Racing to a great 2018: Looking ahead to a spectacular season at York Races

Photograph: York Racecourse
4 Dec 2017 @ 11.15 am
| Sport

York Racecourse may have been mothballed for this year but there is plenty of top-class action to look forward to in 2018 on Knavesmire.

It all gets underway in the spring, with the three-day Dante Festival between May 16-18 kicking off proceedings at the picturesque venue.

Three-year-old fillies take centre stage on day one as the Musidora Stakes is run over a distance of one mile and two furlongs.

Established in 1961, it serves as a leading trial for the Oaks and has been won for the past three years by the John Gosden / Frankie Dettori combination.

Thursday’s showpiece is the Betfred Dante Stakes, a Group 2 run over the same distance but open to both sexes.

It attracts the great and good of the sport, with Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston landing the spoils earlier this year.

The Group 2 Yorkshire Cup dominates the final day, with horses aged four years and above allowed to enter.

Midsummer magic

Top sport at 2016’s Macmillan Race Day

Next year’s June meeting is scheduled for the 15th and 16th of the month and is very popular with racegoers.

Friday is termed Mid Summer Raceday, with the Macmillan Charity Raceday pencilled in for the Saturday and a good cause will benefit from those attending.

The John Smith’s meeting on Friday July 13 and Saturday 14 culminates in the prestigious John Smith’s Cup.

Run over a distance of one mile two furlongs, it is a handicap race for three-year-olds and Sir Michael Stoute trained last year’s winner, Ballet Concerto, with James Doyle on board.

There is no question that York’s Ebor Meeting, dubbed the Ascot of the north, is the main attraction for northern flat racing enthusiasts and sees thousands of spectators flock to the course in late August.

Each of the four days has a feature race and proceedings kick off on August 22 with the Group 1 Juddmonte International.

Ulysses added his name to the roll of honour for this race last summer, with Sir Michael Stoute now having won the contest a record six times.

Superstar line-up

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The Yorkshire Oaks, another top-level contest for fillies and mares, takes place on the Thursday of the meeting and is a much sought-after title for jockeys and trainers.

Dettori claimed the spoils this year on superstar Enable and it always a competitive and thrilling race.

A day at York Races is a social event and there is always plenty of action in the betting ring, but for those who are new to the sport and fancy a flutter online, check out this Bookmaker Guide for all the best sites available.

The sprinters will be in action on Friday, August 24 in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, run over just five furlongs and for two-year-olds and up.

The Ebor Handicap brings the curtain down on the major races at the festival and will see three-year-olds battle it out for the riches on offer.

That rounds off the summer’s activities but, as the leaves are turning brown, the Coral Sprint Trophy on October 13 will give punters a last chance to part with their hard-earned cash.