The first day is upon us, and here we preview the opening day of racing at York Racecourse.
The highly anticipated 2023 York Ebor Festival is upon us, with the first of four days of world-class horse racing getting underway today (Wednesday 23rd August) at York Racecourse. Each day will have seven races, with the action getting underway at 13:50.
Fans are travelling from far and wide to enjoy the racing on offer, with some of the best in the business going head to head for glory. The atmosphere is also set to be fantastic. Ahead of the racing finally getting underway, we will look ahead at Wednesday’s racing and preview the action to come.
13:50 – Sky Bet Symphony Group Handicap
The opening day of the 2023 York Ebor Festival will start with the Sky Bet Symphony Group Handicap. Several horses could be picked out as having a solid chance in this race, and one of them is Makanah, who will be ridden by Paul Hanagan. Makanah took part in the 2022 edition of this race and caught the eye with a 5th place finish.
After running at York again in May, Makanah has lost 4lb, and the distance of this race should suit him.
Back in 2022, it was Bergerac, ridden by Tom Eaves, who was the winner of the most recent running of the race last August. Jockey Eaves held off competition from King Of Stars, Atalis Bay and Nomadic Empire, who filled the other three spots in the top four.
14:25 – Tattersalls Acomb Stakes
Following the Symphony Group Handicap, the Acomb Stakes will be the second race on the opening day. One of the leading contenders for the race win is Cogitate, ridden by William Buick. Gogitate’s trainer, Charles Hills, is no stranger to success in this particular race, having won it twice as of the time of writing. Hills’ first victory came in 2014 with Dutch Connection (Buick as jockey) and then with Phoenix of Spain in 2018.
Cogitate’s debut race in the R&M Electrical EBF Novice Stakes back on 21st July at Newbury was very impressive, winning the race by two lengths. Boiling Point and Maximum Dividend had to settle for second and third place, respectively.
Chaldean was the winner in 2022. Jockey Ryan Moore was able to fend off competition from the likes of Indestructible and Oviedo.
15:00 – Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes
Gregory is one horse that is seen by many as having a great chance of securing victory in the 2023 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York. The long straight will suit Gregory, who was strong at Royal Ascot back in June, winning the Queen’s Vase by a length and a half ahead of Saint George in 2nd, with Chesspiece rounding off the top three.
Victory was also secured in the race before Gregory headed for Ascot, winning the British EBF 40th Anniversary Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood in May. It was a comfortable victory, and was clear of Klondike and Hadrianus in second and third place, respectively.
Deauville Legend, ridden by Daniel Muscutt, won the 2022 edition of this race by a margin of almost three lengths after taking control of the race with two furlongs to go. Secret State and El Bodegon rounded off the top three.
15:35 – Juddmonte International Stakes (British Champions Series)
The Foxes is a horse to keep your eye on in the latest running of the Juddmonte International Stakes. Form has been impressive of late – in April 2022, The Foxes secured a 2nd place finish in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket before winning the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York back in May.
An admirable 5th place finish in the Betfred Derby at Epsom followed before a second place finish was secured in the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park in The Foxes’ most recent race back in July 2023. This means that confidence is high going into the Juddmonte International Stakes.
Rewinding back to 2022, it was Jim Crowley, riding Baaeed, who won the most recent running of this race, successfully fending off competition from Mishriff and Sir Busker, who filled the final two spots in the top three.
16:10 – Sky Bet Stayers Handicap
Zanndabad is amongst the leading contenders to come away from the 2023 renewal of the Sky Bet Stayers Handicap this year. Ryan Moore is set to be the jockey to try and guide the horse to glory in this race. Some see Zanndabad as similar to Heartbreak City, who won this handicap in 2015.
Promise has also been shown with 4th and 5th place finishes in two of his most recent races in Ireland, and two third place finishes were secured in Listed contests during Zanndabad’s time being trained in France.
Back in 2022, William Buick guided Alfred Boucher to victory in the most recent Stayers Handicap, comfortably beating Frankenstella (2nd) and Zoffee (3rd) in the end.
16:45 – IRE Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Fillies’ Handicap
The penultimate race on the opening day of the 2023 Ebor Festival at York is the IRE Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Fillies’ Handicap. Pinafore, ridden by Tom Marquand, is a leading contender to secure victory in this race and was victorious in the Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap at Nottingham earlier this month.
Rewinding back to the most recent running of this race back in 2022, Designer was the winner after fending off competition from Pink Crystal, Sandbeck and Cuban Breeze in what was an enthralling race at York.
17:20 – Sky Bet Nursery Handicap
Action on day one of the 2023 York Ebor Festival will end with the Sky Bet Nursery Handicap. Ziggy’s Queen is one of the horses credited with a chance of a win this race. Form has been strong, with a third place finish on her debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Nottingham in June 2023.
Two third place finishes followed. The first was the William Hill Ripon Champion Bonus 2023 Maiden Fillies’ Stakes in June, where he only finished behind Indispensable in an enthralling race. In July 2023, she finished behind Rocket Money in the Gringo Found One Too Good Memorial EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Beverley.
Streets Of Gold is the most recent winner of the Sky Bet Nursery Handicap in 2022. The horse was the favourite for the race win that day, and Streets Of Gold lived up to expectations while also beating stern competition from Misty Blues and Lost Angel, who had to settle for 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.
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