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Doncaster is another of the jewels in Yorkshire's not-to-be-underestimated racing crown and the home of two Group 1 races, including the final British Classic of the season, the St Leger.

The racecourse at Doncaster, often affectionately known as Town Moor, can be dated as far back as the late 16th century.

The Doncaster Cup is the oldest continuing regulated horse race in the world, while the St Leger is the oldest of Britain's five Classics and the last of the five to be run each year.

Here's our guide to Doncaster racecourse.

WhatSt Leger Festival 2023  
WhereDoncaster Racecourse, Doncaster
WhenThursday 14th September – Saturday 16th September, 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ITV & Sky Sports Racing

History in the Yorkshire turf

Home of the world's oldest Classic, Doncaster is one of the historic homes of horse racing in Britain.

The St Leger, first run in 1776, is staged in mid-September as part of a three-day St Leger Festival, and the meeting also boasts such prestigious races as the Doncaster Cup, Champagne Stakes, Flying Childers Stakes, May Hill Stakes and the Portland Handicap.

Along with York's Dante Festival in August, the St Leger Festival at Doncaster truly helps to make it a month to remember for race fans in Yorkshire. 

Doncaster also stages the first and last turf race meetings of the Flat season; starting with the Lincoln Meeting in March and ending on November Handicap day.

Town Moor is also a venue for National Hunt racing, with the winter pursuit running when the Flat is out of season and the Grimthorpe Chase in early March – often a possible Grand National trial – is one of Doncaster's main jump races.

Fair breaks for all at Town Moor

The left-handed, galloping Flat track at Doncaster is considered by most to be one of the fairest courses in the country, essentially flat with the exception of a slight uphill gradient about a mile-and a-quarter from the finishing line.

Races between five furlongs and a mile are run on the straight course, though there is also a round mile start on an off-shoot of the round course.

The excellent draining on the course at Doncaster means conditions often favour speedier types despite its galloping nature. This is true both on the Flat and over obstacles.

In National Hunt terms, it can be a long way home from the back straight and jockeys will ideally want to travel strongly into the home straight before committing a horse.

Late season Group 1 double

Doncaster boasts a double helping of Group 1 action on the Flat and they both come relatively late in the season.

The first of those is the final British classic of the season, the St Leger Stakes, over an extended one-mile-and-six-furlongs. That is the longest distance of the five British Classics.

The St Leger is the final leg of the 'Triple Crown' after the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Epsom Derby. No horse since Nijinsky in 1970 has managed to complete the feat of winning all three races. 

The St Leger Festival also includes the Group 2 Doncaster Cup, the oldest race currently run under the rules of horse racing and a contest won in recent times by Ascot Gold Cup winners like Estimate (2014) and Stradivarius (2019 & 2021).

The Futurity Trophy is a one-mile contest for two-year-olds and is the final British Group 1 of the season. Six winners have subsequently achieved victory in the following year's Derby: Reference Point (1986); High Chaparral (2001); Motivator (2004); Authorized (2006); Camelot (2011); Auguste Rodin (2022).

Lots to choose from at Doncaster

The Premier Enclosure and Home Straight Restaurant provide the top offering at Doncaster and the dress code is jacket for gentlemen with tie optional and smart attire for ladies.

The County, Hospitality and Owners and Trainers are next on the list and many racegoers often choose to adopt a smarter style, with smart jeans or tailored shorts and a collared shirt for gentlemen permitted. 

The Grandstand Enclosure is the most relaxed offering at Doncaster, with the only stipulation being that sporting team shirts and offensive fancy dress are not permitted.

Across their enclosures, Doncaster racecourse offer lots of amenities and bars including The Champagne Lawn, Nijinsky Suite, Halmahera Bar, The Conduit Bar, The Lord Clifton Bar, and The Clock Tower Bar – with something to cater for all tastes and a wide variety of dining options to match.

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