Ebor Festival

The Ebor Festival, billed in recent years as the “Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival”, is a four-day meeting staged annually, in August, at York Racecourse in North Yorkshire in North East England. The meeting take its name from that of the feature race, the Ebor, run on the Saturday, which, in turn is an abbreviation of Eboracum, the Roman name for York.

Aside from the Ebor itself, the Ebor Festival includes a Group 1 feature race on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Juddmonte International Stakes, run over 1 mile 2 furlongs and 56 yards and open to horses aged three years and upwards, was inaugurated, as the Benson and Hedges Cup, in 1972, but has been sponsored by Juddmonte Farms since 1989, and is now usually referred to as the Juddmonte International. With prize money in excess of £1 million, it is the most valuable race of the season run on the Knavesmire.

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks is run over 1 mile 3 furlongs and 88 yards and, nowadays, open to fillies and mares aged three years and upwards although, between its inauguration in 1849 and 1991, it was restricted to three-year-old fillies only. The race has been sponsored by Darley Stud since 2006 and now forms the final leg of the British Champions Series Fillies & Mares Category, prior to Britsh Champions Day at Ascot in October.

The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, run over 5 furlongs and open to horses aged two years and upwards, is one of the few races in which juveniles can compete against older rivals. That said, since 1922, just four juveniles have been successful, the most recent being Kingsgate Native in 2007. The race was inaugurated, in its current guise, in 1922, and has been sponsored by Coolmore Stud since 2007.

The Saturday centrepiece, the Ebor, is a so-called Heritage Handicap – or, in other words, one of a series of traditional, top-class handicaps, worth at least £50,000 each, run throughout the season – run over 1 mile 5 furlongs and 188 yards and open to horses aged three years and upwards. The race was inaugurated, as the Great Ebor Handicap, in 1843. Following a five-year sponsorship deal with Sky Bet, the Ebor is already worth £500,000 in prize money, making it the most valuable handicap run during the British Flat season and its prize money is set to double, to £1 million, in 2019.