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.