It is best to enjoy these spring/summer festivals while you can, as they certainly seem to be over in a blink of an eye. Friday sees the culmination of York’s Dante meeting, with the day being crowned by this stellar staying event, the Yorkshire Cup.
First run in 1927 as a handicap, this race is now a Group 2 contest over a distance just under one mile and 6 furlongs and one of the most prestigious long distance flat races in the calendar.
Yorkshire Cup Course Map
The 1m 6f Yorkshire Cup begins on a straight section to the north of the racecourse. Runners travel south along the back straight before turning for home in front of the stands.
Yorkshire Cup Past Winners
|2021||Spanish Mission||11/2||Andrew Balding||William Buick|
|2019||Stradivarius||4/5||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2018||Stradivarius||4/6||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2017||Dartmouth||11/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2016||Clever Cookie||5/2||Peter Niven||P J McDonald|
|2015||Snow Sky||5/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2014||Gospel Choir||7/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2013||Glen's Diamond||25/1||Richard Fahey||Tony Hamilton|
|2012||Red Cadeaux||4/1||Ed Dunlop||Tom McLaughlin|
|2011||Duncan||11/4||John Gosden||William Buick|
|2010||Manifest||13/8||Henry Cecil||Tom Queally|
|2009||Ask||2/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2008||Geordieland||13/2||Jamie Osborne||Shane Kelly|
|2007||Sergeant Cecil||100/30||Rod Millman||Jimmy Fortune|
|2006||Percussionist||9/1||Howard Johnson||Darryll Holland|
|2005||Franklins Gardens||13/2||Mark Tompkins||Darryll Holland|
|2004||Millenary||9/2||John Dunlop||Richard Quinn|
|2003||Mamool||11/2||Saeed bin Suroor||Frankie Dettori|
|2002||Zindabad||2/1||Mark Johnston||Kevin Darley|
About the Yorkshire Cup
The advent and growth of all-weather racing has shaken things up when it comes to flat racing. The number of big races and healthy prizes available on the all-weather allows connections to keep even some of their top string of horses running all year round but for many there is an important distinction to be made between flat racing on all-weather surfaces and on turf.
For those that consider themselves racing purists, the flat racing season has a clear schedule beginning with the Lincoln Handicap in April. As one of the big races from the Dante Festival at York, the Yorkshire Cup plays an important part in the earlier stages of the flat racing season. This Group 2 race takes place the day after the Dante Stakes at York Racecourse and always attracts some of the very best stayers on the flat to compete over its 1 mile 6 furlong trip.
A PLATFORM FOR YOUNGER HORSES
The Yorkshire Cup is open to horses aged four and older. Recent years have brought a few older winners such as Clever Cookie in 2016 and Sergeant Cecil in 2007, both of whom were eight, but the general trend suggests that it is a race in which impressive younger stayers have a great chance to show just how good they really are.
2018 and 2019 winner, Stradivarius, is an excellent case in point. Prior to his first victory, he finished third in the previous season’s St Leger but really announced himself by winning the Yorkshire Cup on his seasonal reappearance as a four-year-old.
Stradivarius went on to win four more times that season including the Gold Cup and the Long Distance Cup (both at Ascot), the Goodwood Cup and on his return to Ascot in the Lonsdale Cup. That sort of success so soon after the Yorkshire Cup is far from the norm but Stradivarius is not the only younger horse to kick on and have success at a Group 1 level leading to the race’s reputation as a hotbed for up and coming staying talent.
THE TRENDS TO CONSIDER
In 2019 Stradivarius became the sixth straight winner of the Yorkshire Cup to be sent off as either the favourite or second favourite, a run only broken in 2021 when Spanish Mission won as the third favourite. Although the odd surprise winner has gone in, in recent years this is generally a race that the market has a strong handle on and is therefore often a good one for punters.
The timing of the Yorkshire Cup, the demands of the staying division and the number of big prizes coming later in the summer mean that many competitors are making their first appearance of the season. Still, previous form is something to bear in mind as most winners had at least one run over this trip before whilst an official rating of 110 is around the minimum required.
A RACE FOR SPECIALISTS
The staying division of flat racing is a specialist one. That extends beyond the horses. In fact, only one horse has ever won the Yorkshire Cup twice. That’s a record that’s unlikely to change given the weight penalty given to winners of Group 1 and 2 races.
In terms of jockeys, experience certainly helps. The legendary Lester Piggott knew just what it took to guide a horse around this 1 mile 6 furlong trip and used all of his experience to ride a record eight winners of the Yorkshire Cup between 1961 and 1982.
MOST SUCCESSFUL YORKSHIRE CUP JOCKEYS: 1927 – 2021
|Wins||Jockey||First Winner||Last Winner|
|8||Lester Piggott||Pandofell (1961)||Ardross (1982)|
|6||Frankie Dettori||Arzanni (1991)||Stradivarius (2019)|
|5||Pat Eddery||Eastern Mystic (1986)||Celeric (1997)|
|4||Ryan Moore||Ask (2009)||Dartmouth (2017)|
|4||Harry Carr||Premonition (1954)||Raise You Ten (1964)|
|4||Bill Rickaby||Suzerain (1938)||Romany Air (1956)|
|2||William Buick||Duncan (2011)||Spanish Mission (2021)|
|2||Darryll Holland||Franklins Gardens (2005)||Percussionist (2006)|
|2||Richard Quinn||Assessor (1993)||Millenary (2004)|
|2||Steve Cauthen||Verd-Antique (1987)||Mountain Kingdom (1989)|
|2||John Reid||Pragmatic (1979)||Key To My Heart (1994)|
|2||Willie Carson||Smuggler (1978)||Band (1984)|
|2||Joe Mercer||Buoy (1974)||Riboson (1975)|
|2||Doug Smith||Kingstone (1945)||Honour Bound (1963)|
|2||Billy Nevett||Silversol (1937)||Miraculous Atom (1950)|
|2||Harry Wragg||The Bastard (1930)||Finis (1939)|
|2||Tommy Weston||Templestowe (1927)||Valerius (1936)|
|2||Joe Childs||The Scout II (1931)||Trimdon (1932)|
In recent years Ryan Moore has an especially strong record thanks largely to his partnership with Sir Michael Stoute who has his own excellent record even if he is someway short of Cecil Boyd-Rochfort’s impressive mark of saddling seven Yorkshire Cup winners.
MOST SUCCESSFUL YORKSHIRE CUP TRAINERS: 1927 – 2021
|Wins||Trainer||First Winner||Last Winner|
|7||Cecil Boyd-Rochfort||The Scout II (1931)||Apprentice (1965)|
|5||Sir Michael Stoute||Rock Hopper (1992)||Dartmouth (2017)|
|5||Saeed bin Suroor||Moonax (1995)||Mamool (2003)|
|4||Sir Henry Cecil||Ardross (1981)||Manifest (2010)|
|4||Dick Hern||Buoy (1974)||Band (1984)|
|3||John Gosden||Duncan (2011)||Stradivarius (2019)|
|3||Joseph Lawson||Trimdon (1932)||Stirling Castle (1946)|
|2||John Dunlop||Moon Madness (1988)||Millenary (2004)|
|2||Richard Hannon Snr.||Assessor (1993)||Churlish Charm (1999)|
|2||Luca Cumani||Eastern Mystic (1986)||Arzanni (1991)|
|2||Freddie Maxwell||Pandofell (1961)||Alto Volante (1971)|
|2||Noel Murless||Aunt Edith (1966)||Rangong (1970)|
|2||Charles Elsey||Woodburn (1949)||Brioche (1958)|
|2||Jack Jarvis||The Bastard (1930)||Eastern Emperor (1952)|
|2||Frank Butters||Orpen (1933)||Felicitation (1935)|