Ebor winner to be given automatic Melbourne Cup slot

York’s chief executive and clerk of the course William Derby hailed news that the Sky Bet Ebor winner will be handed a “golden ticket” into the Melbourne Cup field as “fantastic”.

The arrangement was announced on Thursday with the Ebor, won by the Frankie Dettori-ridden Trawlerman last year, becoming the seventh win-and-you’re-in race for the £4.4m event in November.

The Ebor, worth £500,000 itself, is the first international race to provide automatic entry into the Australian showpiece event, which has drawn the interest of plenty of European-based trainers over the years.

Dermot Weld was the first to taste success in 1993 with the legendary Vintage Crop and he repeated the feat with Media Puzzle in 2002.

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Alain de Royer-Dupre and Mikel Delzangles then provided France with back-to-back wins with Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), while Andreas Wohler struck gold for Germany in 2014 when Protectionist was ridden to victory by Ryan Moore.

Charlie Appleby is the only UK-based trainer to date to win the Melbourne Cup
Charlie Appleby is the only UK-based trainer to date to win the Melbourne Cup (David Davies/PA)

More recently Joseph O’Brien twice (Rekindling 2017 and Twilight Payment 2020) and Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter (2018) have improved the overseas raiders’ record.

The Cup itself will be in York during the Ebor meeting with the feature race taking place on August 28.

“It is fantastic to officially connect two iconic races in the Sky Bet Ebor and the Lexus Melbourne Cup with the introduction of a golden ticket for the Ebor winner into the race that stops a nation and indeed much of the world,” said Derby.

“With the York winner having finished in the top 10 at Flemington in three of the four years preceding the pandemic, this great news will give confidence to winning connections that that their start at Flemington is secure, further linking two great races.

“We look forward to welcoming the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup on all four days of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival (23-26 August) on its annual tour across the world. This makes us more hopeful that it can return to Britain after the first Tuesday in November.”

Victoria Racing Club chief executive Steve Rosich said the alignment with York was a natural progression.

“The Ebor handicap has been a proven pathway into the Melbourne Cup over the years and it is fantastic to be able to build on the association with Flemington and York racecourse,” he said.

“The introduction of a seventh golden ticket is exciting for both clubs and the connections of all potential Ebor runners. It further cements the Lexus Melbourne Cup’s international reach and appeal.”

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