Record £6 Million Prize Money in 2014 York Racecourse Season
1:14pm 7th May 2014
With record-breaking prize money in excess of £6 million on offer during the 2014 season at York– this year’s 17-day campaign gets off to a top quality start with the traditional three-day Dante Festival (Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 May), with seven races on each day.
Every afternoon card will be worth a minimum of £100,000, including the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival on Wednesday 20 August which will see the richest-ever race held on the Knavesmire, the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes now offering £800,000.
Prize money over the three days of the Dante Festival is also at an all-time high of £1 million – the first time it has reached this seven-figure landmark. More than half of the 21 races see their prize value increased. The Festival will showcase the stars of the season ahead, putting significant markers down for the Investec Oaks and Derby at Epsom, Royal Ascot and a return to York in August.
Over the three days, racegoers will have the chance to see the latest development made over the winter to the northern end of the course. The new enlarged, flatter Pre Parade Ring sits adjacent to the current Parade Ring with new saddling boxes on two sides. A new Weighing Room is under construction and on schedule to open in May 2015 at the same time as a new Moet Pavilion. A further phase of the project will see a scheme to showcase the Grade II* Listed John Carr Grandstand which now serves as a champagne bar.
On the opening day, Wednesday, a pair of Group races, The Tattersalls Musidora Stakes and The Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, are featured. Top-class three-year-old fillies will be chasing a prize fund boosted to £80,000 (up £5,000) in the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, a leading form indicator for the Investec Oaks next month. This famous race is supported for the 29th year by Tattersalls, Europe’s leading bloodstock auctioneers. This race has produced six champion fillies that have gone on to achieve Classic glory.
The £100,000 Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes over six furlongs should attract the very best sprinters. Last year’s winner, the Newmarket-trained Society Rock, subsequently finished runner-up in Group 1 company. Several Yorkshire-trained speedsters are sure to be in the line-up for this race supported for the second year by Leeds-based Clipper Logistics, who are assured of a contest as quick as their own delivery schedules.
The opening race of the Dante Festival sees on-line bookmaker, StanJames.com support a valuable middle-distance handicap contest over one mile and a quarter for the first time. Infinity Tyres return to the meeting, this time to support a valuable handicap race over six furlongs. Novice two-year-olds take their opportunity in a contest under the European Breeders’ Fund banner, while new sponsors, Conundrum Human Resources put their name to a competitive-looking handicap contest for three-year-olds, over seven furlongs.
The £150,000 Betfred Dante Stakes takes pride of place on Thursday, as the leading Derby contenders stake their claims for Classic success. This famous Group 2 race is acknowledged as Britain’s premier Derby pre-cursor, having produced nine double winners with a clutch of them in the last decade when Authorized, North Light and Motivator took the honours. Last year’s winner, Libertarian, trained in North Yorkshire by Elaine Burke, proved to be a fast finishing runner-up on Epsom Downs.
The Betfred Middleton Stakes, a £100,000 Group 2 race for fillies and mares was won last year by the French-trained Dalkala, ridden by Christophe-Patrice Lemaire in the colours of the filly’s owner/breeder, HH The Aga Khan. The Betfred Hambleton Stakes is a Listed Handicap over one mile that forms part of the qualification for the feature mile handicap on British Champions Day in October. The opening contest indicates the support of Fred Done for the construction of Jack Berry House, a facility for injured jockeys. The wider charity, Injured Jockeys Fund, celebrates its 50th anniversary and York will show its ongoing support with a donation of £16,000 from the track’s past fundraising to be presented to trustees.
The European Breeders’ Fund, regular and valued supporters of racing at York, put their name to nineteen contests in all, including a race on all three days of the Dante Festival. Thursday includes the British Stallion Studs EBF Conditions Stakes, a race for three-year-old sprinters.
The Stratford Place Stud, owned by popular music impresario, Chris Wright CBE, once again supports a contest for maiden two-year-olds, the Stratford Place Stud Chriselliam Memorial EBF Maiden Stakes. The late Chriselliam, owned by Chris Wright, was the brilliant winner of the Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies’ Turf race at last November’s Breeders’ Cup Meeting in Santa Anita, California. The sponsors of the afternoon’s concluding race, Investec, wanted to be involved in an occasion that has so many links to the races they back at Epsom, so they once again support the closing contest, a handicap race for stayers over the extended two miles.
Friday’s principal race is The Yorkshire Cup, a £140,000 contest for leading stayers over one mile and three-quarters, a valuable and highly-rated Group Two ‘Cup’ race. Friday’s renewal is a Qipco British Champions Series race, the first of five York contests that are part of this special series of the top races in Britain. Malton trainer, Richard Fahey produced a 25/1 winner of this race last year in Glen’s Diamond, who defeated the French-trained Top Trip by a nose in a tremendous finish.
A couple of Listed races for fillies are prominent on the final day; two-year-olds take part in The Langleys Solicitors LLP EBF Marygate Stakes, while three-year-olds are catered for in The Irish Champions Weekend Stakes, a contest over one mile supported by Horse Racing Ireland. The Jorvik Stakes, a £50,000 handicap over one mile and a half; whilst three-year-old sprinters have their opportunity in The Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes, a handicap race over five furlongs. Fillies and mares face the starter in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners ripleycollection.com Fillies’ Stakes, backed by the Yorkshire-based jewellery company, who products are on sale throughout the season at York. Racing Profits Guides put their name to the final race on Friday, The Racing At York YorkRacecourseTips.co.uk, a middle-distance handicap contest for three-year-olds. This website is full of statistics regarding racing at York, helping racegoers identify potential winners.
David O’Meara, who is based near Helmsley was the leading trainer at York last season, his first championship on the Knavesmire, one which ended Malton trainer Richard Fahey’s run of seven consecutive York titles in the battle be the Charles Clinkard backed Top Trainer. The three times Champion jockey, Ryan Moore was the top rider at York last season taking the Living North Magazine Trophy also with ten successes.
The totepool ‘Punters’ Panel’ will preview the action each day from the winners’ enclosure, while a quintet of giant screens and an investment in flat screens televisions across the site, will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.
Further details about the Festival and the season ahead can visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk
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