Loading content…

The Betway Yorkshire Cup

Clever Cookie Betway Yorkshire Cup win
  • Distance
  • Class
  • Group
  • Prize money
Buy tickets


The Betway Yorkshire Cup, which opens the British Champions Series Long Distance division, is run over 1 mile 6 furlongs (2,800 metres) at York and open to four-year-olds or older. What does it take to win this Group 2 race? The late Sir Henry Cecil knew better than most. He trained the 2010 winner Manifest, 23 years after his previous success. Cecil also trained top-class stayer Ardross, the only horse to win the race twice, in 1981 and 1982.

Lester Piggott was on board on both occasions, giving him his seventh and eighth Yorkshire Cup success. The race, established in 1927 and run in mid-May, was originally contested over two miles.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 4 wins (1991, 2000-1, 2003)
Current leading trainer: Saeed bin Suroor, 5 wins (1995-6, 2000-1, 2003)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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



Clever Cookie overcame fears about the ground being too quick for him to run out a tenacious winner of the 2016 renewal.

Peter Niven had reservations about running his star stayer in the first race in the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series because of the good to firm going but was left celebrating a thrilling triumph.

The 1m6f contest was steadily-run and developed into something of a sprint after habitual front-runner Flying Officer, the favourite, was withdrawn shortly before the start after parting company with Frankie Dettori and galloping loose.

PJ McDonald, standing in for Daniel Tudhope, injured in a fall at York the previous day, was short of space for a while aboard Clever Cookie as the race reached its climax but once in the clear the 5-2 chance galloped on gamely to prevail by half a length.

Curbyourenthusiasm, held up in rear for much of the journey, kept on well to claim the runner-up spot off Second Step, who started 10-11 favourite.

“It’s a massive feeling for me as horses like this for me to ride are few and far between,” said McDonald, who was enjoying his first taste of QIPCO British Champions Series glory. “To be able to show that if you give me the animal I can get the job done is a great confidence boost.

“I was worried for the first half of the race we were going too slow. The only saving grace was he was completely asleep underneath me.

“When I gave him a little squeeze to pick up, he changed his legs and I thought he wasn’t going to like the ground, but when he knuckled down he really got to the line well.”

Clever Cookie was winning at York for the fourth time and gaining consolation for his narrow defeat at the hands of Flyng Officer in the Long Distance Cup on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October.

“It’s absolutely marvellous,” Niven said. “They’ve dawdled away and that shouldn’t have suited us and the ground shouldn’t have suited us.

“To be fair, he’s always been able to go on decent ground, I’ve just been worried about him. They put a drop of water on last night and that encouraged me to run. He’s overcome loads of obstacles and he’s shown what he’s worth.”

His pride and joy was wearing first-time cheekpieces but Niven said: “I don’t think they made the slightest bit of difference.”


Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
{position} {ownerName}

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.

  • Course plan
  • Course Intro

  • Buy tickets Online ticket sales for all British Champions Series fixtures Buy tickets

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

View on Google Maps

View fixtures