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The Betway Yorkshire Cup

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Dartmouth and Ryan Moore win the Betway Yorkshire Cup at York from Simple Verse, Endless Time and High Jinx for The Queen. 19/5/2017 Pic Steve Davies/Racingfotos.com

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History

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

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2017

Dartmouth, owned by Her Majesty The Queen, came out on top in a tremendous finish to the £165,000 Betway Yorkshire Cup at York on Friday.

Five horses were in with a chance in the final furlong and were spread right across the track, but it was the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth, the 11-4 favourite, who got to the front close home to snatch the verdict by a neck from Simple Verse, the 2015 St Leger winner.

The first two were split by the length of the track and close up, between them, was he pace-setting High Jinx. Having his first race for two years, he kept on in gritty fashion and was just a neck away to claim third spot on his first start for Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby.

Godolphin runner Endless Time was also bang on the premises but Clever Cookie, the winner last year, could not get involved.

“He felt very easy the whole way, he’s got mile-and-a-half pace, he was just doing a little too much in stages,” Moore said: “He travelled beautifully and is such an honest horse, but it didn’t help that I was apart from them and he’s done very well.

“That’s his fourth Group race now, we know what he is, he’s a very honest horse.”

It was Her Majesty’s first Champions Series victor since Estimate won the Gold Cup in 2013. First prize was £93,571.

Her Majesty’s racing advisor John Warren pointed towards the defence of his Hardwicke Stakes crown at Royal Ascot over a mile and a half as being next for Dartmouth.

He said: “I didn’t think he was going to get there because they were so wide. Ryan had this plan to come this side, so he knew what he was doing, but I don’t think he anticipated they were going to be so far away width wise as they were.

“It was hard to see from the stands whether he was going to get up. It was a remarkable ride, he’s an absolute professional.

“This horse is exceptionally brave, so tough and genuine. He always tries. Today proved he can pull out all the stops when he wants to.

“I suspect Sir Michael will be looking at the Hardwicke again. That’s his sort of race.

“He’s an interesting horse because this (an extended mile and five furlongs) is as far as he’s gone. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the season unfolds after Ascot. We will have to look at the opportunities.”

He added: “The Gold Cup would be a big ask. The thing is he would give his all and may leave his whole season behind. My view is that he’s so good at what he’s doing there’s no need to find out.”

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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