The Yorkshire Cup, also known as the York Cup, is an annual horse racing event native to York in Great Britain. The York Cup is a Group 2 flat horse race which is open to any horses that are 4 years or older of age. This race takes place over 1 mile and 6 furlongs, or 2,816 metres, and takes place each year in May at the York Racecourse.
The History of York Racecourse
The York Racecourse is considered to be the third largest racecourse in Britain, based on the amount of prize money offered at each event. Its establishment dates back to the 18th century, and is physically situated in Northern Yorkshire on a piece of land known as the Knavesmire. This is why the York Racecourse is also commonly known as ‘The Knavesmire’ itself. Horse racing in York dates as far back as the times of the Romans, with additional evidence suggesting that horse racing activities may have taken place in York in Neolithic times.
History of the York Cup Event
The York Cup has a chequered history, and was first established in 1927, before which it had been a weight-for-age race. The York Cup was originally run over 2 miles, and its first running was won by the horse Templestowe. The race was discontinued between 1940 and 1944, with a substitute by the name of the Yorkshire Autumn Cup appearing in 1945 and catering to horses in the 3 years or older category. After the end of World War 2, the York Cup became a conditions horse race, and reverted temporarily as a handicap in 1951, soon to be restored to its previous status just a year later. In 1966, the distance of the race was shortened from 2 miles to 1 ¾ miles, and the York Cup gained its Group 2 status in 1971.
The York Cup in Recent Times
Since 2011, the York Cup in York has been a part of the British Champions Series, in which it is the first racing event held in the long distance division. The event is held on the last day of the 3 day Dante Festival in York itself, which is a racing festival with the famous Dante Stakes race as its premier feature.
The Dante Stakes is a Group 2 flat race held at the York Racecourse, which is run over 2,092 metres and is open to all 3 year old horses. The race is named for Dante, the winner of the Derby substitute in the year 1945 at Newmarket. The Dante Stakes race was established in 1958, and its first running was won by the horse Bald Eagle. This race serves as a major trial for the upcoming Derby.
York Cup Winners
Recent winners of the York Cup include Ryan Moore with Snow Sky in 2015 and Gospel Choir in 2014, and Tony Hamilton with Glen’s Diamond in 2013. Historically, Ardross is the race’s most successful race horse, having won the York Cup in both 1981 and 1982. Lester Piggott is the event’s most successful jockey to date, with 8 wins to his name.