Doncaster Racecourse Guide

Doncaster is perhaps Yorkshire’s premier racecourse, showcasing both flat and jumps racing action throughout the season; affectionately known as Town Moor, Doncaster heralds both the start and finish of the flat season as well as hosting Classic action with the St Leger, one of two Group One races staged at the famous venue.

St Leger Tips

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Doncaster Major Meetings

Doncaster opens the flat season with the Lincoln Meeting which takes place in March, while the course also closes out the season with the November Meeting featuring the competitive November Handicap.  In addition to racing on the flat, the course also stages some high class jumps racing action including the Grimthorpe Chase and the Yorkshire Chase. 

The St Leger Festival is the jewel in the crown of the Doncaster calendar, featuring four days’ racing culminating in the oldest of the British Classic races on day four of the meeting. The previous days’ cards however include the Group Two May Hill Stakes and the Doncaster Cup.

The St Leger is one of two Group One races at the track, the other being the Vertem Futurity Trophy which is the last Group One of the season and usually a good pointer towards the following season’s Classics.

Doncaster Track Characteristics

Hosting both flat and jumps racing, Doncaster is considered to be a fair and galloping track with sweeping turns, especially on the National Hunt Course. It is predominantly flat although there is a gradual climb and descent over Rose Hill on the far side of the course and just before the long sweeping bend bringing runners back into the straight.

The flat racing course has a chute for races up to one mile, allowing the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy and the Lincoln Handicap to be run over a straight mile; there is also a one mile round course. A full circuit of Doncaster measures around two miles.

The jumps course is fairly straightforward and fair for runners; the fences are not too stiff and relatively easy when the ground rides decent although the track can prove tricky on softer conditions especially for novices. Races are often well-run and the track does drain well meaning races rarely develop into a stamina battle. 

From the last obstacle to the finishing line the run-in is only around one furlong 

Doncaster Draw Bias

The draw bias at Doncaster can vary depending on the position of the stalls although those drawn towards the stands’ side rail in sprints when the stalls are on the stands’ side tend to fare better; the case is the same when the stalls are on the far rail, favouring those drawn towards the rail. When the stalls are placed in the middle there is little bias to be gained.

In big fields it would appear a prudent play to favour those drawn towards either rail as opposed to those towards the middle of the track especially in softer ground. However, it can very difficult to win from the front at Doncaster; those hold-up horses who like to come on the scene late tend to do well at the track as opposed to front-runners, especially over longer races. 

Doncaster Leading Trainers

Over the past three seasons on the flat it has paid to follow both Andrew Balding’s and William Haggas’ runners with both boasting solid strike-rates and turning respectable profits; while similar can be said of John and Thady Gosden. Charlie Appleby and Sir Michael Stoute meanwhile also return solid strike-rate figures although both trainers are operating at a loss for the period.

Over the sticks meanwhile Fergal O’Brien, Ben Pauling, Neil Mulholland and Gilian Boanas are all trainers to note with their hurdlers with each showing a healthy profit return; while over fences Ian Williams and Kim Bailey each boast 50% strike-rate and profit from their runners at the track over the larger obstacles over the past three years.

Doncaster Leading Jockeys

Punters following Frankie Dettori, Rossa Ryan and Jim Crowley at Doncaster would be turning a profit over the past three seasons on the flat; while Theo Gillard over hurdles is the man to keep onside with the rider boasting a near 50% strike rate over the past three seasons. Sean Quinlan and David Bass also feature healthy profits over hurdles from their respective mounts and are other riders to bear in mind over the smaller obstacles.

When it comes to fences Paddy Brennan has an excellent strike-rate and a solid profit return over the past three seasons as does Sean Quinlan, David Bass, Danny Cook and Charlie Todd who are all in profit from their rides over fences over the three-year period.

Doncaster Track History

Some of the oldest records of horse racing in the UK can be traced back to Doncaster with planning for a racecourse introduced in 1614 although racing on the Town Moor took place from 1595. Two of the world’s oldest races, the Doncaster Cup was first run in 1766; while the St Leger Classic had it’s inaugural running ten years later. 

Doncaster was the host of the first Sunday meeting in the UK, taking place in 1992 and while there was no betting allowed the event still drew a massive crowd.

The competitive Lincoln Handicap was inherited by Doncaster in 1965 following the closure of Lincoln Racecourse; 

Doncaster Racecourse Address

The official address of Doncaster racecourse is:

Doncaster Racecourse
Leger Way

Doncaster Racecourse Directions

Doncaster is conveniently situated just a 15 minute walk from Doncaster High Street and Doncaster Railway Station. A taxi will take just a few minutes to get to the track, traffic permitting and there are several local buses serving the course.

By Car: Situated in the town, Doncaster Racecourse is well-served by road access with excellent road links to nearby M1, M18 and M62 motorways. There is free parking on race-days except during the St Leger Festival. 

By Bus: A shuttle-service runs between the racecourse and Doncaster Interchange railway station on racedays, operating from gates-opening until one hour after the last race of the day.

By Air: Doncaster is well-served by UK internal flights and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield is situated only seven miles from the track. The airport also handles some European flights; while a little further afield Manchester, Leeds Bradford and East Midlands airports are all within easy reach of Doncaster racecourse.