York Racecourse sits in the south-west of the city of York in North Yorkshire, only around one-and-a-half miles from the city centre, and in fact, can be just about seen from the famous city walls.
Otherwise known as the Knavesmire due to the ancient patch of land the racecourse is built on, York is the north of England’s premier racecourse and in fact, many still regard it as the best track in the whole country.
Its momentousness was acknowledged in no uncertain terms back in 2005 when it was chosen to host Royal Ascot while the Berkshire course was undergoing a major refurbishment, the meeting passing as a complete success and the course heralded.
York’s prowess is underlined by the fact that it hands out the third-highest prize money amounts in Britain after only Ascot and Newmarket, the latter known as ‘headquarters’, with some of the nation’s top races being held there over the spring and summer.
The best attended fixture at York is August’s Ebor Festival which, despite it playing host to Group 1 races, is named after Saturday’s iconic Ebor Handicap which is one of the biggest and richest handicap races in the world.
Ticket Prices at York Racecourse
You can attend some terrific meetings at York for as little as £7 in the Clocktower Enclosure, but for a better view tickets cost around £18 in the Grandstand and Paddock or £37 in the County Stand for the Dante fixture in May, while these rise to £33 and £68 respectively for the Ebor Meeting. Plenty of hospitality and restaurant packages are offered here too with facilities being regarded as top-class.
York Track Details
Racing at York dates right back to Roman times with the city having officially supported this sport since at least 1530. Flat racing only is staged here and there is no all-weather track, meaning just the one racing surface to look after which is partly what has kept York being regarded as the best turf racing surface in the UK.
The track here is left-handed and U-shaped with races up to two miles in distance supported without the need to pass the winning post more than once. Seven-furlong events begin in the chute with one wee nudge of a left turn needed to get into the home straight.
York is very flat and regarded as fair by jockeys meaning on good or faster ground some riders think that those tending to front-run don’t always come back to the pack, whereas when it rains despite its flat nature the Knavesmire can become quite a test with stamina coming to the fore.
When the going is soft, runners tend to ease off the rail and come down the middle of the track with the run-in being fully five furlongs in length.
The length of the straight it was can catch people out. Despite its reputation as a galloping track, less experienced jockeys often get their mounts going in earnest a little too early here allowing those finishing late and fast to snatch victory, something to bear in mind when selecting a horse.
York’s Biggest Races and Meetings
York hosts 9 separate race meetings throughout the year, all of the important with the major ones being the Dante Festival in May, the John Smith’s Meeting in July and the Ebor Festival in August.
During this time York hosts three of Britain’s 36 Group One races, but even its Group 2 and Group 3 events are hugely important as they include among others the Musidora and Dante Stakes, key trials for the Oaks and the Derby respectively, and the Great Voltigeur which is the most reliable trial for St Leger at Doncaster.
For their own disparate reasons, York’s biggest individual races are:
- Musidora Stakes – Group 3, 3yo fillies, 1m2f, May
- Dante Stakes – Group 2, 3yo colts, 1m2f, May
- Yorkshire Cup – Group 2, 1m6f, May
- John Smith’s Cup – Handicap, 1m2f, July
- International Stakes – Group 1, 1m2f, August
- Great Voltigeur Stakes – Group 2, 3yo’s, 1m4f, August
- Yorkshire Oaks – Group 1, fillies & mares, 1m4, August
- Lonsdale Cup – Group 2, 2m, August
- Nunthorpe Stakes – Group 1, 5f, August
- Ebor Handicap – Heritage Handicap, 1m6f, August
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Racing at York really is something special and if you are unable to be there to see it all for yourself, the best way to get involved in the action is to place an informed bet.
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