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The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

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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




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


Dettori stunned as Marsha pips Lady Aurelia

Marsha pipped American raider Lady Aurelia by a nose in a dramatic renewal of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

The two flying fillies were locked as one passing the post but Frankie Dettori, riding Lady Aurelia, was convinced he had won and saluted the crowd passing the post and put a finger to his lips.

However, it was the Italian who was left silenced as it was Marsha, trained by Sir Mark Prescott and ridden by Luke Morris, who had landed the spoils.

The Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia was 10-11 favourite to add to her King’s Stand Stakes victory at Royal Ascot, with Battaash expected to give her most to think about in the five-furlong Group One QIPCO British Champions Series contest.

However, it was Marsha who stole to show for her 10,000 owners – the Elite Racing Club – as she was produced with a perfectly-timed charge by Morris to grab the glory in the final stride. Dettori said: “I’m in shock, I thought I’d won a neck.”

Morris had also feared the worst, saying: “I wasn’t sure and when I saw Frankie put his arm up, I was gutted as I thought he had won, then someone said congratulations to me and it turned into jubilation.

“Her performance in the Palace House was exceptional, but she’s been a bit below par since. Going down today, though, she felt more on her mettle and more alive. Sir Mark is a genius. I have been with him five years now and we’ve had some great days.

“It’s fantastic for the owners. It’s great for the man in the street to be involved with a horse like this.”

Prescott missed the moment of Group One glory as he was in Ireland on a two-day trip looking at yearlings. His assistant William Butler said: “Lady Aurelia beat us at Ascot and was unbeatable on the day, but it’s a five-furlong race and there is always a chance every time you turn up. Our filly has not missed a beat all year.”

Ward was proud of Lady Aurelia in defeat, and offered no excuses. He said: “She’s a true champion, these things happen. She ran a brilliant race and the other filly ran us down.

“We were just beaten by the hair on my chinny chin chin. I thought we’d won simply because Frankie did, but that’s racing. I have been second in this race twice now and it’s tough to take.”

Battaash proved difficult to load and, after racing prominently, he finished out of the frame, with his stablemate Cotai Glory claiming third, with trainer Charlie Hills feeling he had possibly paid for his pre-race antics.

He said: “Battaash got caught saddling up and became agitated after that. Cotai Glory has run a big race and was fourth in it last year. There’s talk he could go to New Zealand and stand at stud.”


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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.

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,
YO23 1EX

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