Welcome to our official guide to York Racecourse. In this section we explore this great racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a look at the main races, a guide to track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
South West of the city of York, the racecourse is the second biggest in the UK in terms of prize money offered per meeting (just behind Ascot) and third biggest in the UK in terms of total prize money offered throughout the year.
York is a picturesque and historical city in North Yorkshire and is often lauded as a tourist destination with friendly locals and plenty to do and see. One such attraction is the racecourse, situated net to The Chocolate Works, which used to house the Terry’s of York chocolate factory. The site is currently being redeveloped into mixed residential and commercial use, which is likely to draw even more people to this end of town.
Whilst by no means the biggest racecourse in Britain in terms of size, York is well-loved by those in the industry for its charm and intimate feel. It boasts good old-fashioned Yorkshire hospitality with a dose of racing and feels unlike any other course in the UK.
The racecourse has 180 stables, set out in four quadrangles, and houses a Bowling Club within one of these. It’s played host to a visit from the Olympic Torch, Pope John Paul II and the cast of ITV drama A Touch Of Frost! The racecourse has won awards not just for its racing but also its wine lists and its stunning colourful floral arrangements, which are designed and tended to by a whole team of gardeners throughout the summer.
York makes for a great day out and a unique racing experience hosting some of the biggest races in the flat calendar, including The Nunthorpe, Yorkshire Oaks and Ebor.
York has won the title of ‘Best Racecourse in the UK’ three times: in 1997, 2003 and 2017.
York’s history of racing is long and varied, with archaeological evidence suggesting there may even have been racing on the site as far back as Neolithic times! It’s not clear exactly when horse racing arrived in a formal fashion to the Knavesmire (the name of the site it sits on today), but the official party line is that it was in 1730 when it moved from a nearby sit due to flooding. The first structured programme of races was definitely in 1751; making York just the second such racecourse in the UK. By the 19th century there were two regular main meetings at York, and the popularity of racing continued to grow thereafter.
In 1982, the Pope visited to give mass and attracted an estimated 190,000 people. Two years later in 1984, the racecourse held its first-ever music concert, and in 2014, it served as the starting line for the Tour De France.
The undisputed main event at York is the Ebor Festival, held annually in August. It’s a four-day meet, running Wednesday through to Saturday and consists of the Juddmonte International Day, Ladies’ Day, Nunthorpe Day and Ebor Day. The latter includes the Ebor Handicap, run over 1 mile, 5 furlongs and 188 yards, and is the most valuable flat handicap in Europe. The name ‘Ebor’ is a shortened form of ‘Eboracum’, the Roman name for York. The Ebor meeting attracts around 90,000 people across the four-day period. The main races of the season include:
- The Ebor Handicap – the most valuable handicap in Europe, over 1m 6furlongs, the race was won 5 times by flat jockey legend Lester Piggott.
- Nunthorpe Stakes – one of the premier sprint races in Europe, this Group One sprint is open to horses from 2 years olds and up and is ran over the minimum flat trip of 5 furlongs. Piggott won it a staggering 7 times, whilst brilliant winners have included Lochsong. Mecca’s Angel and Battash.
- Yorkshire Oaks – another Group 1, this time for fillies and mares aged 3 and over. Ran over 1m4 furlongs, previous great winners have included Enable, Islington and Midday.
- Juddomote Stakes – a top 10 furlong Group 1 race, is one of the top middle-distance races in the racing calendar, winners including Sea The Star, Australia and star Frankel.
York Racecourse Map
York is a left-handed and flat race track. It is known as being a fair track and most horses, if good enough, tend to fair well. A long galloping straight makes it ideal for strong galloping horses who are able to find their stride. The long straight also means that most horses tend to get a clear run at some point. In recent seasons, the field tends to come more down the centre of the track particularly when the going is soft. It has a straight 5f and 6f track, whilst 7f races start on an off-chute. All other races are run on the round course.
York Racecourse Address
Phone: 01904 620911
How to Get To York Racecourse
By Car – the racecourse is just south-west of the city centre, but easiest accessed by road rather than walking. There’s free car parking every day of the year on-site. The postcode for your stat nav is Yo23 1ex.
By Shuttle Bus – shuttle buses run from York Railway Station frequently on race days, with return tickets normally costing £3. Shuttle bus tickets can be bought with race tickets online or from the driver. Several coaches and minibuses also serve the racecourse and park either on-site or across the road at The Chocolate Works.
By Air – as with many racecourses, there are facilities for helicopter landings and private jets, although this is considerably less popular at York than it is some other British courses.
Hotels Near York Racecourse
The city of York is a tourist destination in its own right, so there’s plenty of hotels to be found in the city centre including:
- Travelodge York
- Premier Inn York
- Holiday Express
- The Alhambra Court – a traditionally and somewhat royally decorated, situated less than 2 miles from the York Minster with lots of package deals on rooms.
- Jorvik House – overlooks the abbey and is scandi-designed.
- The Grand Hotel and Spa – will deliver a 5 star experience.
We strongly recommend that you check all the options out on Booking.com below:
Best York Races Betting Sites
From our research, here is a list of the best York Races betting sites:
- May – Dante Meeting. The main races include the Musidora (a key Oaks Trial), The Yorkshire Cup and the Dante; one of the most significant trials for the Epsom Derby.
- May – Spring Meeting. The big race is the Bronte Cup.
- June – Mid-summer Race Day.
- July – John Smiths Meeting. The Summer Stakes and John Smith Cup are the feature races.
- July – Music Showcase Weekend and the Lyric Stakes.
- Auguster – Ebor Meeting. A host of Group 1 races including the Juddmonte, Yorkshire Oaks, Nunthorpe and the Ebor.
- September – September Sunday Meeting and Press Family Raceday.
- October – Finale Meeting. The Corak Sprint Trophy brings down the season in York.
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast:
York Racecourse Events
The conferencing and hospitality facilities allow for lots of public and private events to take place year-round. Music concerts take place throughout the summer, and themed parties every Christmas and New Year. The venue is available to be booked for private functions also, and is a popular wedding destination for the county; booked well in advance throughout ‘wedding season’!
A stunning racecourse with brilliant races and a huge amount of Yorkshire charm.
At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds and great offers when signing up.
A day at York races is something to remember forever and the Ebor Festival is one of the highlights of the British sporting calendar. Hugely recommended.
Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland
Our team as of October 2020 our teams at British Racecourses have reviewed the other following racecourses;
- Aintree Racecourse Guide
- Ascot Races
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse Guide
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Curragh Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Downpatrick Racecourse Guide
- Dundalk Stadium Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse Guide
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Galway Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Leopardstown Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Naas Racecourse Guide
- Navan Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Races