Breaking news: Ebor Festival abandoned for rest of week

THE remainder of York’s prestigious Ebor Festival has been cancelled as the course has failed to recover from the recent heavy rain.

Following an inspection this morning chief executive and clerk of the course William Derby said: “This is hugely disappointing news. A further shower of rain fell this morning and the forecast is not encouraging. Simply, the track has not recovered and remains not suitable for racing on Wednesday lunchtime. Consequently we have decided to make an early announcement to allow racegoers to make alternative plans.”

York’s management have yet to put a figure on what the cancellation of the meeting will cost them.

The total rainfall for the month of August is now well over four times the average.

Organisers said badges and tickets booked in advance for the Ebor Festival will be refunded automatically. The organisers of hospitality parties will be contacted by the racecourse team.

Mr Derby added that York is working with the British Horseracing Authority and other racecourses to explore placing the feature races at other upcoming meetings – with an announcement expected at a later date.

Mr Derby added: “It is bitterly disappointing that a Festival that has been looked forward to for so long should fall victim to the weather. I remain very proud of the team in all their efforts to get the racing on and am grateful for the many messages of support that we have received.”

A £2.5m investment in a comprehensive scheme to drain and irrigate the course is set for completion ahead of the Dante Festival in May 2009.

The Ebor race meeting is York’s most lucrative event of the year and a feature in the diaries of many in the region’s business community.

More than £2.7m in prize money – a record figure – was on offer over the four-day festival.

Tens of thousands of people were expected to make the journey to the Knavesmire this week.