Ebor Horse Racing Festival

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What You Need to Know

  1. The Ebor Festival is one of the best, oldest and most exciting races of the flat season
  2. Held in York, it is the most popular race in the North of England, attracting high quality fields each year. This year the Ebor Festival will start on the 19th of August and run until Saturday 22nd August, inclusive
  3. The festival dates back to the mid-19th century, when the first Ebor Handicap race was held in 1843
  4. The racecourse attracts around 350,000 people from all over the UK and abroad during the season. It's also hugely popular with sports betting fans, with online and high street bookmakers taking large volumes of bets, especially on the big races
  5. Ladies' Day is held on the Thursday and the Ebor Handicap on the Saturday. Other important races include the opening day highlight, the Juddmonte International, the Betfred Ebor and the Lonsdale Cup
  6. Tickets are usually on sale until the start of the races on each day. Early bird and group discounts are available, so be sure to book early to get the best price and to snap up tickets for seats with the best views of the action
  7. The Ebor Fashion Lawn features a "Best Festival Dressed Racegoer" competition, whose winner will be sent to the Marriott Hotel in Dubai.

About the Ebor Festival

Taking place in August each year, the Ebor Festival is one of the oldest and most important races of the flat season. The highlight of its opening day, the Group One Juddmonte International, has regularly been ranked among the top ten of the middle distance contests in the world. This year, the Ebor Festival is held from Wednesday 19th August to Saturday 22nd August.

The Ebor Festival combines the serious sporting event with off-the-course entertainment. Each day a "Best Dressed Racegoer" is chosen from among the crowd, with a special prize, a short trip to Dubai, being up for grabs on Ladies' Day. Even if they're not going for the big prize, expect to see all the female racegoers make a real effort, adding the glam of the whole meet. 


This year, 24 different races are held over the course of the four days. Races usually run from 1:55pm to 5:35pm, though if you're going to York in person, you may want to get there a bit earlier to soak up the atmosphere and, if you fancy a flutter, to check out the turf and even look at the runners in the paddock for yourself. 

Four major races traditionally take place over the four days, with these big events consistently featuring some of the best horses and the finest trainers and jockeys in world racing. Racing highlights of the Ebor Festival include:

  • The Group 1 Juddmonte International: Held on the opening day of the festival, the race is regularly ranked among the top ten middle distance contests in the world. Last season, it was won by Australia, who was saddled by champion trainer Aidan O'Brien.
  • The Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks: Is considered as one of the most competitive races over 1 mile.
  • The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes: This exciting race, determining the leading sprinter of the season, is one of the fastest and most exciting races
  • The Betfred Ebor Handicap: The most popular race at the York Racecourse, the Betfred Ebor is the richest flat handicap in Europe and has been gaining in popularity ever since the 1840s. As you might expect, this big race attracts a flurry of bets, both from experienced sports gamblers and also novice punters.

There are, of course, a variety of other races taking place during the festival. These include the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes, the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes, the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup and the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes. If you fancy a flutter, you might find the most-competitive odds on some of the lesser-known races, so keep an open mind and don't just focus on the big races. 

Ebor History and Trivia

Again, the Ebor Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious racing meets in the whole world. It boasts a proud and colourful history and many notable records have been set over the years at the York course. Here are just a few notable facts about Ebor:

  • Built on the Knavesmire, the course was erected in 1731 and, as implied in the name, included the levelling and draining of the mire.
  • In the early 18th century, criminals were publicly executed close to what is today the Ebor Handicap start, before people returned to spending a day at the races as if this morbid combination was nothing unusual.
  • Clerk John Orton founded the Ebor Handicap in 1843 and helped to re-establish the former popularity of the racecourse, which had declined because of competition from Doncaster Racecourse in the previous years.
  • Named after the shortened Roman expression for York (Eboracum), the Betfred Ebor Handicap first took place in 1943. At the time, it was called the Great Ebor Handicap.
  • Although flat racing has always dominated, jump races were held at York between 1867 and 1885.
  • Many supporters disapprove of the notion that York was "the Ascot of the North". Quite contrarily, they hold that Ascot is "the York of the South".
  • During the Second World War, the racecourse was transformed into a prisoner-of-war camp.
  • Due to construction works on a new stand at its own racecourse, Royal Ascot was held at York in 2005 and was a tremendous success.

Betting on the Ebor Festival

With lots of races to choose from, lots of them featuring some of Europe's best thoroughbreds, the Ebor Festival is perfect for placing a bet. Not only will having a flutter make the racing even more interesting but, if you know your stuff and bet smartly, you may be able to make a tidy profit out of the action.

If you're going to the races in person, you will find plenty of trackside betting booths, with bookies offering up-to-the-minute odds that can fluctuate markedly in the run up to the start of races.

Alternatively, if you want the best range of odds and betting markets, consider signing up for an online sports betting account. Many online betting firms offer attractive incentives to get you to sign up, including bonus money to play with. Check out this guide to the best sports betting sites and find the right deal for you.

Further Reading



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