one of the most hotly-contested handicaps of the season, particularly this year with the current favourite, Sir Mark Prescott’s Motivado, looking unlikely to get in unless 13 horses drop out. The race has a habit of throwing up long-priced winners, with the 2006 triumph of Mudawin at 100/1 boosting the average price of the winner in the last 10 runnings of the race to 27/1. The Ebor was first run in 1843 and has been a successful hunting ground for jumps horses like Sea Pigeon in 1979, who went on to win the Champion Hurdle in the next two years under Jonjo O’Neill. More recently, Sesenta and Dirar have captured the prize in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and the best of the jumpers this time around looks to be dual Royal Ascot scorer Simenon.
To be able to enjoy all this thrilling action first hand, and see Frankel race in the flesh in Yorkshire for the last time before he goes to stud, visit York’s website to buy tickets, and don’t forget to dress up to be in with a chance of winning a selection of great prizes for Fashion on the Field.
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