York Racecourse has confirmed the race programme and prize money on offer for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival (Wednesday 19 to Saturday 21 August 2021) at £4.7m, more than double that which was on offer in 2020. It means a return to 88% of the pre-Covid levels - a high bar as 2019 was a record year. The minimum prize for any race will be £70,000 – the highest amount for any flat festival this summer. For the first time, 14 of the 28 races will be run for a six figure or more purse.
Following Monday’s confirmation by the Prime Minister that racegoers can once again return in unrestricted numbers to York’s flagship fixture, the York Race Committee committed a further £250,000 to prize funds. Allocated over 14 races, spread across the four days, £70,000 is the new base level. This follows the announcement in May that all York’s Group 1 races would return to their record levels of 2019 for this year’s showpiece. An analysis of all the Black Type race values combined places them within 8% of the record levels of 2019. This includes the £1m Juddmonte International, the Longines World’s Best Race, and the £400,000 Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe.
This year will be the first occasion that racegoers will enjoy a record 28 race programme with seven races on each day. The addition of the £70,000 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing backed 5 furlong sprint handicap for fillies and mares on the Wednesday, 7 furlong European Breeders’ Fund nursery on the Thursday and 10 furlong Assured Data Services EBF Fillies’ handicap on the Friday, should add extra value and excitement for both connections and spectators.
The Sky Bet Ebor remains Europe’s richest flat handicap, worth more than double any other flat handicap in Britain and will be run at its 2018 level of £500,000. The Sky Bet Melrose for three year olds retains its record prize money level of 2019, being £125,000 as they contest the same trip on Saturday.
Other highlights include the Group 2 Sky Bet City of York Stakes which will be run at a Group 1 value of £200,000. The two flagship Group 2 juvenile races, the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes and Sky Bet Lowther, will both be run for more than double minimum values at £150,000, as will be the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup and Sky Bet Great Voltigeur. The Clipper Logistics Mile, with its highest ever prize fund of £100,000, has been upgraded to an early closing heritage handicap with an entry date of 13 July. At £70,000 apiece, the EBF Convivial, skybet.com Nursery and the Sky Bet Apprentice Stakes remain the richest maiden, nursery and apprentice races respectively in Britain.
Viewed as whole, there are 21 races at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival that will be staged at or above their 2019 value, with the three new contests included. This has been made possible through both the confirmation that racegoers, hospitality guests and sponsors can now have confidence to return to the Ebor Festival without Government restrictions, and the news that sees the midweek Group 1 days are listed as World Pool events. This latest development means that pool players around the world will bet into a single global pool at York for the first time.
Commenting on the race programme, Bridget Guerin, Chairman of York Racecourse said, “York has a strong record of investing in prize money to attract the best horses and jockeys to the Knavesmire. In May, we announced the return of our flagship Group 1s to their record levels of 2019. Today, we are delighted to announce that every race will be worth at least £70,000 at this year’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Working with our partners and supporters, and given the opportunity for racegoers to return at full capacity in August, we are proud to deliver a valuable and varied race programme. Our hope is that we are all rewarded with some fantastic racing action over the four magical days that form the centrepiece of our season. I hope everyone who loves and supports the sport can come, watch and enjoy it!”
Please click here for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival race programme.