York Racecourse Hail Ebor Festival 2013 As Success
8:44pm 24th August 2013
A wonderful week of racing at York once again created magical memories for racegoers and racing professionals alike.
Some of the highest profile successes provided moments of personal celebration for connections. None more so than after Declaration of War won the richest race ever staged at York on the opening day, the £750,000 Group 1 Juddmonte International, as the colt is trained by Aidan O’Brien and was ridden to success by his son, Joseph.
The obvious delight of Lord Lloyd Webber and his wife Lady Madeleine after the victory of The Fugue in the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks shows how much having a winner at this Festival means to even the most experienced connections. The scenes of joy amongst the family Margarson following the win of Lady Kristale trained by George in the Connolly’s RED MILLS Lowther Stakes provided further evidence of the excitement of a big race winner at York.
The fastest race of the week, the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe went to Jwala where the surprise of some at her 40/1 starting price was more than tempered by the pleasure of seeing jockey Steve Drowne return to the top table after a difficult year battling ill health.
The cheers as Tiger Cliff was paraded in front of the stands after victory in the Betfred Ebor showed the affection for the Warren Place stable where is he is trained by Lady Jane Cecil, widow of Sir Henry Cecil.
The week started with a success for the home County as Kevin Ryan won the opening race with Bogart and the Hambleton yard collected a double on the final day including a third win for the stable in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes , courtesy of Astaire. Fellow Yorkshire handler David O’Meara also posted three winners taking his seasonal tally on the Knavesmire to ten. Add in a win for Middleham’s Mark Johnston and it was good week all around for Yorkshire racing.
Reflecting on another memorable week, James Brennan, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship, said “There was a great atmosphere at the course all week with the stories from the track creating a real buzz. Add in the sense of occasion that the fashion created and fun generated by the Fashion at the Ebor Marquee and it all adds up to a great four days. Racegoers have enjoyed the Yorkshire food and a lot of them have posed for a photograph with our edible racehorse sculpture that celebrates our use of local ingredients.”
In another innovation York became offered racegoers a chance to see the Official Time for each race unfold before their eyes as a Racetech backed clock was positioned at the Winning Post, connected to the stalls and the photo finish.
Over the four days, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2013 attracted 81,533 racegoers, with attendance on both Friday and Saturday increasing, by 12% and 8% respectively. The overall drop in year in year numbers (down 9,807) is a reflection of the high water mark created by the visit of the fabulous Frankel last year; a real “once in a lifetime” event that attracted a “once in a lifetime” sized crowd for the opening day in 2012.
Commenting on the meeting, William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said “Ebor 2013 will be remembered for the star horses and the human stories linked to them. The racecourse team of some 3,000 staff and partners have put in a huge amount of work and I am grateful to them, our sponsors and racegoers for their tremendous support of the meeting.
Always a key part of the European racing calendar, the festival includes four races that are part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival continues to grow in its worldwide appeal, with the whole meeting being shown live in Australia, huge bonuses on offer from the Japan Racing Association for York winners and three races (Coolmore Nunthorpe, Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Connolly’s RED MILLS Lowther) all included in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. Including supplementary entries and the DBS sales race, prize money was over £3,3 million, with a record investment by the racecourse.
As the feature racing Festival of 2013 becomes a fond memory and before it returns on Wednesday 20 August 2014, the sporting crowds can look forward to he the racecourse being the host for another huge sporting event as the track will host the start of the second day of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France on Sunday 6 July 2014. The Welcome to Yorkshire Flag will fly proud over both events.
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