Racing correspondent Tom Richmond offers five reflections from the 2015 Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
1. York’s investment in prize money – each of the 25 contests had at least £50,000 of prize money – means this summer festival is second-only to Royal Ascot in status.
2. The decision to switch the Betfred Ebor, Europe’s richest handicap, to a Saturday in 2011 appears vindicated, Saturday’s renewal attracted a record attendance of 30,251 racegoers. The meeting’s total attendance of 88,553 spectators was up 10 per cent on last year.
3. This was a week when the fillies usurped the colts – all three Group Ones went to horses from the fairer sex in Arabian Queen (Juddmonte International), Pleascach (Yorkshire Oaks) and Mecca’s Angel (Nunthorpe). Boroughbridge jockey Paul Mulrennan’s emotional reaction to Mecca’s Angel victory, it was the rider’s first success at the highest level, was the moment of the week.
4. Horses still make fools of trainers. Despite saddling five winners, Skipton-born William Haggas clearly did not envisage Ajaya being a Gimcrack winner at the start of the season.
5. What now for out of sorts Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien? Rumours abound that he could be replaced by Nawton trainer David O’Meara. Asked about his reaction to newspaper speculation, O’Meara said: “Ignore them and keep shrugging your shoulders.”