RACEGOERS are set to return to York tomorrow (May 11) for the Dante Festival.

The event at York Racecourse returns after a two-year absence and runs until Friday (May 13).

Last year’s event was held behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Prize money over the three days is £1.35m, with every prize worth £20,000 or more; a six-figure increase from 2019.

The festival starts with Wednesday’s £125,000 Tattersalls Musidora race. This race has previously been used as an indicator for the Cazoo Oaks race at Epsom.

York Press: Summer Moon ridden by jockey PJ McDonald wins the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap during day three of the 2019 Dante Festival at York Racecourse Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.Summer Moon ridden by jockey PJ McDonald wins the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap during day three of the 2019 Dante Festival at York Racecourse Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

Thursday’s Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante race offers a record prize fund of £175,000.

Friday’s principal race, The Yorkshire Cup, boasts new sponsor Paddy Power, with prize money of £175,000 on offer.

There is also a Listed race on Friday showcasing the “star fillies of tomorrow.” The £65,000 race is backed by Knights Solicitors and the European Breeders’ Fund, the Marygate.

On Dante Friday, more than a dozen experts will be on hand to talk about racehorses. There will also be a parade of horses available for syndicate ownership.

Complimentary behind the scenes tours will also be offered to fans. These will be taken by former professional jockey and winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Robert Earnshaw.

On Thursday and Friday, racegoers can meet York Racecourse’s new ambassador, Goldream. The retired racehorse will showcase the work of New Beginnings; a local charity that helps racehorses after retiring from the sport.

Since the last Dante, a number of refurbishments have been carried out at the racecourse.

Facilities for horses have been improved. These include a further unloading ramp, improved horse showers and an improved walkway to the main racecourse from the stables. 

York Press: Silvestre De Sousa riding Winter Power on their way to winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes at York Racecourse on day two of the 2021 Dante Festival Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty ImagesSilvestre De Sousa riding Winter Power on their way to winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes at York Racecourse on day two of the 2021 Dante Festival Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

A spokesperson for York Racecourse said:

"These improvements are designed to further improve the experience for the stars of our show and the teams who devote their working lives to their wellbeing."

Large HD screens have been fitted to the County Stand Champagne Pavilion to help fans keep an eye on the action.

York Press: Thunderous ridden by jockey Franny Norton celebrates winning The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York Racecourse in 2020.Thunderous ridden by jockey Franny Norton celebrates winning The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York Racecourse in 2020.

Additionally, the new Roberto Village Bar will improve the speed of service between races. Racegoers can also enjoy food from the renamed 1731 Pie Shop.

A spokesperson for York Racecourse said:

“York will be supporting Racing Welfare in its Mental Health Awareness week activity, with a particular focus on Thursday.

York Press: Magnetic charm ridden by James Doyle holds off Twist ‘n’ Shake to win the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies Stakes during day three of the 2019 Dante Festival at York Racecourse.Magnetic charm ridden by James Doyle holds off Twist ‘n’ Shake to win the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies Stakes during day three of the 2019 Dante Festival at York Racecourse.

"As well as racegoer enjoyment, their safety remains a priority for everyone at the course. The support of North Yorkshire Police will be evident throughout the season, assisted by their canine colleagues as appropriate."

For further details about the Dante Festival, and the season ahead, visit York Racecourse’s website: www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.

York Press: Duke Of Firenze (left) ridden by jockey David Allan on the way to winning the Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Handicap during day two of the 2017 Dante Festival at York Racecourse Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.Duke Of Firenze (left) ridden by jockey David Allan on the way to winning the Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Handicap during day two of the 2017 Dante Festival at York Racecourse Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.