For the past 35 years, the Tote's association with the race, under both the Tote and Totesport banners, has been the centrepiece of their race sponsorship. But there are changes ahead under the new regime, as Betfred chairman Fred Done made clear. "I'm delighted to be sponsoring the Betfred Ebor for the first time this year and hope that this will be the beginning of a long-standing and fruitful relationship with York racecourse. I plan to make the race bigger and better than before under the Betfred banner."
Those changes begin this year, as the race will be run on a Saturday for the first time since it was introduced on the Knavesmire in 1843. The Betfred Ebor will be the feature race on the final day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Alongside change we must hope for some aspects of continuity. One of the welcome points about the race is that it is often very open, with good priced winners from relatively small stables. For example, Far Ahead's win at 33/1 in 1997, when J Eyre was the winning trainer, with horses from the Gosden, Cumani, Hills and Stoute yards in the next four places.
This year's renewal is shaping up to be the usual competitive affair, with Satapadi and Mount Athos vying for the favourite's position at 9/1 in the ante post market, and a further 30 horses quoted at 16/1 or less. At the longest price of 100/1 is Sirgarfieldsobers. But then it's not cricket, is it?