Welcome to the ultimate Ebor Festival betting guide! First held in 1843, the Ebor Festival is the highlight of the calendar at York's Knavesmire racecourse. Taking its name from the shortened form of the Roman name of York (Eboracum), it takes place over four days in late August every year. The Juddmonte International is the feature race on Wednesday's opening card with the Yorkshire Oaks and Nunthorpe Stakes the other Group 1s in the week.
The final day is based around the most valuable flat handicap race in Europe, the Ebor Handicap. Over a distance of one mile and six furlongs (2800m), it often sees owners of useful jumps horses try to win a big pot on the level. It’s a key date in the horse racing betting diary.
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Ante-post betting on the Ebor Festival will be available with most of the top horse racing betting sites. The daily feature races are largely priced up around two months in advance, just after Royal Ascot. The main guide races for the Juddmonte International are the Prince of Wales's Stakes at the royal meeting and the Eclipse at Sandown. Sometimes you will see Classic contenders drop down from the Derby trip, or step up from a mile.
The Nunthorpe market is usually shaped by the King's Stand at Royal Ascot and the July Cup. Sure enough, the runner-up to Blue Point in the King's Stand, Charlie Hills' Battaash, and Newmarket winner Ten Sovereigns head the betting for the five-furlong dash at the Knavesmire. Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old will be having his first run at the minimum trip while Battaash aims to back up his third consecutive win in the King George Stakes at Goodwood.
The Ebor looks as competitive as ever with just one horse currently trading at single-figures in King's Advice. Mark Johnston's son of Frankel has vaulted to the top of the market thanks to victories in staying handicaps at Newmarket's July Festival and Glorious Goodwood.
Johnston has another potential contender in Duke of Edinburgh winner Baghdad while Joseph O'Brien's Irish Derby hero Latrobe and John Gosden's Jorvik victor First Eleven are other interesting challengers. Dermot Weld bids for a first win in the race with recent Sandown listed winner Falcon Eight.
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Ebor Festival Feature Race - Sky Bet Ebor (£1,000,000)
The highlight of the week for the punters and a real puzzle for horse racing betting fans, the Ebor is a perennial favourite at the Knavesmire. First staged in 1843 as part of the first Ebor Festival, it is a valuable and prestigious staying handicap with high-class jumps horses often involved. The great Sea Pigeon won the Ebor in 1979 carrying 10 stone with Alastair Down saying “the whole place went bonkers” when he was declared the victor in a photo finish.
Willie Mullins won with Sesenta in 2009 and Dirar took victory for Gordon Elliott 12 months later having been third when sent off favourite for the Galway Hurdle on his previous run. In 2016, Tony Martin was victorious with Heartbreak City who went on to finish second in the Melbourne Cup.
Just two winners have been sent off at single-figure odds in the last 10 years, but the biggest shock in the race's history came in 2006 as Mudawin gave Jane Chapple-Hyam her first big-race success at 100/1.
There was once a perceived advantage for low draws and low weights but recent renewals have dispelled those trends. The draw on the Thursday is televised but anxiety over a high draw is now a thing of the past. Just one horse – Flint Jack (1922-23) – has won two Ebors.
Juddmonte International I The first two Group 1s of the week, the Juddmonte International and the Yorkshire Oaks, are often lacklustre affairs for horse racing betting enthusiasts with both struggling to attract eight or more runners. There is often a top-notcher – think Frankel, Australia or Enable – which makes them more exciting to watch than to punt on.
Acomb Stakes I On both of the opening two days, there are stronger betting races to be found. On Wednesday, the Acomb Stakes is a decent Group 3 for two-year-olds while the Great Voltigeur is a solid trial for September's St Leger.
Lowther Stakes I On the Thursday – Ladies' Day - the Clipper Logistics Stakes is a real handicap headscratcher while the Group 2 Lowther Stakes for two-year-old fillies is often well-contested.
The Nunthorpe I Taking place on the Friday is by far the most competitive Group 1 of the week with the best sprinters in Europe – and sometimes further afield – lining up. Double-figure sized fields are guaranteed with some renewals attracting 16 or more runners. As it is a stakes race, each-way betting is limited to three places although do look out for some bookmakers offering extra places for a big turnout.
Lonsdale Cup I Also on Friday is the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup with high-class stayers taking part in the two-mile (3200m) contest. Ascot Gold Cup hero Stradivarius carried a Group 1 penalty to win last year and secure a million-pound bonus thanks to his previous victories at Ascot and Goodwood.
Gimcrack Stakes I The Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings also takes place on Friday. Rock of Gibraltar was the last Gimcrack winner to triumph in a Classic with the race tending to throw up high-quality sprinters like 2014 victor Muhaarar and this year's double Royal Ascot hero Blue Point who won at York in 2016.
The Strensall and the City of York I Both fine all-age races for spectators and punters alike over distances of just shy of 10 furlongs and seven furlongs respectively. The last two winners of the Strensall – Mustashry and Lord Glitters – have gone on to be successful in Group 1 contests over a mile.
The Ebor I Then it's the moment the punters have been waiting for. The Ebor is one of the biggest horse racing betting heats of the year with serious prize money at stake and almost always a full field of 20. Contenders from yards big and small take their chance in this stayers' handicap with top Irish jumps trainers usually involved.