The Sky Bet Ebor, the famous handicap run as the centrepiece of the final day of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival, has become the first and only International race to be awarded a “golden ticket” for the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has released the conditions for the 2023 Group 1 AUD$8.4 million (approx. £4.4m) Lexus Melbourne Cup, with the introduction of a seventh golden ticket into the race that stops a nation™.
The Sky Bet Ebor Handicap will become the only international race to offer automatic entry into the Lexus Melbourne Cup, with Britain’s richest flat handicap at £500,000 now set to give connections an even bigger incentive to win.
The Ebor Handicap will be run at York Racecourse on Saturday 26 August, with the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy to attend as part of its four-day visit to the Knavesmire, during the 21st annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.
The Ebor has a strong Melbourne Cup record, with several Ebor runners travelling to Melbourne to compete over the years. The most recent notable was 2016 York winner, Heartbreak City, who finished a close second in the Melbourne Cup that November..
Now, York runners, wherever they sit in the UK handicap weights, know they can travel to Australia with the confidence of a start in the Victoria showpiece.
VRC Chief Executive Steve Rosich said the alignment with York Racecourse 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.
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.
Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse William Derby said the visit of the physical Cup will now take on extra special meaning:
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.
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.
The Ebor joins The Lexus Roy Higgins (2600m), The Lexus Andrew Ramsden (2800m), The Lexus Bart Cummings (2500m), the Caulfield Cup (2400m), the Cox Plate (2040m) and the Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) as “win and you’re in” races.
Other key changes to the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Conditions include the change of declaration dates and two amendments to the balloting conditions.
Connections are required to officially nominate their horses for the Lexus Melbourne Cup by Tuesday 5 September 2023, with entries closing at midday. See below for full list of declaration dates.
In another slight balloting change, any placegetter from a golden ticket race or any Group 1 race held over 2000m or further will pass the first ballot for the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Key Dates and Fees
Nominations/Entries 12:00 pm (AEST) Tuesday 5 September – $1,500
Late Nomination 12:00pm (AEST) Tuesday 12 September – $5,500
First Declarations 12:00pm (AEST) Tuesday 3 October – $2,000
Second Declarations 12:00pm (AEST) Tuesday 17 October – $3,000
Third Declarations 10:00am (AEST) Monday 30 October – $4,000
Final Declarations 4:30pm (AEST) Saturday 4 November – $49,500
Recent Ebor winners to Melbourne Cup
2022: Trawlerman stayed in UK to finish 3rd in stayers feature at BCD
2021: limited travel, Sonnyboyliston stayed in Ireland to win G1Irish St Leger
2020: pandemic year
2018: Muntahaa: 9th
2017: Nakeeta: 5th
2016 :Heartbreak City 2nd
2015: Litigant n/a
2014:Mutual Regard 14th
2013: Tiger Cliff n/a
2012: Willing Foe ran 14th in 2014
2011: Moyenne Corniche 15th
2010: Dirar n/a
2008: All the good won a Caulfield Cup
So top 10 finishes in 3 of 4 renewals pre pandemic