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Ebor Handicap Given ‘Golden Ticket’ Status for Melbourne Cup

IMAGO / Galoppfoto

Conditions for the 2023 Melbourne Cup at Flemington have been released. They include the introduction of a seventh race offering ballot exemption.

A new ‘Golden Ticket’ is now offered to the winner of the Ebor Handicap at York, England in August.

Britain’s Richest Flat Handicap

The Melbourne Cup conditions are often tweaked, the addition of a new Golden Ticket race being a major change. Now worth $8.4 million, the Melbourne Cup has new challenges from Sydney but its popularity overseas and especially in Britain means this move is a positive one.

The Ebor is Britain’s richest Flat handicap with most of the prize money going into Group races. Now, owners and trainers have a whole new incentive to win it.

A 2800m race, the Ebor was won last year by Trawlerman having been given an enterprising ride by Frankie Dettori who has announced he will ride in the Melbourne Cup this year before retiring.

This year’s Ebor is rung at York on Saturday, August 26. The Melbourne Cup trophy will be there as it goes on tour, with ballot exemption now offered for Flemington.

York’s Ebor already has a good record in the Melbourne Cup. We’ve highlighted this before as a race to watch. Several Ebor horses have travelled to Flemington down the years.

As well as the cost and veterinary implications, one thing holding British runners back has often been the fear of missing out in the ballot. The Golden Ticket means that simply; if you win the Ebor, you’re in the Melbourne Cup.

Though some 2400-metre horses have stayed the extra distance, the 2800m Ebor is more of a natural fit. A little bit of pace is required to win York’s showpiece handicap, but the race is considered a staying race meaning it is a better lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.

Linking these two great races is a wonderful move. Before 2020, York winners finished in the top ten in the Melbourne Cup in three out of four years.

Golden Ticket Race Among Conditions Changes

Many racing fans in Britain watch the Melbourne Cup live, despite its early start time there. One of their biggest betting handicaps now joins six domestic races offering ballot exemption.

Already, golden tickets are offered in the Roy Higgins over 2600 metres and the Andrew Ramsden over 2800 metres. They are joined by the Bart Cummings over 2500m and the Caulfield Cup over 2400m. Finally, the shorter Cox Plate over 2040m and the Archer Stakes over 2500m also offer exemption.

Declaration dates and amendments to balloting conditions have also been announced.

Connections now have to nominate horses by Tuesday, September 5. Also, horses winning a golden ticket or any Group 1 over 2000m or more will pass the first ballot. The Ebor being a “win and you’re in” is the big headline, making the race a great spectacle in August.

Gary Christie
105 articles
For more than 20 years, Gary has been immersed in the worlds of sports writing and betting. As well as writing on the subjects of sports and horse racing, Gary has spent years privately handicapping horse races around the world in order to bet professionally. While having appeared on TV and spoken publicly at racecourses, Gary has a passion for writing. He produces articles every day for various territories including North America, UK, Europe and Australia.
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