Exciting Meetings, Big Priced Winners and Warm Hospitality: Yorkshire is the Undisputed Home of British Horse Racing

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Exciting Meetings, Big Priced Winners and Warm Hospitality: Yorkshire is the Undisputed Home of British Horse Racing

We may be heading towards the end of the British flat season but there are plenty of big meetings and races still to be decided before the focus shifts to the National Hunt calendar.

There’s always a great deal of excitement around Yorkshire at this stage of the year as the people and tracks prepare to help stage a grandstand finish before hauling down the curtain. The sport of kings is steeped in history and tradition with Yorkshire playing a huge part in the game’s development over the years. 2018 has been no different.

With no less than nine major tracks located in that part of the country – Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk, Wetherby and, of course, York, visitors flock from all over the UK and abroad to sample a taste of the famous hospitality and a grand day of racing.

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The centrepiece in a jewel-encrusted Yorkshire crown is York Racecourse’s Ebor Festival. A four-day racing spectacular held in August, it’s headlined by the Ebor Handicap and Lonsdale Cup on Saturday, the final day of action.

We’ve witnessed some famous winners of the Ebor festival since its inauguration way back in 1843. One mile, five furlongs is mapped out in front of the contenders for each renewal and, with a whopping £500,000 in prize money up for grabs at last count, it’s little surprise to see the best of brightest come out to shine, including famous jockeys, top trainers and form runners.

£311,250 of the overall pot is awarded to the winner and Muntahaa bagged the spoils for connections in 2018 for the partnership of Jim Crowley and John Gosden. Punters who had the victor backed also boosted their bank balance with his SP an eye-catching 11/1. Those who were shrewd enough to support Muntahaa early – 3 ¼ lengths ahead of runner-up Weekender – secured a bigger price still.

In winning the Ebor Handicap, Gosden’s five-year-old battler joined an exclusive club including Sea Pigeon who did the business in 1979, Protection Racket 1981, Jupiter Island 1983, Further Flight 1990 and All The Good 2008.

World famous horseman Lester Piggott remains the Ebor’s most successful rider with the Berkshire legend claiming five crowns between 1958 and 1983. He’s out in front and it’ll be some time before we see his record matched, or indeed passed.

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“Who’s who of racing”

The Group 2 Lonsdale Cup rates as a fine support act for the main event and is another that has given racegoers fond memories in the past. Further Flight bagged back-to-back appearances in the winner’s enclosure in 1992 and 1993 and the Irish-bred grey out of Barry Hills’ yard is tied on two with the likes of Celeric and Persian Punch.

Across the county and there’s just as much fun to be had at Doncaster Racecourse, especially during the autumn and winter months. York undoubtedly does its best work when the sun shines but as temperatures begin to take a dip there’s plenty to warm you at the Town Moor course, including the Racing Post Trophy in October.

A Group 1 contest decided over a mile on the flat of South Yorkshire, it’s open to two-year-olds and offers over £200,000 in prizes. Past winners read like a who’s who of racing at this level, the likes of Commander Collins (1998), St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and Camelot (2011) included.


2017 champion Saxon Warrior scored as a 13/8 favourite but it’s no mean feat predicting the outcome of the race with no shortage of upsets along the way. Thankfully, punters can get their hands on a number of free bets and special offers on the biggest horse races from the UK and Ireland and bestbettingsites.uk presents the pick of them. The deals you’ll find include a £100 bonus when you open a new online betting account or matched stake free bet.

That makes taking a shot at an outsider a bit easier and that tactic would have paid off in 2015 when Marcel trounced a talented field to score at a jaw-dropping 33/1. Foundation, for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden, was priced like losing wasn’t an option with odd-makers offering no better than 10/11, but it meant nothing to Andrea Atzeni’s ride. As the old saying goes, horses don’t know their price.

Peter Chapple-Hyam’s star ran the perfect race to hold nearest rival Johannes Vermeer off by 1 ½ lengths. His Jockey, Marcel, rode patiently before making a move two furlongs from home. With another gear to go through, he passed beaten runners before hitting the front one furlong from the post and once ahead he was uncatchable. The champion came home to rapturous applause.


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