York’s chief executive William Derby anticipating fireworks at Ebor Festival

Officials at York are anticipating four days of top-class sport as the eyes of the racing world turn to the Knavesmire on Wednesday.

The Sky Bet Ebor Festival offers three Group One races across four days and has attracted some of the best horses in training as the British season is in full swing.

William Haggas' Baaeed - who is currently the world's highest rated runner - will put his unbeaten record on the line as he steps up to 10 furlongs for the first time in the Juddmonte International Stakes, the highlight on the opening day.

"To have the highest-rated horse in the world, Baaeed, running in our flagship race is a great honour for everyone connected to the track," said York's chief executive William Derby.

"Defending champion, Mishriff, who won so convincingly last year, is back and so is Sir Busker, who won the Sky Bet York Stakes here in July over course and distance.

"There's the Godolphin horse, Native Trail, who was second in the 2000 Guineas, so it is a fascinating race.

"It's a small-ish field but with Baaeed stepping up in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time, it looks set to be a thriller."

Baaeed ridden by Jim Crowley wins Queen Anne Stakes

Another highly-anticipated Group One is Thursday's Darley Yorkshire Oaks, with Sir Mark Prescott's four-time Group One winner Alpinista seeking a first domestic title at the highest level after taking big prizes in both Germany and France.

Though Friday's Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes is not restricted to fillies, much of the discussion surrounding the race focuses on James Tate's superb City Walls Stakes winner Royal Aclaim and Richard Fahey's highly-impressive juvenile, The Platinum Queen.

"He haven't got a Battaash dominating the sector and it looks a really open race, you can make a case for a huge number of the Nunthorpe runners," Derby said.

"The Platinum Queen is in off a featherweight of 8st with Hollie Doyle on board as a two-year-old and I think the oldest horse is six, you don't often get a range of two to six in a Flat race.

"The defending champion, Winter Power, hasn't always shown her best form this year but Tim Easterby has always said she'll bloom in August, so it'll be interesting to see how she runs. You could make a case for a dozen of them."

John and Thady Gosden's Stradivarius has been a headline act at York throughout his career and is unbeaten at the track, a record he will look to continue when bids for a fourth Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup on Friday.

"He's unbeaten in six runs on the Knavesmire and he won the two £1million bonuses," Derby said of the eight-year-old.

"The Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, he's won that three times, and the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup, he's won that three times as well.

"He's going for the record of wins on the Knavesmire at seven. It's really exciting to see him back, we weren't sure in May if we would see him back, but he returns and he'll bring the roof down here if he were to win on Friday."

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