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Doncaster Racecourse – All You Need to Know

Published on June 22, 2022
Updated on November 14, 2023
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Doncaster Racecourse - All You Need to Know

Where is Doncaster Racecourse?

Owner: Arena Racing Company

Address: The Grandstand, Leger Way, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN2 6BB

Tel: +44 1302 304200


Doncaster Racecourse, known locally as Town Moor, is located one mile east of the town, off the A638 (M18, junctions 3 and 4). There’s a large public car park (free) adjacent to the course. It has a hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, on site.

Betting at Doncaster Racecourse

Doncaster Racecourse offers Tote betting and on-course bookmakers.

Each of the major bookmaking firms will have their own special offers on horse racing bets.

Streaming at Doncaster Racecourse

Most leading bookmakers, such as Betfred, William Hill,Ladbrokes , Coral and Bet365 have a live streaming to Doncaster Racecourse, so you can enjoy watching and betting on the races with many firms.

History of Doncaster Racecourse

Doncaster Racecourse is among the oldest courses in Britain. The first recorded meeting at the Town Moor track was on 17 July 1728, but there was racing in the area well before that.

Doncaster’s earliest racecourse was at Wheatley Moor, a few miles away. It’s shown on a map dated 1595. However, in 1615 the town’s authorities banned racing there “for the preventing of quarrels, murders and bloodsheds”.

Racing eventually resumed but it was of minor importance for the remainder of the 17th century. It was only when moving to Town Moor and founding the St Leger Stakes in 1776 that Doncaster Racecourse began to thrive.

Doncaster Racecourse has traditionally opened the Flat turf season since the closure of Lincoln’s racecourse in 1964. It inherited the Lincoln Handicap, along with the Brocklesby Stakes, the first two-year-old race of the season. It also hosts the November Handicap following the loss of Manchester Racecourse in 1963, which had traditionally brought down the curtain on the Flat racing season.

Racing over jumps, which had not been held on Town Moor since 1911, was revived after the Second World War. However, it has remained in the shadows of the Flat, its highest-profile race being the Great Yorkshire Chase, run in January.

History was made at Doncaster Racecourse on 26 July 1992 when the first Sunday meeting on a British racecourse took place, albeit without betting, which was then still illegal on Sundays. A crowd od 23,000 turned up. Police were in attendance, ready to arrest anyone seen to be striking a bet, but the meeting passed without incident.

Doncaster underwent a major facelift in 2007 with a massive £35 million redevelopment, including the construction of a new grandstand, weighing room, exhibition centre, stables and bloodstock sales ring,

The Doncaster Racecourse Track and Ground Type

Doncaster Racecourse is a wide, left-handed, pear-shaped, galloping course of 1 mile 7 furlongs and 110 yards, with a straight spur for races between 5 furlongs and 1 mile. Its subsoil is peat-based.

The jumps track is on the inside of the Flat course. There are 11 fences on the circuit. The run-in from the last fence is 247 yards.

Doncaster Racecourse Characteristics

It’s an almost flat track apart from a slight undulation known as Rose Hill a mile and a quarter from the finish. The long straight of almost 5 furlongs requires a horse to have stamina in abundance.

With its easy bends and a long run-in, Doncaster Racecourse is ideally suited to the long-striding galloper. It’s a very fair track for both front-runners and hold up horses

Effect of the draw at Doncaster Racecourse

The draw bias can vary. The straight track over sprint trips (5f and 6f) favours high draws, but the further the distance (7f and 1m) the more those drawn low come into it. There used to be a strong high draw bias on the straight mile course but more recently it seems horses can win from anywhere.

Low numbers are favoured on the round course. Being a left-handed track, those drawn high can often struggle to get a position.

Fixtures for Doncaster Racecourse in 2022

  • Jan: 11, 28, 29 (Jumps)
  • Feb: 10, 23 (Jumps)
  • Mar: 4, 5, 18 (Jumps), 26, 27 (Flat)
  • Apr: 22, 23, 30 (Flat)
  • May: 14 (Flat)
  • Jun: 3, 4, 12, 24, 25 (Flat)
  • Jul: 1, 7, 16, 21, 30 (Flat)
  • Aug: 13 (Flat)
  • Sep: 7, 8, 9, 10 (Flat – St Leger Meeting)
  • Oct: 21, 22 (Flat)
  • Nov: 5 (Flat), 25, 26 (Jumps)
  • Dec: 9, 10, 29 (Jumps)

Doncaster Racecourse Biggest Events and Fixtures

Doncaster Racecourse is home to the St Leger Stakes. Held in September, it’s the world’s oldest Classic. Founded by Colonel Anthony St Leger, the St Leger Stakes, the fifth and final Classic race of the season, was first run in 1776. Originally a 2-mile race, the distance was shortened to 1 mile 6 furlongs in 1813.

While the St Leger is the centrepiece, Doncaster’s September meeting also contains some other longstanding races. The Doncaster Cup, first held in 1801, was run at various distances before settling at 2 miles and 2 furlongs in 1926. The Park Hill Stakes, for fillies and over the full St Leger distance, was first contested in 1839.

Of the major two-year-old contests at Doncaster Racecourse, the Champagne Stakes dates from 1823, when the winning owner had to present six dozen bottles of champagne to the Doncaster Race Club. (Nowadays the winning owner receives the champagne rather than donates it!)

The Flying Childers Stakes, also for two-year-olds, was called the Norfolk Stakes when first run in 1967 but was renamed in 1973 after the famous racehorse of that name, bred locally by Leonard Childers.

Another prestigious race for two-year-olds is the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy. It was first run in 1961 as the Timeform Gold Cup. In 1965 it became the Observer Gold Cup and in 1976 the William Hill Futurity. It was known as the Racing Post Trophy from 1989 until being given its current title in 2018, when Vertem Asset Management became the sponsor.

Over jumps, Doncaster Racecourse hosts two important steeplechases. One is the Great Yorkshire Chase, run in late January. The other is the Grimthorpe Chase, held in early March. Over hurdles, its feature races are the Summit Juvenile Hurdle in December, and the River Don Novices’ Hurdle and Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle, both in January.

Big Name Winners at Doncaster Racecourse

In years gone by, Doncaster’s flagship race, the St Leger Stakes, was almost always targeted by that year’s Derby winner. It was the last leg of Flat racing’s ‘Triple Crown’. But Nijinsky, in 1970, was the last colt win the Triple Crown of the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger. The last to win the fillies version (1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger) was Oh So Sharp in 1985.

Recent St Leger winners have been below genuine Classic standard. Reference Point, in 1987, was the last Derby winner to win the St Leger. However, the 2021 victor, Hurricane Lane, was the best for many years. After finishing third in the Derby, he’d gone on to win the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris before landing the St Leger.

The Doncaster Cup has been won by many of the greatest stayers of the last 50 years. They include Ardross (1982), Further Flight (1992), Persian Punch (2003), and dual winners Le Moss (1979/1980) and Stradivarius (2019/2021). Most notable of all is triple Doncaster Cup hero Double Trigger, who recorded back-to-back victories in 1995 and 1996 and won it for a third time in 1998.

The Champagne Stakes has thrown up some smart winners this century. Noverre (2000), Dubai Destination (2001), Poet’s Voice (2009), Outstrip (2013), Rivet (2016) and Too Darn Hot (2018) all went on to score at Group/Grade 1 level. However, you have to go back to Rodrigo de Triano in 1991 to find the last Champagne Stakes winner to win a Classic.

The most obvious race for trends at Doncaster Racecourse is the Vertem Futurity. This has proved a great guide for spotting future Classic winners in recent years. High Chaparral (2001), Motivator (2004), Authorized (2006) and Camelot (2011) all won this race (it was then called the Racing Post Trophy) before going on to win the following year’s Derby.

More recently, it’s been a productive source for finding 2,00 Guineas winners. Saxon Warrior (2017), Magna Grecia (2018) and Kameko (2019) all went on to Classic glory at Newmarket the following year.

Leading trainers at Doncaster Racecourse in last 3 years

  • Flat: John and Thady Gosden, Roger Varian, Richard Hannon, Willian Haggas, Ralph Beckett.
  • Jumps: Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton, Alan King, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Henry Daly, Charlie Longsdon, Ian Williams, Nicky Richards, Tom Lacey.

Leading jockeys at Doncaster Racecourse in last 3 years

  • Flat: William Buick, Frankie Dettori, Andrea Atzeni, Tom Marquand, Dane O’Neill.
  • Jumps: Brian Hughes, Sean Quinlan, Harry Skelton, Paddy Brennan, Nico de Boinville, Tom Scudamore, Charlie Deutsch.
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