For four days each September, the eyes of the horse racing world turn to South Yorkshire, as Doncaster hosts a fabulous feast of action at the St Leger Festival. Huge crowds flock to see the finest horses in the land compete in a string of superb races. The four-day festival builds to a climax on the final day of the meeting with the latest running of the oldest Classic, the Cazoo St Leger.
There is a sense of heightened anticipation this year after the events of the 2020 St Leger Festival. Limited crowds were allowed in for the first day, but a U-turn by local health authorities meant the rest of the meeting had to take place behind closed doors. With restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic now being relaxed, a bumper crowd is expected at the historic Town Moor to enjoy four thrilling days of the best racing the English autumn has to offer at the St Leger Festival 2021.
Racing has taken place on this site since the 16th century, and by 1614 a racecourse was marked out on the moor close to the centre of the town. The establishment of the race that is still Doncaster’s most famous horse race took place in 1776, and the St Leger itself grew in stature over the decades that followed.
The St Leger became the climax of the season for the very finest three-year-olds, and the few who completed the auspicious treble of 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger were said to have won the Triple Crown. However, the St Leger is not the oldest race at the meeting. That honour belongs to the Doncaster Cup, first held ten years before the St Leger, which attracts the best stayers for a two-mile battle at this famous old racecourse.
Ever since 1776, when local politician Anthony St Leger founded the race that still bears his name, the oldest
Classic on the British calendar has been one of the highlights of the horse racing season.
The feat of winning the Triple Crown – the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger – was once a principal target for owners and trainers. It has been achieved only twice in the last 100 years, most recently by the immortal Nijinsky in 1970. An abundance of alternative targets has meant that few horses are campaigned along the Triple Crown trail, although Camelot came closest in recent years to emulating Nijinsky when he was second in the 2012 St Leger.
The race still retains its popularity with horse racing fans and Cazoo St Leger Day is certain to be a huge
attraction as it features a competitive climax to the St Leger Festival 2021 when the main event gets under way.
For St Leger racing tips, it is worth bearing in mind that four favourites have won in the last 10 years. In that
time the St Leger winner’s odds have only twice been longer than 20/1.
The Godolphin operation has targeted the St Leger many times and has sent out six winners since 1995, while Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien has also trained six winners. That still leaves them some way behind the record of John Scott, “the wizard of the North”, who sent out the winner no fewer than 16 times between 1827 and 1862.
The other main attraction of the St Leger Festival is the Doncaster Cup, whose recent winners include famous stayers such as Times Up, Estimate and Stradivarius, who is set to bid for a second win at the 2021 meeting. Six favourites have obliged in the Doncaster Cup in the last ten years, while the longest priced winner in that time went off at 11/2.
Over four days packed with exciting races, the St Leger Festival 2021 provides plenty of opportunities to get involved with the top-quality action. There are sure to be some outstanding performances and some surprise results up to and including all the entertainment on Cazoo St Leger Day itself.
At the age of seven, STRADIVARIUS owes his connections nothing. This grand old stayer has won more
than £3 million in prize money – and he showed on his last outing that the competitive fire still burns strongly.
Stradivarius answered every call from Frankie Dettori before prevailing in a fantastic duel with Spanish Mission in the Lonsdale Cup at York. He could face strong opposition in the shape of Trueshan and Twilight Payment, but a good to firm surface and the long Doncaster straight will suit Stradivarius. Having triumphed here at odds of 1/9 two years ago, Stradivarius can add another chapter to his legend with victory at the St Leger Festival 2021 in the Doncaster Cup.
This is the time of year when thoughts start turning to next year’s Classic generation, and there are some fascinating two-year-old races to be watched. Inspiral is likely to be all the rage for this good fillies’ contest since making it two wins from two with an eye-catching display at Sandown last month. However, SUSPICIOUS showed a pleasing attitude and a notable turn of foot in winning over today’s course and distance in August. Connections immediately targeted a step up into Group company and, if the Ralph Beckett-trained prospect has progressed from that promising outing, she can spring a surprise at decent odds here.
Aidan O’Brien, six times the winning trainer of the year’s final British classic, has several entries for the main event on Cazoo St Leger Day. They include High Definition, supplemented for the race during the week. Hurricane Lane is a worthy favourite after a fantastic summer that has seen him win the Dante, the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris. He shapes as if the trip at Doncaster will be perfect for him, but his St Leger winner’s odds will be short. It may be worth taking a chance at longer odds on INTERPRETATION, one of the O’Brien battalion. He showed a game attitude and a touch of class in victory at Leopardstow last month and could step up again to make a bold show here.
DO your homework and spend time researching the form before coming up with your St Leger racing tips.
DO mix your stakes – you can’t be equally confident about all your selections, so don’t have the same amount on every race.
DO look out for the best free bet offers, bonuses and money-back specials.
DON’T bet on every race – you definitely cannot win them all.
DON’T chase your losses. Stick to your original staking plan if some of your selections let you down.
DON’T make it all about the betting. Enjoy the fantastic spectacle of the St Leger Festival 2021 and Cazoo St Leger Day.
Unless you are lucky enough to secure a ticket to the St Leger Festival 2021, you will be looking to tune in from elsewhere to catch all the great action from the St Leger, Doncaster Cup and so many other great races over the four days. ITV will be carrying live coverage from the final three days of the St Leger Festival, with the racing on Cazoo St Leger Day due to be carried on the main ITV channel. You can also watch all the races at the meeting on the Sky Sports Racing channel. Any bookmaker with a live streaming facility will also allow you to access pictures from the race. Check to see if you need to place a bet on the race in question first.
When is the St Leger meeting at Doncaster?
The St Leger Festival 2021 at Doncaster runs for four days from Wednesday September 8th to Saturday September 11th. Racing starts each day at 1.10pm, 1.15pm or 1.45pm and there are seven races on each card. The highlight of the meeting, Cazoo St Leger Day, is on Saturday.
When is the Doncaster Cup?
Next to the St Leger, the Doncaster Cup is the most prestigious race at the St Leger Festival. It takes place at 2.40pm on Friday September 10th, the third day of the meeting. The race is run over two miles and two furlongs and should feature Stradivarius, one of the most popular stayers of recent times.
Where is Doncaster Racecourse?
Doncaster Racecourse is located about a mile to the east of the centre of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire. There has been a racecourse on this site, on Town Moor, for more than 400 years. The course is a short walk from the town and from its station, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors from further afield.
What to wear to the Doncaster races?
The dress code for the St Leger Festival 2021 depends on the area of the course you will be using. If you have a ticket for the Premier Enclosure, gentlemen are expected to wear jacket and tie, while ladies are asked to come in smart attire. However, in the Grandstand Enclosure there is no dress code.
What time is the St Leger Race?
The runners for the Cazoo St Leger, the final Classic of the 2021 British racing season, are due to leave the start at 3.35pm on Saturday September 11th. The race, at a mile and six furlongs, is the longest Classic race in the country and will take just over three minutes to run.