Doncaster’s four-day St Leger meeting takes centre stage

BIG crowds gather for the ever-popular Ladbrokes St Leger meeting at Doncaster.

BIG crowds gather for the ever-popular Ladbrokes St Leger meeting at Doncaster.

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In cricket, Yorkshire are striding purposefully towards the County Championship title. And in racing, the White Rose county is also hogging all the best action, with Doncaster’s Ladbrokes St Leger meeting this week coming hard on the heels of York’s Ebor Festival.

The Leger meeting is one of the jewels in the crown of the Flat racing seasoon, as well as the showpiece of Doncaster’s social calendar.

Racegoers enjoy a delightful blend of history, quality racing and live entertainment across the four-day extravaganza.

The 2014 renewal takes place from Wednesday (10th September) and the crescendo builds through to Saturday (13th September) when the big race itself takes centre stage.

Since the first running of the St Leger in 1776, racegoers from all over the country have been drawn to Doncaster to capture a taste of the unique atmosphere.

This year, it must compete with the newly-created Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown, which takes place for the first time on Saturday and sunday.

But with 30 races over the four days, almost £2 million in prize money and bumper crowds, the Town Moor track will have no difficulty doing so.

The party-like buzz in the town itself takes some beating too, especially on the eve of the Leger and on Leger night.

The Ladbrokes St Leger is the world’s oldest Classic and can boast a truly outstanding heritage. This year sees the 238th running. It is the last of the five British Classics to be run each year, following the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Investec Derby and Oaks at Epsom.

However, Doncaster’s fare also features a number of high-class supporting races, with the highlights on the opening day being the John Smith’s Original Scarbrough Stakes and the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends charity race which, this year, features old favourites in the saddle such as Jim Culloty, Carl Llewellyn, Kevin Darley, Luke Harvey, George Duffield, Gay Kelleway, Michael Hills, Billy Newnes, Gary Bardwell and Willie Ryan.

Day two on Thursday is DFS Ladies’ Day and includes the DFS Park Hill Stakes, while the big race on day three (Friday) is the Socialites Electric Cigarettes Doncaster Cup, which is supplemented by a couple of cracking Group Two races for juveniles, the Polypipe Flying Childers and the John Smith’s Extra Smooth May Hill.

Backing up the Leger on Saturday are the At The Races Champagne Stakes, one of the major two-year-old contests of the season, the OLBG Park Stakes and one of the best sprint handicaps of the year, the Ladbrokes Portland.

At the five-day declaration stage for the Leger, 15 horses stand their ground, including the Epsom Derby runner-up, KINGSTON HILL.

It looks a wide-open renewal, with the likes of SNOW SKY and KINGS FETE for Sir Michael Stoute, ALEX MY BOY and HARTNELL for Mark Johnston and WINDSHEAR for Richard Hannon very much in the mix -- not forgetting the John Gosden-trained duo, FOREVER NOW and ROMSDAL.

It’s not too late to book tickets for any of the four days at Doncaster this week. Simply ring the course on 01302 304200 or go to www.doncaster-racececourse.co.uk.