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Record Breaking Prize Money at York Race Course

York Racecourse

7:51am 8th May 2013

With a record-breaking £5.8 million in prize money on offer during the 2013 season at York, including the richest-ever race held on the Knavesmire, the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes now offering £750,000 on the opening day of the ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ Ebor Festival on Wednesday 21 August – this year’s 17-day campaign gets off to a top quality start with the traditional three-day Dante Festival (Wednesday 15, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 May), with seven races on each day, starting at 1-45 p.m. (Gates open at 11-15 a.m.).

With prize money over the three days of £947,000 (a rise in excess of £65,000), the Dante 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.

The runners will pass in front of the newly refurbished County Stand, a Listed building that has seen its Edwardian charms both preserved and enhanced by the work of Yorkshire craftsmen, marshalled by Gem Construction Ltd of York, say York Racecourse.

They add that behind the freshly painted signature barber poles, racegoers can sample the newly created snug in the Alcoves Bar, whilst enjoying their choice of wines from Cloudy Bay, hand-pulled Theakston Best Bitter or Laurent-Perrier champagne at York’s trademark low prices.

Over the three days, racegoers will have the chance to find out more about the recently approved plans for the northern end of the course, say York Racecourse.  The first phase of the scheme, which is planned for next winter, will deliver a new, enlarged, flatter, Pre Parade Ring to sit adjacent to the current Parade Ring with new saddling boxes on two sides, they add.  A new Weighing Room and Champagne Pavilion, as well as a scheme to showcase the Grade II* Listed John Carr Stand, will follow in subsequent phases.

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 £75,000 (up £10,000) in the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, a leading form indicator for the Investec Oaks next month.  This famous race is supported for the 28th year by Tattersalls, Europe’s leading bloodstock auctioneers.  Last year’s champion, The Fugue, was a popular winner for owner/breeder Lord Lloyd Webber.  This hugely-talented filly went on to win the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at the ‘Glorious Goodwood’ meeting, before coming back to York to finish runner-up to the French-trained filly, Shareta, in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1).

The £100,000 Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes over six furlongs should attract the very best sprinters, including last year’s winner, Tiddliwinks, owned and bred in Yorkshire by Guy Reed, who has the horse trained in the county by Kevin Ryan.  Sprinters of the calibre of other previous York victors Mince and Hoof It (co-owned by top golfer, Lee Westwood) may join Pearl Secret and Society Rock in the starting stalls.  First-time backers of the race, Leeds based Clipper Logistics, are assured of a contest as quick as their own delivery schedules.

York Race Course say that the opening race of the Dante Festival sees Infinity Tyres support a valuable middle-distance handicap contest over one mile and a quarter for the third year; with a competitive card giving novice two-year-olds their opportunity in theripleycollection.com EBF Stakes, backed by the Yorkshire-based jewellery company, whose products are on sale throughout the season at York.  They add that Constant Security Services, the company which provides the security personnel on racedays, support a handicap contest over one mile and a half.

The £150,000 Betfred Dante Stakes takes pride of place on Thursday, as the leading Derby contenders stake their claims for Classic glory.  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, Bonfire, provided his many owners – Highclere Thoroughbred Racing - with a memorable day and this year their ‘Wavertree’ syndicate, that includes Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, could be represented by the Sir Michael Stoute trained colt, Telescope.

The Betfred Middleton Stakes, a £100,000 Group 2 race for fillies and mares was won last year by Izzy Top, whose dam, Zee Zee Top had won the race in 2003, say York Racecourse. The Betfred Hambleton Stakes is a Listed Handicap over one mile, while the Betfred Mobile Sports Stakes gets the day off to a lightning start, it being a contest over the shortest trip in UK racing, a flying five furlongs.  The European Breeders’ Fund, regular and valued supporters of racing at York, put their name to a race on all three days.  This middle day includes the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Sprint Conditions Stakes, a race created for three year old sprinters only in the wake of a 2007 Gimcrack Dinner speech by the owners of Sir Gerry, so it appropriate that Lauren and Matt Morgan, owners of Blaine, the 2013 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack winner, are eyeing a return to York.

The Stratford Place Stud, owned by popular music impresario, Chris Wright CBE, celebrates international race success by once again supporting a contest for maiden two-year-olds, the Stratford Place Stud For International Group 1 Winners EBF Maiden Stakes, say York Racecourse.  They add that the sponsors of the final race of the day, 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.

Friday’s principal race, say York Racecourse, 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 part of the Qipco British Champions Series race, the first of five York races that are part of this special series of the top races in Britain.  Newmarket-based trainer, Ed Dunlop clinched last year’s renewal with Red Cadeaux, a Group 1 winner and runner-up in both the Melbourne Cup and Dubai World Cup.  This year the yard holds entries with both Joshua Tree (winner of the Canadian International Stakes) and Times Up (successful in last season’s Doncaster Cup, when trained by his father, John, who has now retired).

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, while three-year-olds take part in the race registered as the Michael Seely Memorial Stakes.  The Jorvik Stakes, a valuable handicap over one mile and a half, compliments two further middle-distance handicap contests, while three-year-old sprinters have their opportunity in The Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes, a handicap race over five furlongs.

Malton-based Richard Fahey was the leading trainer at York last season for the seventh successive year and is sure to send some strong candidates in search of an early lead in this year’s Hatfield Land Rover Pickering Trainer’s Championship.  His former stable jockey and dual Champion Jockey, Paul Hanagan was the top rider for the fourth consecutive time on the Knavesmire, taking the Living North Magazine Trophy with ten successes, he too will mount a strong defence.

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, say York Racecourse.

Further details about the Festival and the season ahead can visit York’s website on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

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