Yorkshire Cup Betting

The £140,000 Yorkshire Cup is the featured event on the last day of the three-day Dante Festival each May. It is a Group 2 flat race that covers a distance of one mile and 6 six furlongs on the left-handed turf of the Knavesmire track at York Racecourse. Also on the card that day are six other events, including two listed races and four handicaps, all of shorter lengths.

The Cup is open to all Thoroughbreds aged four years and older. The youngest entrants carry eight stone twelve pounds, while those five years old and up must bear an extra pound. There is an allowance of three pounds for fillies and mares, but penalties are applied to victors of races since August 31 of the previous year, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 winners and three pounds for those who have triumphed in Group 2 events.

When this race was originally established in 1927, it was run over a distance of two full miles. From 1940 to 1944, it was cancelled due to World War II, and when racing resumed in 1945, the event was held later in the year under a different title—the Yorkshire Autumn Cup. In 1966, the race distance was reduced to the current one and three quarter miles.

Sponsors of the Yorkshire Cup between 1988 and 1994 included Crowthers, Coloroll, Kosset and Polo Mints. From 1998 to 2002, the Merewood Group/Merewood Homes claimed the title role. Then, in 2003, the current sponsor, Emirates Airline, came on board and a splendid relationship has ensued ever since.

The Dante Festival attracts plenty of high-quality talent. Winners here are often the ones to watch throughout the rest of the season. The Yorkshire Cup is a particularly good proving ground for stayers that are aiming for the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot meeting the following month.

Only one horse has ever managed a repeat victory in the Yorkshire Cup. That honour goes to Ardross, who best all comers in 1981 and 1982. The mighty Irish bay went on to win the Gold Cup at Ascot in both those years, too, and it should come as no surprise who was in the saddle for all four of those successful rides—the indomitable Lester Piggott.

With eight wins in all, Piggott holds the record here for jockeys. He started his string of victories on Pandofell in 1961, and then followed up with Aunt Edith in 1966, Knockroe in 1972, Bruni in 1976 and Bright Finish in 1977. In 1980, he took noble Saint to the finish line first before closing out with Ardross.

Of course, it takes a leading trainer to launch a horse of such calibre, and Henry Cecil was just the one for the job. He later brought two more victors to the Yorkshire Cup—Verd-Antique in 1986 and, after a prolonged hiatus, Manifest in 2010. But the trainer with the most wins here was another Cecil—Cecil Boyd-Rochfort with seven. His successes came with The Scout II in 1931, Kingstone in 1945, Premonition in 1954, Dickens in 1960, Sagacity in 1962, Raise You Ten in 1964 and Apprentice in 1965.

Godolphin Stables trainer Saeed bin Suroor chalked up five wins in the Yorkshire Cup between 1995 and 2003, and his entries came in third in 2009 and 2010. Sir Michael Stoute got his second win here in 2009 with Ryan Moore in the saddle on six-year-old Ask.

In the past two decades, four-year-olds have had the most success over the Yorkshire Cup’s 14 furlongs, winning nine of the last twenty outings. Five-year-olds are right behind them with five victories, followed by the six-year-olds with three. Seven-year-olds have had a pair of successes, both since 2004, and one eight-year-old has taught the youngsters how it’s done—the favoured Sergeant Cecil in 2007 paying 100/30.

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