THE highly-anticipated Ebor Festival kicks off today on York's famous Knavesmire racecourse.

Both based near Upper Helmsley, Antony Brittain and David O'Meara lend the opening contest some local interest before star jockey Frankie Dettori partners Sir Lucan in the 3pm Great Voltigeur Stakes.

Starting at 3.35pm is the feature race, the Group 1 Juddmonte International, worth £567,100 to the winner.

Here, myracing previews the day's four big races.

York 1.50 Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap

Live In The Moment is unbeaten at York, having won twice over five furlongs on the Knavesmire last season, and he ran a mighty race in defeat at Chelmsford on that seasonal reappearance just 15 days ago.

However, it is northern-based trainers who have dominated the race in recent years and the last four runnings have gone to Paul Midgley, John Quinn, Michael Dods and Eric Alston.

Dods scored with subsequent Group winner Dakota Gold in 2019 and Pendleton has not looked far off that class following a setback that saw him miss all of 2020. Dods also runs Jawwaal, while Midgley and Quinn are represented by Indian Sounds, Ostilio, Lord Riddiford and El Astronaute.

Michael Dods, trainer of Pendleton and Jawwaal: "Pendleton would be suited by a bit more rain and ease in the ground but he’s run well at York before. Jawwaal’s best form has been over five furlongs and this is the extended five, but he likes fast ground."

Antony Brittain, trainer of Mondammej: "A 22-runner sprint at York is as tough a race as you’ll get. He’s a hold-up horse so things do need to fall right all the time. There’s a big win in him and it’d be lovely for it to be tomorrow, but I’m no more than hopeful."

David O’Meara, trainer of Soul Seeker and Nomadic Empire: "The six furlongs for Soul Seeker at Ripon on Saturday probably stretched him a little so we’re going back over a shorter trip, but he seems grand. Nomadic Empire has run well at York already this season, likes good ground and is in good form."

Henry Candy, trainer of Twilight Calls: "The ground will suit him better than at Goodwood, it was too soft for him. It’s a typical 22-runner lottery but he’s going the right way. He’s progressing physically and should be up at the sharp end."

York 2.25 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes

Hugo Palmer isn’t noted for saddling winning juvenile debutants and, since the start of 2016, only 30 of his 229 two-year-old runners were successful at the first attempt.

It is second time out when Palmer’s youngsters usually make their mark and, in the same period, the Newmarket trainer has 37 winners from 165 juveniles who were having their second run. That’s a healthier 22 per cent and a £1 bet on each yielded a profit of +26.85.

It’s clear from those figures that Palmer’s runners usually improve significantly for their first run, so Dubawi Legend must have a huge amount of raw ability because he scored by five lengths on his debut at Doncaster last month.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to Shadwell Estates, owners of Ehraz: "It’s a typically competitive renewal but Richard Hannon is over the moon with Ehraz and we expect him to run a nice race. He went back to a stiff six furlongs at Ascot after running over this trip for the first time and this looks a good spot for him."

Oisin Murphy, rider of Imperial Fighter: "He did it nicely at Goodwood first time and he’s come out of that in good form. I like him and we're very much looking forward to running him again."

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Noble Truth: "He progressed from his first start to win his maiden and has done well physically since. This will hopefully tell us the level we will be campaigning him at for the rest of the season."

York 3.00 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes

Frankie Dettori rides Sir Lucan as Aidan O'Brien's stable jockey Ryan Moore has opted instead to partner High Definition, who was favourite for the Derby and St Leger at the start of the Flat season after a highly promising juvenile campaign that saw him take the Group 2 Beresford Stakes over an inadequate mile.

However, he has disappointed this term with defeats in the Dante and Irish Derby when sent off at short prices. He looked in need of a stiffer test on Knavesmire in May and had excuses for his recent Curragh defeat, being hampered early before having clipped heels on the bend, but his price now reflects potential rather than level of form this term.

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Kemari and Yibir: "Kemari has enjoyed a nice break since Ascot and dropping back to a mile and a half isn’t a worry. He has to carry a penalty but we felt this was the right race for him ahead of his autumn campaign. Yibir is on a slight recovery mission after racing keenly and disappointing at Goodwood. We're leaving the hood on him and a repeat of his Bahrain Trophy win will make him competitive."

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of High Definition, Sir Lucan and The Mediterranean: "High Definition caught a heel after a couple of furlongs in the Irish Derby and his head hit the ground. It was a proper stumble and once it happened it was race over for him. We've been happy with him since and he seems to be in good form again.

"Sir Lucan is coming along nicely now and we were delighted with him at Goodwood. We thought The Mediterranean ran very well in France and he seems to have come out of that race in very good form."

York 3.35 Juddmonte International

A suspicion lingers that we did not see the real Love in last month's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and we would not have seen in her in this had stablemate and coming force St Mark's Basilica not suffered a last-minute setback.

The daughter of Galileo, a star of 2020 when her triumphs included the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks at this meeting, had been due to run this week in Sunday's Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, but steps into the breach a few days early as she bids to consign her somewhat tame Ascot display to history.

John Gosden, now operating in partnership with son Thady, might think his chances of a hat-trick of training titles have evaporated given he trails pacesetter Andrew Balding by more than £900,000, but while Mishriff is no good thing, he is a high-class and consistent colt who knows how to keep the bank balance topped up.

The bulk of his £10,523,423 earnings has come from lucrative trips abroad this year when he won the Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic, helping rising star of the weighing room David Egan make a name – and a few quid – for himself.

Successful in last year's Prix du Jockey Club, Mishriff, who runs in the colours of breeder Prince Faisal, was third behind St Mark's Basilica in the Eclipse before his fine King George effort, but there is a sense connections have long deemed this £1 million event as an ideal one for the four-year-old.

John Gosden, trainer of Mishriff: "This race has been the plan for a long time.

"We were very pleased with his run in the King George before which he overraced at Sandown in the Eclipse where he tired in the last furlong on his first run back after a break. This track and the trip should suit and he's had a good prep."

William Haggas, trainer of Alenquer and Mohaafeth: "The pacemaker went too slow and Jim Crowley was too far back on Mohaafeth in the York Stakes. It was a mess, and you can put a line through it. The trip is fine and the ground should be okay too. He’s got a bit to find, but he's useful. Alenquer's owners felt that as he had already won a Group 2 there was no point running in another one. They want to test him against the best, and he's very well.

"He's improving, and again you can put a line through his latest run at Longchamp as he was too far back and never got into it at all. I don't think he's the soft- or heavy-ground horse some have him down as, but he might just want a bit further. It's an ambitious route for both horses, but they'll run well. Whether they are good enough is another matter."

Jim Bolger, trainer of Mac Swiney: "He's very well and I'm happy with him. We're hopeful that going back to a mile and a quarter will bring out the best in him. As usual, it's a hot race, but York has been a lucky track for me and I'm hoping that the luck will stay with us."

Oisin Murphy, rider of Alcohol Free: "I don't draw comparisons because Alcohol Free is a very light-framed, athletic, feminine type of horse and Roaring Lion (who won the International on Knavesmire in 2018) was the opposite – very strong and a very different character – but she's been a superstar for me. You don't have easy races at Goodwood, but she came out of the Sussex very well. She'll either stay or she won't, and whatever happens won't detract from what she’s already achieved.

"There will be plenty of time afterwards to freshen her up for Qipco British Champions Day. She's not a difficult ride once she's in behind, and I'll hopefully be able to get her in and switch her off, although she can be quite electric from the gates even when I don't want her to be. With a filly there’s nothing to lose."