York winners to be guaranteed slot in Ebor from next year
The winners of this year's Melrose Handicap and next year's Jorvik Handicap and Listed Grand Cup will in future all be guaranteed a start in the Ebor, it was announced on Saturday.
Sky Bet sponsor all four of the York races, with the 2019 Ebor to be worth £1 million for the first time.
The winners of the three 'Race to the Ebor' contests will be guaranteed a start in the big handicap, the field for which will increase to 22 in 2019 from 20 this year thanks to a new set of starting stalls, provided they are entered and confirmed in the normal way.
In a further boost to connections, if these horses run in the Ebor they will have their entry fee to the race – worth £5,000 – refunded.
In the event that any of the three winners were set to carry the lowest weight in the Ebor, that horse's weight would be raised to the equivalent of the lowest-weighted horse who was set to run through the established entry process.
Michael Shinners, racing PR manager at Sky Bet, said: "The three races in the 'Race To The Ebor' are all slightly different and we hope will build the excitement to August 2019.
William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course at York, added: "We're delighted to have extended our successful partnership with Sky Bet. The 'Race to The Ebor' demonstrates our shared commitment to develop the race programme at York and to showcase what will be the first £1 million handicap race on the Flat in Europe."
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