York Racecourse is all set to stage the Sky Bet Ebor Festival 2022, one of the best race meetings in the world, brimming with top-class racing action, fashion, hospitality and a fabulous live sporting event atmosphere.

With a few days to go until the flagship meeting gets underway, we set the scene at the Racecourse which was voted UK ‘Racecourse of the Year’ from both the Racegoers Club for three consecutive years, and Racehorse Owners Association.

An occasion that is set to host to the world’s highest rated horse, Baaeed, trained by Yorkshireman-in-exile William Haggas, on Wednesday and offer northern racegoers a chance to say farewell to the mighty stayer, Stradivarius, on the Friday. Whilst the former will be on debut on the Knavesmire, the latter is unbeaten at York, so stands six from six and  so chasing a modern era record of wins on the Knavesmire.

Valuable race programme designed to attract the best in the world

York Racecourse is delighted that the race programme and prize money on offer for the Sky Bet Ebor Festival (Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 August 2022) is at a record £6m, being £1.3m more than was on offer last year, as well as being an increase of some £650,000 on the  pre-pandemic level.  The flagship Group 1 contests will see a £1m Juddmonte International with record rewards in both the £500,000 Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe. 

The theme of record prize money continues to many other races, notably for the £400,000 Group 2 Sky Bet City of York Stakes which is the richest racecourse-funded Group 2 in the country as it offers Group One level prize money.

All nine of the Pattern races at Group 2, Group 3 and Listed level will be run for record prize money levels.

The Sky Bet Ebor continues to be the richest flat handicap in Britain at £500,000 with seven further Heritage Handicaps having a six-figure purse; including an eye-catching new opportunity for the sprinters in the £100,000 Sky Bet Constantine Handicap on Saturday.

The Sky Bet Melrose for three-year-olds offers record prize money, being £150,000, as they contest the Ebor trip on Saturday, with the winner assuring their berth in the Sky Bet Ebor of 2023.

The minimum prize for any race will be £80,000.  Consequently, this means the richest nursery and maiden in Britain form part of the programme.  In total, 24 of the 28 races will be run for at least a six-figure purse including all seven on the opening day.

This ambitious commitment by the York Race Committee is designed to help attract the best horses and jockeys to York, support Britain’s position as a leading racing jurisdiction and support the vital international investment in the sport at an elite level.

Expect to see a host of world-class jockeys competing for top honours at the Sky Bet Ebor Festival.  In a fitting tribute to the popular racing journalist who passed away in 2015, the ‘Ray Gilpin red armband’ will be worn by the leading rider during the week, with a special prize offered by Sky Bet to the most successful jockey over the four days.

In association with long-standing sponsor, Goffs UK, and Theault Horse Boxes, the winning owner from the £250,000 Goffs UK Harry Beeby Premier Yearling Stakes will win a ‘voucher for a free horse’ to the value of £40,795 (which was the median price of horses sold at last year’s sale) to be redeemed against a yearling for the following week’s Goffs Premier Yearling Sale at Doncaster.  Plus, the winning trainer will win a free six-month lease of a two-stall horsebox from the leading horsebox manufacturer, Theault.  The amended race title is a tribute to the former Chairman of Goffs UK and one of the leading figures of the bloodstock industry, who sadly passed away in October 2021.

The global nature of the top-quality competition is reflected with the three Group Ones all being part of both the QIPCO British Champions Series and the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series – the latter of which are ‘Win and You’re In’ races for the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland Racetrack in Kentucky on 4 and 5 November.  The Juddmonte International and Darley Yorkshire Oaks also attract huge bonuses from the JRA for the winner to go to race in Japan.  Given the strong partnership between York Racecourse and Victoria Racing Club, and the record of horses making the trip from the Knavesmire to Flemington, a special late entry exemption has been agreed whereby the first three home in the Ebor, Great Voltigeur and Lonsdale have the option to late nominate for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, by Wednesday 24 August (normal entries closed 2 August).  The Sky Bet Strensall is one of three races in Europe to be nominated as an automatic invitation race to the Bahrain International Trophy on 18 November.  All these global alliances and partnerships serve to further cement the Ebor Festival’s growing global profile and reach, as well as underlining the international nature of elite horseracing.  

The first three days of the Ebor Festival will be World Pool Events in a continuation of the  ground-breaking partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club.  World Pool ensures there are larger and deeper pools, smoother pricing and will drive an increase in value for customers, both on course at York - as well as racing fans from around the world – who bet into a single pool.  World Pool has performed strongly at other UK Flat Festivals this season, as international customers become more familiar with the horses and context of European contests and via racecourses and stakeholders working closely on optimising the race programmes to ensure 7+ runners where possible (ensuring all bet types are available) and new marketing and TV production initiatives.

The increased liquidity from a global customer base helped create greater value for Tote customers. At racecourses the pool Win price has beaten the Starting Price half of the time on World Pool days in 2022 to date and matched it the remainder of the time with Tote Guarantee in place. For those betting online at or via the Tote App this increases to 74% of the time with the Tote+ 10% boost to winning bets available to all customers. Place terms on 16 to 20 runner handicaps are slightly different overseas but investments by York and britbet will ensure no on-course Tote customer is disadvantaged, by ensuring any ticket for a fourth placed each-way horse in a handicap,  receives the appropriate dividend. 

Not only does World Pool help further internationalise the sport and shine the global spotlight on participating racecourses, but it also generates critical betting revenue and increased media rights for the sport. World Pool is a key part of the future sustainable funding of the sport.

New this year will be the “World Pool Moment of the Day”, an initiative that sees an expert panel select a highlight on each of the three weekdays. The member of racing staff from the yard who looks after the horse awarded “World Pool Moment of the Day” will win £1,000 and a bottle of champagne. The winner will also be in with a chance of winning “World Pool Moment of the Year” which will be determined by a combination of scores derived from a public vote and an industry panel, and announced on QIPCO British Champions Day. The overall “World Pool Moment of the Year” winner will receive £34,000 for yard (making an overall prize of £50,000 for the 16 World Pool Moments of the Day and the winning World Pool Moment of the Year).

For those who seek to inform their bets with the latest weather conditions, then York offers near real time data from the weather station located at the one-furlong mark. A quick link from the going report page of the website will provide all the  information on rainfall, wind and more besides.

Away from the track a race meeting to cherish, celebrate and enjoy

The Ebor Community Sweepstake is a £46,000 innovative initiative which seeks to celebrate and reward some of the many Yorkshire charities and community groups who serve our White Rose communities and neighbours.  Earlier in the summer, working with our partners at Sky Bet, we invited applications from local charities and community groups who made their case for how they would use a £20,000 donation. Out of the many entries, we will shortlist 22 who will all be invited to a VIP Day out at York on Saturday 20 August. They will each be assigned a runner in the Sky Bet Ebor and the good cause attached to the winning horse will receive that £20,000 award. New for 2022, the second placed horse will benefit their good cause to the tune of £5,000, with £2,000 to the third and each of the other contenders still benefiting from a £1,000 donation.

On all four days, stand-side racegoers will be able to watch and participate in the York Gin Ebor Fashion Lawn.  No need to pre-register or book, any racegoer on standside is invited to pop along between 12.30pm - 2.30pm, walk the catwalk, and have the opportunity to win some fabulous prizes whilst having a great time with their party.  The eye-catching, flower-clad catwalk is set in the picturesque surroundings in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room.  A panel of judges will cast an expert eye over the preparations and attire before them and will be ready to decide winners on each day.  Throughout the week, the most stylish in a number of categories will win a range of prizes, courtesy of the headline sponsor, as well as fashion partner, The 8th Sign. With the further support of Sky Bet offering a day out to the English Football League and The Potions Cauldron some treats, for the younger generation.  On Friday we hope to celebrate with “Strad Style”, as racegoers help mark the farewell visit of Stradivarius to York.  A rising star of the millinery world, Georgina Durdy, will be on hand to help assess the style and match hats to outfits, with her regular co-host Ben Fry of YorkMix Radio.

The first four races on each of the four days will be broadcast live on the ITV main channel, headed by Ed Chamberlin, as part of the outside broadcast team assembled from the BAFTA winning broadcaster.  The team that includes Mark Hayes and Charlotte Hawkins will bring pictures of all the action and every aspect of the Ebor Festival to the armchairs of the nation and around the world.  .

Racing TV are covering all 28 races of the Ebor Festival live, fronted by ‘Racing Broadcasters of the Year’ Nick Luck and Lydia Hislop, including ‘Mark Your Card’ live from the track at 10.30am each day. 

The Sky Bet Ebor Festival will have a significant international broadcast presence with coverage across the globe including the Sky network in Australia, TVG and the Green Channel in Japan, SuperSport in Africa, the Middle East, Equidia in France and Virgin Media in Ireland.

All runners will continue to carry speed sensing equipment from Coursetrack who are working in partnership with the Racecourse Media Group to continue the assimilation of sectional timings and race data information.  The intention is that the results, once they are processed and validated, will be shared on, as well as on social media

Behind the scenes excitement builds

This is only the second Ebor Festival when the new en-suite facilities to all the rooms at Stableside - situated just behind the back straight of the Knavesmire - the main accommodation building for racing staff, have been in use.  During the many months of enforced closure in 2020, rather than sitting at home on furlough, the York Racecourse Facilities Team and other departments rewired, tiled, plumbed, painted and created this space – a crew that included the York Racecourse Chairman, Bridget Guerin, and Chief Executive, William Derby.  As always at York, Racing Staff are provided with three complimentary, home cooked meals a day and every race will have a prize for the grooms responsible for the best turned out horse, with many offering a prize to the groom of the winner.

For those wanting to learn a little more about the workings of the sport, Robert Earnshaw the Gold Cup winning rider and recently retired Clerk of the Scales, will host a free tour of the Weighing Room at 11.45am each day, as well as guide  a minibus of racegoers on trips to the starts.

Away from the track, a brigade of some 80 chefs, backed by a wider raceday team of over two thousand staff, will provide the welcome, services and treats that come with a major sporting event.  Seafood will be delivered from the Yorkshire coast every morning including 2,000 crabs, joining Dales lamb and 3,000 home-made beefburgers, Hawes cheeses, 6,000 fresh baked fruit scones and locally made dairy ice cream, on the various menus. New for this year is the York Gin Ebor Fizz, a summer cocktail created especially for the occasion. Ebor Festival racegoers will also discover the refurbished Champagne Pavilion, Roberto Village Bar and 1731 Pie Shop, all of which are new in the 2022 season.

In terms of betting on course, there will be over 130 bookmakers taking bets, three William Hill shops and over 180 tote outlets.

Partner, Moët et Chandon, support the meeting with Mercier champagne priced at £43, Moët et Chandon Brut Imperial NV at £62 and selected bars stocking York’s house champagne, Barron de Beaupre, at £38.50.

An additional place to enjoy food and drink has returned this year, very much in keeping with the ongoing desire to enjoy the fresh air, will be the County Stand Garden.  This is intended as a relaxing lawned area in the centre of the course, complete with its own seating, bars, Tote and big screen as well as sales units for both York Gin and The Little Yorkshire Coffee Company.  

York is proud of its flowers and floral displays, growing many of its  plants from seed or seedling, in the last cycle of awards it won a RHS Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award.  Head Gardner Zac Rafferty recently completed an RHS Masters course and has been invited to be a judge for the RHS.

Very much a popular regular, the Ebor Festival this year will see the ‘selfie flower wall’ joined by the free 360-degree selfie camera operating from by the parade ring for racegoers to show off their fashion and capture the moment on social media.  To make it easier to share these images or to send pictures of the ice sculptures and chefs in full flow in the main restaurants, or simply to capture the feel-good factor, racegoers will be able to use the free Wi-Fi service installed at the track by local tech firm, York Data Services.

Over the week, those seeking musical entertainment will have much choice as Yorkshire-based jazz bands, Irish foot stompin’ bands and a traditional brass band perform on the Edwardian Weighing Room Lawn and to the south of the Knavesmire Stand.  The Monotones will play to racegoers after the last race into the early evening on each of the four racedays from a stage just south of the Winner’s Enclosure.  On each of  Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1.20pm, parachute display team, the RAF Falcons, are set to drop in to add to the celebrations.

There will be a record number of nine giant screens relaying the action in HD quality, including screens overlooking the both the Frankel, Veuve Clicquot and Roberto Lawns.  There will be a dedicated stop-watch big screen capturing race times and seeing if any of our track records can be lowered.

The scheduled national rail strike on Thursday 18th and Saturday 20th August means racegoers will need to seek alternative travel options for those days. At no cost, it will be possible for vehicles to be left overnight in the car parks (at Owner's risk), provided they are collected before 11am the next day. The coach connections to York are strong and will connect with shuttle bus services at the rail station. York benefits from a good supply of hotel rooms for those looking to extend their visit to the city and travel home the next day.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, concluded “The Sky Bet Ebor Festival is simply the highlight of our year, with the prospect of some spectacular racing action. We are all set for our flagship and cannot wait to welcome everybody to the Knavesmire.  I very much hope racegoers, connections, bettors and viewers will enjoy the feast on offer.”

Please click here to view our Order of Running.