York Racecourse Guide

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!

York Racecourse

Overview

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.

History

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.

York Races

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 Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races

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

York Racecourse
Racecourse Road
Knavesmire Road
York
YO23 1EX
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.

York Racecourse

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:

We strongly recommend that you check all the options out on Booking.com below:

Booking.com

Best York Betting Sites

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.

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

  • bet365 Horse Racing
    Bet365 Horse Racing
    GET UP TO £100 IN BET CREDITS

    New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Horse Racing
    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Horse Racing
    Coral Horse Racing
    GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    BET £5 GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Horse Racing
    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Horse Racing
    Unibet Horse Racing Logo
    MONEY BACK AS A BONUS UP TO £40

    New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply

York Fixtures

  • 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.

York Weather

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 WEATHER

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’!

Summary

A stunning racecourse with brilliant races and a huge amount of Yorkshire charm. 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 August 2020 our teams at British Racecourses have reviewed the other following racecourses;

FAQs

🏇Is York Races flat or jumps?

York has consolidated its position as one of the leading British racecourses on the Flat. Between 1867 to 1885 it used to home jump racing. But in the 21st century, it is now a flat only horse racing track.

🏇Can you pay on the day at York Races?

Yes, you can buy tickets on the day. But if you want discounts for party bookings you need to book in advance. Bare in mind summer months will be extremely busy so arrive early if buying tickets on the day.

🏇Awards Won for York Racecourse?

York won Racecourse of the Year title in 2019 from British Racecourses. It also won awards in 1997, 2003 and 2017 from The Racegoers Club for being the best UK horse racing track. The Times newspaper survey had York on top of all the racecourses in the UK.

🏇Is there a dress code for York races?

There isn’t a strict dress code as such but most tend to be smart, with most gentlemen choosing smart trousers and formal shoes. Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket, collared shirt and tie in the County Stand, although a cravat may be worn instead of a tie. There is no formal dress code for ladies, however, the course says “think wedding guest attire”, so smart, fashionable and stylish.

🏇What are the main races at York?

There are many great races throughout the year, the main ones are the Musidora, Dante, Nunthorpe Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks, The International and The Ebor.