The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is a four-day race meeting staged annually at York Racecourse in August. The festival is named after the Ebor Handicap, which is the centrepiece of the final day and, in turn, takes its title from the Roman name for York, “Eboracum”. Three Group One contests – the International Stakes, the Yorkshire Oaks and the Nunthorpe Stakes – all of which are part of the British Champions Series, are the feature races on the first three days.
The International Stakes, run over 1 mile 2 furlongs and 56 yards and open to horses of both sexes aged three years and upwards, is the most valuable race of the season at York, with £1 million in prize money. The roll of honour includes two of the greatest racehorses since World War II, Sea The Stars and Frankel. Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful trainer in the history of the race with six wins between 1986 and 2017.
The Yorkshire Oaks, run over 1 mile 3 furlongs and 88 yards, is confined to fillies and mares aged three years and upwards. Sir Michael Stoute is, once again, the most successful current trainer, with nine wins between 1978 and 2004.
The Nunthorpe Stakes, run over 5 furlongs, has the distinction of being one of the few races in which two-year-olds can compete against the older horses. Again, the roll of honour features some of the finest sprinters in history, including Habibti, Dayjur and Lochsong.
The Ebor Handicap, run over 1 mile 5 furlongs and 88 yards and open to horses of both sexes aged three years and upwards, is one of a series of traditional, high-class handicaps, known as “Heritage Handicaps”, run throughout the season. The Ebor Handicap is already the most valuable race of its kind run in Europe, with £500,000 in prize money on offer, and will be worth £1 million in 2019, when Sky Bet begins a five-year sponsorship deal.