Everything You Need To Know About Doncaster Races
Last updated & tested: 2019-12-06
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Doncaster racecourse is home to both Flat and National Hunt horse racing in South Yorkshire. Over jumps this venue hosts a key trial for the Grand National, while on the level punters pay attention to Doncaster results in races like the Racing Post Trophy for juvenile colts and fillies, plus the St Leger for three-year-olds. The Town Moor site where racing is held has staged horses in competition for at least 400 years with maps dating back to the late Elizabethan era at the end of the Tudor period showing the course on them.
Doncaster racecourse events are decidedly more sophisticated nowadays, but the goal is the same – for those horse racing against one another to come out on top! As home of a Classic contest and that Group 1 for two-year-olds, the Flat events at Doncaster races are more prestigious than their jumps counterparts, yet the latter can provide clues for big National Hunt racing festival like those at Cheltenham and Aintree. Whatever tickles your fancy the Doncaster horse racing course, which is left-handed, will not disappoint when it comes to sporting drama. It is steeped in racing history and that means this once small centre off the Great North Road always attracts big crowds of horse betting lovers.
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Popular Doncaster racecourse events from a betting standpoint
Doncaster races are home to both Flat and National Hunt meetings at different times of the year. Not all tracks are dual-purpose like the one at Town Moor, so it gets plenty of use as a racing venue. Broadly speaking, the jumps events take place during the winter months and the Flat action takes centre stage during late spring, summer and autumn. Let’s take a look at some of the more illustrious meetings that punters bet on…
Taking on Festival Trials day with their own card in January
Doncaster have taken the bold step of providing a credible alternative to Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham with their own card of competitive National Hunt racing towards the end of January. On the last Saturday of the month, while horses give themselves one last prep run down in Gloucestershire, others are preparing to tackle three Grade 2 contests and the valuable handicap that is the 3m Great Yorkshire Chase.
Bregawn (1982) is by far the most famous winner of this race having gone on to land the Hennessy at Newbury later in the same year and then the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup – a renewal famous for trainer Michael Dickinson saddling the first five past the post at Prestbury Park. Knock Hard (1953) went on land the Gold Cup in the same season, while two Grand National heroes from the previous year in ESB (1957) and Nicolaus Silver (1962) also landed the Great Yorkshire Chase.
The Grade 2 events supporting this hot handicap are the Lightning Novices’ Chase over an extended two miles, the Doncaster Mares’ Hurdle over a similar trip and the three-mile River Don Novices’ Hurdle for up-and-coming stayers. Subsequent Queen Mother Champion chase victor Deep Sensation laned the Lightning in 1992 before capturing that big prize at Cheltenham twelve months later.
Annie Power, the Champion Hurdle heroine of 2016, won the Doncaster Mares’ Hurdle two years earlier and 2012 Grand National winner Neptune Collonges took the River Don back in 2006. Some very useful horses come out and run at this meeting, then, despite the presence of Festival Trials Day.
Grimthorpe Chase gives Grand National contenders a go
While the Grimthorpe today is a handicap chase run over 3m 2f, it has trips of much further (four miles) and shorter (an extended two miles) in its long history. For anyone who tries to tell you Doncaster results aren’t significant, the race was won by The Last Samuri in 2016, one of the toughest stayers who went on to finish a gallant runner-up in the Grand National.
Scheduled to take place in late February or early March, its proximity to the Cheltenham Festival means Grimthorpe runners are more likely to skip that in favour of a crack at the big one at Aintree. Definitly Red (2017) would go on run in both the National and the Aintree Bowl (a Grade 1 contest over 3m 1f that is a high class alternative on the Mildmay course), but have no luck on Merseyside when his saddle slipped one year and get no further than the first fence next!
The Grimthorpe family after whom the race is named have a long and illustrious association with racing both in the National Hunt and Flat spheres. It’s a tough handicap contest to win with the emphasis obviously on endurance among the thoroughbreds tackling its rigours.
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Lincoln Handicap and St Leger Festival
Early in the Flat season, the Doncaster horse racing course hosts the Lincoln meeting – an event that was moved to Town Moor from Lincoln when the track closed there in 1965. As a mile handicap for older horses (four-year-old and up), the Lincoln gives those thoroughbreds who have stayed in training a chance to race. Supporting races are at Listed level and also include the Brocklesby Stakes – a juvenile conditions sprint over the flying five furlongs.
Standing head and shoulders above any of the other Doncaster racecourse events, though, is the St Leger Festival in mid-September. Culminating in the final Classic contest of the British Flat horse racing season, the types that win the Leger really have to stay as it’s further than the Epsom Derby with a trip of an extended one-and-three-quarter miles.
You have to go back to 1970 for the last time a colt completed the Triple Crown of 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger – that came courtesy of Nijinsky. The fillies’ equivalent was achieved by the brilliant Oh So Sharp subsequently in 1985 for Sir Henry Cecil and Godolphin’s Sheik Mohammed, with her landing the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket as the first leg.
Supporting the Leger are a plethora of Group 2 races of varying distances, age and sex limits. The Doncaster Cup over 2m 2f is perhaps the most storied of these as, like the Classic, it has been run at Town Moor since the Eighteenth Century. Again, the emphasis with this three-year-olds and up race is on stamina as it’s one of the longest races contested on the Flat.
Racing Post Trophy gives nod to the future
There’s another Group 1 run at Doncaster after the St Leger. The Racing Post Trophy is a juvenile colts and fillies only contest over the straight mile in late October and plenty of winners have gone to land Classics the following year. We’re talking Guineas and Derby winners here. Colts like High Chaparral, Authorized, Camelot and Saxon Warrior have gone on repeat their two-year-old successes in the some of most prestigious races in the land.
Get in the mood for festive racing and scale the Summit in December
Doncaster benefitted from Lingfield Park becoming an all-weather racing venue and the end of jumps action at that track by becoming the new home of two Grade 2 events at their December meeting.
The Summit Juvenile Hurdle is a three-year-olds only contest over an extended two miles. This was most famously won by Hors La Loi III in 1998, who went on to land the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle the following year and later the Champion Hurdle in 2002 at the Cheltenham Festival. And the December Novices’ Chase over 3m gives staying types over fences the chance to strut their stuff.
Best bookmaker for betting on Doncaster races
We’ve absolutely no hesitation in putting William Hill forward as a top bookie through which you can place your bets on all the horse racing action at Doncaster. As current partners of the course’s premier race, the St Leger, they also have a similar deal in place with ITV – the main terrestrial TV broadcaster of horse racing in the UK. By get your bets on through William Hill, you’re getting access to a whole host of related offers and promotions. Their 2 Clear bonus for Flat races and High 5 for National Horse action means you can extra winnings in the form of tokens if the horse you back wins an ITV race by a certain distance.
William Hill also offer odds boosts to customers when you bet on events that are shown on mainstream TV and enhanced prices are available on the winning margin or other specials regularly. This bookmaker is also more than happy to offer extra places on races if it’s a handicap or they are sponsoring that particular event. Between all these promotions, there are plenty of opportunities to boost the funds in your betting account. William Hill pretty much has it all, and that’s a very good thing for horse racing punters.
All the Doncaster betting tips you need
As we mentioned earlier, the Doncaster horse racing course is home to both Flat and jumps racing, so is significant in both spheres. Whether it’s the stayers’ Classic, the St Leger; the Grimthorpe Chase over fences or Racing Post Trophy for top two-year-olds, you want to be sure of getting great tips on all the action. Our experts have got all angles covered from this great venue and know that Doncaster results in this novice National Hunt events can have Cheltenham Festival implications. Our tipsters have been covering horse racing for years and know the undulations of the Town Moor track are a tough test for any thoroughbred.
We seek the value bet whatever the race and that sometimes means a hot favourite is worth taking on, while on other occasions they’re impossible to oppose. Looking at larger fields from an each-way betting point of view is also an important consideration in that hunt for a decent punt. With many bookmakers paying extra places on wide-open handicap races nowadays, it’d be irresponsible not to draw your attention to horses that have potential to outrun their odds and finish in the frame. We’ve got our eyes peeled for value betting, so check out our latest Doncaster betting tips.
Tips for races at Doncaster
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Take heed of this expert advice about Doncaster races
New punters take up the challenge of trying to back a few winners on horse racing all the time, but don’t be put off from gambling if you’re not familiar with all the lingo. Let us help you! Our experts are ready and willing to be jargon busters who help you make sense of all the terminology attached to betting on the horses. Don’t know the difference between a Classic and a handicap? What’s a stayer as opposed to a sprinter? All of these things are important to understand, especially at a racecourse that offer such diverse action like Doncaster. And on the betting side of things, we’ll make sure you know your patents from your forecasts.
The importance of the big races run at Doncaster cannot be understated; they shape future Classic winners, Flat and National Hunt stayers for big races like the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Grand National at Aintree and can be a guide to the Cheltenham Festival. Getting the latest news with a betting first approach is therefore vital if you’re to make informed choices when betting. Our racing experts always have their eyes and ears open to the latest developments. If a horse doesn’t run or is supplemented, then how does that affect the betting?