Doncaster Racecourse is sometimes referred to as Town Moor, and racing has taken place there since the sixteenth century. It is most famous for being home to the St Leger, England’s oldest Classic. The St Leger is now part of a four-day festival that takes place in September, which includes prestigious races such as the Champagne Stakes, Doncaster Cup, and the May Hill Stakes.
Doncaster is also famous for being the course that stages the first and final flat meetings of the season. The opening meeting includes the Lincoln Handicap, whilst the last features the November Handicap. The course also stages National Hunt Racing including the Grimthorpe Chase and the Sky Bet Yorkshire Chase.
Below are some key facts about Doncaster Racecourse.
Course Type: Flat and Jumps
Current Owner: Arena Leisure Plc
The flat course is a galloping left-handed track that is mainly flat apart from an uphill section approximately 10 furlongs from home called Rose Hill. The course measures just under two miles in length, with races beginning at the St Leger starting point requiring runners to race straight for just under four furlongs before a long sweeping bend brings them into a home straight that measures just under five furlongs in length. However, the course also has an additional chute that allows races from five furlongs to a mile to be run on the straight course. The course is essentially very fair in nature but, like many of the courses in the United Kingdom, it produces its fair share of course specialists.
The hurdles and chase courses tend to favour horses that race prominently and can travel on the bridle for a long way, as it’s a long way up the home straight if a horse is already off the bridle turning into it. The fences are also quite testing, with the last ditch renowned for catching out inexperienced horses. There is a run-in of just over a furlong after the final obstacles.
Doncaster is best known for its famous flat races, with the course opening the flat season with its traditional Lincoln Meeting. The highlight of the Meeting is the Lincoln Handicap, and horses usually have to be rated 95 or even higher just to get a run. Recent winners include Addeybb, who has subsequently won a Group 2. Other notable races at the Lincoln Meeting include the Brocklesby Stakes and the Cammidge Trophy.
However, the meeting that the Town Moore faithful can’t wait for is the four-day St Leger Meeting in September. It kicks-off with quite a low-key card on the Wednesday, with the Scarbrough Stakes being the highlight, whilst the Park Hill Stakes and the Sceptre Stakes are the highlights of the Thursday card. The prestige of the races continues to build throughout the meeting, with the highlights of Friday’s card being the May Hill Stakes and the Doncaster Cup. Famous winners of the Doncaster Cup include Ardross, Double Trigger, and Estimate. The meeting then culminates with a cracking Saturday card that includes the Portland Handicap, the Park Stakes, and the Champagne Stakes. Meanwhile, the St Leger is the show stopper with famous winners including User Friendly, Conduit, and Capri.
Doncaster also stages the Racing Post Trophy in October, a prestigious Group 1 for two-year-olds that is run over the straight mile. The race has been won by several recent Classic winners, such as Authorized, Kingston Hill, and Saxon Warrior. England’s flat turf season then draws to a close with the November Meeting at Doncaster. The highlight is the November Handicap, with recent popular winners including Times Up and Litigant.
When flat racing has finished at Doncaster, jumps racing begins. However, the first big meeting is in January, when the Great Yorkshire Chase takes centre stage. Ziga Boy won both the 2016 and 2017 renewals. Another popular jumps meeting takes place in March, when the Grimthorpe Chase is used as a Grand National warm-up by some popular horses. The 2016 and 2017 winners were the very popular duo The Last Samuri and Definitely Red.
Doncaster operates a dress code, with different requirements stipulated for different enclosures. In the Mallard/Lincoln Restaurant, men must wear jacket and tie, whilst ladies must also wear smart attire. Jeans, trainers and sportswear are strictly forbidden. Children must also adhere to the dress code.
Smart attire for women and men (collared shirt) is also required in the Private Boxes, Conduit Restaurant, County Enclosure, Private Boxes, Owners, Trainers, & Press. Dress code again applies to children, whilst trainers, sportswear, and jeans are strictly forbidden.
If attending the Grandstand Enclosure or the Family Enclosure, no dress code applies.
Since the Lincoln Handicap was moved to Doncaster in 1965, no horse has managed to win the race twice.
Doncaster first staged the St Leger in 1776, four years before the now more prestigious Derby was held at Epson in 1780.
Address and Contact Details
Doncaster Racecourse, Leger Way, Doncaster, DN2 6BB