Along with arguably Newmarket, Ascot and Goodwood, York is thought of as one of the top flat racecourses in the country in terms of its sheer quality, history, facilities and topography.
Home to Group 1 races and one of the most important Derby and Oaks trial meetings, the Dante Festival, York is hugely important to breeders and trainers.
Knavesmire Track Details
York is essentially a flat, left-handed track. Over the years it has become known simply as a fair, galloping course that tends to suit the big, long-striding types but it isn’t always as simple as that here depending on the race conditions.
In terms of track bias, more and more races are being fought out down the middle in large fields on the straight course though naturally you will want an inside (low number) draw where possible on the round course.
The home straight is around five furlongs in length and so, despite being flat, can take some getting as jockeys are so often tricked into pushing and shoving a little early on. This means that, even if you think your horse isn’t the said ‘long-striding’ type but has the most ability, they can still be held up to good effect here if there is enough pace in the race among the other contenders which is something to look out for.
So, treat each race on its own merits here rather than expecting the track to give you a head start, especially when the going is good or better. Despite its flat nature though, this track does keep in a lot of moisture so when the going is soft your horse will need plenty of stamina to get home.
York’s Top Trainers and Jockeys
It always pays to know who preps horses best for York and who rides the track well to help your handicapping. With that in mind, these are the top recent trainers there:
- John Gosden
- Mark Johnston
- William Haggas
- Mick Dods
- Roger Varian
- Richard Hannon
- David O’Meara
The top jockeys at the track are:
- Danny Tudhope
- Frankie Dettori
- Oisin Murphy
- James Doyle
- Ryan Moore
- Jim Crowley
- Andrea Atzeni
- Silvestre De Sousa
Major York Handicaps
York is home to three Group 1 races, the International Stakes, the Yorkshire Oaks and the Nunthorpe Stakes which are all of major international importance. It is so highly thought of in terms of Pattern races that it has even hosted the royal meeting when Ascot was out of commission.
Despite all that Group race history though it’s the major handicaps here that attract the most attention and most money, particularly the summer spectaculars the John Smith’s Cup and the Ebor. These are the handicap highlights:
|Hambleton Handicap||Dante Festival, May||Class 2||7 furlongs, 192 yards|
|Jorvik Handicap||Dante Festival||Class 2||1 mile, 3 furlongs, 188 yards|
|John Smith’s Cup||July Meeting||Class 2||1 mile, 2 furlongs, 88 yards|
|Clipper Logistics Handicap||Ebor Festival, August||Class 2||7 furlongs, 192 yards|
|Melrose Handicap||Ebor Festival||Class 2||1 mile, 5 furlongs, 188 yards|
|Ebor Handicap||Ebor Festival||Class 2||1 mile, 5 furlongs, 188 yards|