Which are the most valuable races in Britain?

The most valuable horse races in Britain naturally include some of the most prestigious, and most coveted, contests on the horse racing calendar. Traditionally the fourth Classic of the season, the Derby Stakes, or Derby, for short, run over a mile-and-a-half at Epsom, is currently the most valuable horse race run in Britain, with a total prize money of £1.62 million. Elsewhere on the Flat, the Ebor Handicap, run over a mile-and-three-quarters at York, has received a massive boost in prize money since Sky Bet took over sponsorship of the race in 2018 and now has a total prize fund of £1 million; it is, in fact, the most valuable race of its kind, not only in Britain, but in the whole of Europe.

In 2020, two Group One races at Royal Ascot, namely the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, run over a mile-and-a-quarter, and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, run over six furlongs, were due for an increase in prize money, to £1 million from £750,000 and £600,000, respectively. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, prize money at the Royal Meeting was amended, such that all eight Group One races were run for £250,000.

Generally speaking, National Hunt racing is less lucrative than Flat racing, in terms of the prize money on offer. Nevertheless, while not quite on a par with the Derby, the Grand National, run over four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs at Aintree, offers total prize money of £1 million, making it the most valuable steeplechase run in Europe.

Which is the most valuable flat handicap in Europe?

The most valuable flat handicap in Europe is the Ebor Handicap, run over approximately 1 mile and 6 furlongs, or 1 mile 5 furlongs and 188 yards, to be precise, at York Racecourse during the so-called ‘Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival’ in August each year. Inaugurated, as the Great Ebor Handicap, in 1843, the race takes it name from Eboracum, a Roman fortress town that ultimately evolved into the modern-day city of York.

The Ebor Handicap was first sponsored by the Tote in 1976 and sponsorship passed to bookmakers Betfred following their purchase of the Tote, for a report £265 million, in 2011. By that stage, the Ebor Handicap was already the most valuable flat handicap in Europe with total prize money of £210,000 and by 2017 that figure had increased to £285,000.

In 2018, Sky Bet, the sports betting division of Sky Betting & Gaming, was unveiled as the new sponsor of the Ebor Handicap. As part of a five-year sponsorship deal with York Racecourse, Sky Bet increased the total prize money for the Ebor Handicap to £500,000 in 2018 and, again, to £1,000,000 in 2019. In 2019, the race conditions were changed to exclude three-year-olds, so the Ebor Handicap is now contested by horses aged four years and upwards.