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The Ultimate Guide to Doncaster Racecourse

The ultimate backdrop..

The history of horse racing on Doncaster Racecourse, or Town Moor, as it is often known, can be traced back to the 16th century. Indeed, Doncaster is still home to the oldest Classic, the St. Leger, established in 1776.

For all its history, Doncaster underwent a £34 million redevelopment between 2006 and 2007, which has made it one of the most modern racecourses in the country. Today, Doncaster has the distinction of opening the Flat racing season on turf, with the Lincoln Meeting in March and closing it, with the November Handicap. The racecourse is also the busiest, on turf, in the country, with a total of 35 Flat and National Hunt race meetings throughout the year.

Facilities


A warm welcome awaits..

Doncaster Racecourse offers race goers four types of basic ticket, known as Family, Grandstand, County and Premier. Ticket prices range from £6 per person for the Family ticket through a weekday National Hunt fixture to £82.50 per person for a Premier ticket to St. Leger Saturday. Doncaster offers free admission to children under 18 for all fixtures, except those followed by a live music concert and concessions are available for groups, online bookings and senior citizens.

Doncaster Racecourse offers a range of hospitality packages, including top quality catering, to suit all types of corporate event and claims to be one of the best conference and exhibition facilities in the Midlands and the North East. For conferences, exhibitions and other corporate events, Doncaster Racecourse offers the Lazarus Exhibition Hall, with 36,000 square feet of floor space and numerous glass-fronted conference and meeting rooms. Advice, equipment and technical expertise is available from an in-house conference support team. Outdoor display and event space is also available, together with free parking for up to 3,000 vehicles.

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Getting there



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What makes the Doncaster course so unique?



The Flat course at Doncaster is left-handed and approximately two miles in circumference. It is mostly flat, except for a slight hill about a mile and a quarter from the winning post and galloping in nature. It has a sweeping turn into a long, four and a half furlong straight and is ideal for big, long-striding horses.

The National Hunt course at Doncaster consists of eleven fences per circuit, only one of which is jumped twice in races over two miles and a run-in of just over a furlong. The course drains well, so rarely produces testing conditions..
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St Leger


The highlight of the racing year at Doncaster is undoubtedly the St. Leger Festival, which takes place in September each year and culminates in the oldest Classic, the St. Leger. Together with the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby, the St. Leger forms the so-called “Triple Crown”, last won by Nijinsky, ridden by Lester Piggott, in 1970.

Indeed, the St. Leger has become synonymous with the name of Lester Piggott, popularly known as the “Long Fellow”, but Piggott is, in fact, only the second most successful jockey in the history of the St. Leger. With eight wins, Piggott trails 19th century jockey Bill Scott by one. Nevertheless, it was a piece of characteristic personal manoeuvring by Piggott that convinced Ivan Allen, owner of Comanche Run, to insist that he replaced Luca Cumani's stable jockey Darrell McHargue in the 1985 St. Leger and so broke Frank Buckle's 157-year-old record for the number of Classic winners ridden.

The longest-priced winners in the history of the St. Leger were Ottrington in 1812 and Theodore in 1822, who both started at 100/1. The shortest-priced winner was Galtee More in 1897, who started at 1/10.

Lincoln Handicap


The history of the Lincoln Handicap, formerly the Lincolnshire Handicap, can be traced back to Lincoln Racecourse in 1849. It was originally run over two miles and then a mile and a half before being reduced to its current distance, a mile, in 1855. It was transferred to Doncaster following the closure of Lincoln Racecourse in 1965.

Since 1965, the longest-priced winner of the Lincoln Handicap was Bronze Hill in 1973, who started at 50/1. The shortest-priced winner was Penitent in 2010, who started at 3/1.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers


William Buick (image credit: Biltho)

On the Flat at Doncaster, over the last five seasons, Goldolphin is the leading owner with 27 winners from 156 runners, followed by Hamdan Al Maktoum with 15 winners from 11 runners. William Buick is the leading jockey with 31 winners from 129 rides, although he's hotly pursued by Paul Hanagan, with 29 winners from 224 rides. The two of them are some way ahead of the pack, headed by Keiren Fallon, with 19 winners from 150 rides. In the training ranks, Musley Bank handler Richard Fahey has saddled more than double the number of runners than anyone else and is, understandably, leading trainer with 33 winners from 307 runners during the last five seasons. Wiltshire trainer Richard Hannon also does well at Doncaster and he's in second place with 27 winners from 142 runners in the same period.

Over the Jumps, J.P. McManus is the leading owner with 8 winners from 36 runners, followed by Andrea and Graham Wylie with 6 winners from 41 runners. Jockeys James Reveley and Dougie Costello have ridden 15 winners apiece, from 102 rides and 81 rides, respectively and are just one ahead of Denis O'Regan, who's ridden 14 winners from 77 rides. Nicky Henderson is the leading National Hunt trainer at Doncaster over the last five seasons with 23 winners from 92 runners.

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