7th - 10th September 2011
As Doncaster Racecourse has been holding regular race meetings since the 16th century, it is no surprise that it is now home to one of the most exciting racing festivals of the year. The Ladbrokes St. Leger Festival features, amongst other attractions, the longest running regulated horse race in the world, the Doncaster Cup, which premiered - on Cantley Common - in 1766. A historical event best enjoyed in its historical setting, the Doncaster Cup is set to draw crowds of bettors and spectators for another couple of centuries. Or so we do sincerely hope.
The famous race course is not stranger to prestigious events. Doncaster opens the British Flat Racing Season with the Lincoln Cup Meeting (March) and also brings the season to an end with the annual November Handicap. However, the four days of racing celebration in September that mark the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes are arguably to be considered Doncaster's signature events.
The Frenchgate Raceday / St Leger Opening Day
The first day of the festival features the Frenchgate Nursery Handicap, the Sainsbury's and Debenhams Frenchgate Conditions Stakes, the DFS Scarborough Stakes - a listed race-, the New Look French Handicap, and the Evans Frenchgate Handicaps in Division 1 and 2.
The Ladies' Day, as it should be, is dominated by races open only to female contenders. These include the E.B.F. Maiden Stakes, the DFS Park Hill Stakes for Group 2 fillies, the E.B.F. Carrie Red Fillies' Nursery Handicap, and the Meadowhall Fabulous Fashionista Handicap. This is the day to dress to kill and gamble. After all, there is nothing better than looking great whilst you're winning.
Doncaster Cup Day
Although it is also host to prestigious events like the Ladbrokes Mallard Handicap and the DFS May Hill Stakes, the third day of the St. Leger Festival holds only one main attraction - the historical Doncaster Cup. As part of the Britain's Stayers' Triple Crown (also including the Goodwood Cup and the Ascot Gold Cup) this 2 miles and 2 furlongs test of the wills is one of the most powerful events of the festival.
Ladbrokes St Leger Day
Feature of the day is undoubtedly the St. Leger Stakes. The race does not only crown the final day of the four day extravaganza, it is also the final missing piece of the English Triple Crown (preceeded by the 2,000 Guineas Stakes and the Epsom Derby). Running over 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 132 yards, world-class contenders compete in this historical race event, which was established in 1776.