For many racegoers the opening day of the Ebor festival is the day when they catch up with friends and look forward to a week of shared enjoyment.
Form-followers will watch the sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur with particular interest, as this York Group Two has already produced thirteen winners of the final Classic of the year, the Ladbrokes St Leger run at Doncaster.
- The Symphony Group Stakes This valuable contest is only in its third year at the festival over the unusual sprint distance of five and a half furlongs; the winner may be aimed at the Portland Stakes at the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival or possibly make a rapid return for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday at this meeting. It is supported by Yorkshire-based bathroom and kitchen specialists, The Symphony Group.
- The sportingbet.com Acomb Stakes This high quality Group 3 contest for precocious two-year-olds is one of three races on the day backed by Sportingbet. Past winners include horses of the calibre of Rule Of Law, King’s Best, Auction House and Saratoga Springs.
- The sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur Stakes This Group 2 race is the richest of its type in the UK and should provide significant clues regarding the final Classic of the season – next month’s Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes at Doncaster. That was the case as recently as 2007, when Lucarno won this famous race before going on to Classic glory. In the last decade, Rule of Law and Milan have been amongst the 13 colts to follow this route.
- The Juddmonte International Stakes This famous Group 1 race has a deserved ranking in the top ten of races worldwide; with an increased total prize fund of £700,000 it becomes the richest race ever held at York. True equine greats have competed in this race over the years and in recent years Sea the Stars added his name to a list that includes the 2007 Derby champion, Authorized and the 1992 Classic winner and champion, Rodrigo de Triano. This year’s winner stands to collect a bonus of over £500,000 if the horse wins the Japan Cup in the autumn.
- The sportingbet.com Stakes Juveniles also take part in this Nursery Handicap; watch out for the winner in the big autumn contests.
- The Patrington Haven Leisure Park Handicap Stakes Run over the same distance as the feature race of the day, one and a quarter miles, this valuable Handicap contest brings the opening day to a competitive conclusion and receives the backing of the East Coast holiday venue, Patrington Haven Leisure Park.