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Ebor Festival gets under way
10:55am Wednesday 22nd August 2012 in Sport
LET the brilliance shine. York Racecourse will today throw open its gates to the world showcasing one of the best Flat festivals in horse racing.
The equine elite from across the globe will be out in force.
Prize money this year has been increased by around £200,000, to take the total available up near £3 million, guaranteeing top racing throughout the four days.
Day one of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival begins today with the headline act – Frankel – rated the world’s top racehorse and making his first ever appearance on the Knavesmire track.
But as York Racecourse head of marketing James Brennan explains, there is a lot more to this jamboree of horse racing than just one outstanding beast.
“We’re all very excited for the arrival of Frankel today in the Juddmonte International.
“He is the world’s best racehorse – he is the Usain Bolt of the horse world. Unbeaten in 12 races going for lucky 13, his first time racing further than a mile, it’s going to be fantastic.”
Added Brennan: “Tomorrow is all about the ladies, however, on and off the race track. The Jaguar Lowther Stakes for two year-old fillies features a burgeoning star in the shape of Newfangled, ante-post favourite for the 1000 Guineas next season. The Yorkshire Oaks has more established stars with the likes of The Fugue, who won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last time.
“We will be running a competition for the best dressed person all the way through the week.
“Of course, on ladies day we will see some exceptionally dressed ladies. Some of the prizes we’ve got on offer include a trip to Dubai and a fortnight in the Caribbean. It’s not about finding the best looking person, it’s about finding the best dressed.”
Brennan said a huge field was expected for the five-furlong Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday.
“We are currently in the situation where we might have to ballot some of the runners out to get down to the maximum number of 20 runners because of so many entries,” he said.
“In an age where we are all obsessed with speed, 20 horses hurtling down the straight in less than a minute is going to be a brilliant spectacle.
“It’s also a chance for Yorkshire to gain success in a Group One, with Kevin Ryan being triple handed and Richard Fahey saddling July Cup winner Mayson.”
The historic Ebor Handicap is the feature race on the final day of the Festival.
Last year. North Yorkshire-based trainer, Brian Ellison, took glory in the one mile and six furlongs contest with outsider Moyenne Corniche providing a 25-1 shock.
Enthused Brennan: “Saturday is Ebor day. It’s our most famous race having been run since 1843.
“On Saturday to celebrate the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, the RAF will be dropping in and the Paralympic Flame with visit the racecourse at around 2pm.
“There’ll be brass bands and all sorts of food and drink.
“Last year we had around 90,000 customers over the four days. If we beat that, great, but our main target is to ensure that people come here and have a great time."