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The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

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History

This Group 1 sprint event may not have the most evocative of names – Nunthorpe is an area of York, to the north of the racecourse – but it has plenty going for it. For starters, it is one of a limited number of races in which two-year-olds can compete against their elders. It has also produced some dramatic races.

Take the 2010 running. It was won by ‘no-hoper’ Sole Power, at 100-1. To complete a good day for the bookmakers, the third horse home was Piccadilly Filly – also unfancied at 100-1. The previous two runnings went to the popular northern-trained sprinter, Bordlerlescott, star of Robin Bastiman’s small stable. Sole Power won it again in 2014, this time as favourite.

The race, over five furlongs (1,000 metres) and staged on the third day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, has another thing going for it. It is currently sponsored by the prestigious Coolmore Stud.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 3 wins (1993, 1995, 1998)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 2 wins (1999, 2001)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Brilliant Battaash breaks Dayjur's course record

Battaash made it third time lucky in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes with a blistering display to power home in the five-furlong Group One feature at York.

The Charlie Hills-trained gelding silenced his critics as he smashed the course record, previously held since 1990 in this race by Dayjur in the same colours of owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Leading two furlongs out under Jim Crowley, Battaash (7-4) spreadeagled the field as he cruised to victory by three and three-quarter lengths from Soldier’s Call, with Aidan O’Brien’s So Perfect another length back in third.

So Perfect’s stablemate Ten Sovereigns, winner of the July Cup, was sent off the 13-8 favourite, but had to settle for sixth place in the QIPCO British Champions Series contest.

Hills said: “Fantastic. All the chat saying he doesn’t like York and he’s broken the track record, and that’s Dayjur’s track record as well.

“He was so cool and calm. It was a good decision to keep him at home last night. He loves his stable at home and it’s nice to keep a routine with him.

“I was really pleased with the draw and Jim gave him an absolute peach of a ride. He got a lovely tow in there. This is some horse – he’s seriously fast.”

He added on plans: “He’s obviously been gelded so we can come back here again next year. I’d love to go to Ireland (Flying Five at the Curragh) with him in a few weeks and then hopefully go to France and why not the Breeder’s Cup. I’ll have to speak to the owner.”

Archie Watson was over the moon with the performance of Soldier’s Call.

He said: “I’m delighted – he’s got bags of pace, quick ground suits and an easy five. He’s bumped into one of the best sprinters of recent times, but he’s ran a huge race to be second and I’m delighted with him.”

So narrowly denied last year, Mabs Cross was fourth on this occasion, a length behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained So Perfect.

Her trainer Michael Dods said: “He (Gerald Mosse) said the ground was just too fast. He said he knew she didn’t like it over first two (furlongs) and he’s looking forward to the Abbaye, where hopefully there’ll be a bit more cut.

“She finished well and ran her race. She never lets us down. It was a course record time – 55 seconds. I thought we were quick when we won it with Mecca’s Angel, but we weren’t that quick!”

Results

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The Course

The city of York and its racecourse have a long and colourful history, involving – among others - the Vikings, the Romans, Pope John Paul II, highwayman Dick Turpin, and the Princess Royal.

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There’s no official record of the Vikings racing horses at York – they apparently preferred sacking and pillaging – but the Romans certainly did, during the reign of Emperor Severus 2,000 years ago. Severus, indeed, breathed his final breath in ‘Eboracum’ – that’s Roman for York. So did Turpin. He was hanged at the Knavesmire racecourse site in 1739. Pope John Paul II enjoyed a friendlier reception, lauded by 200,000 pilgrims at an open-air mass in 1982, while Princess Anne also enjoyed huge support when winning the Queen Mother’s Cup on Insular in 1988.

The North Yorkshire track, voted Racecourse of the Year in 2003, continues to attract the crowds today, with around 350,000 flocking through the gates each year. York comes into its own during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August, the meeting boasting such races as the Juddmonte International Stakes, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, and the totesport Ebor Handicap. Lester Piggott won the Ebor Handicap a record five times – the first in 1958 and the last 25 years later, in 1983.

Getting there

Tadcaster Rd York,
York
YO23 1EX

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