Doncaster is one of the oldest established centres for horse racing in
Britain, with records of regular race meetings going back as far as the 16th
Century. In 1600 the corporation attempted to put an end to the races because of
the number of ruffians they attracted. By 1614 it acknowledged failure and
instead it marked out a racecourse. It is also one of the largest racecourses in
Doncaster is home to two of the World's oldest horse races: -
The Doncaster Cup
The earliest important race in Doncaster's history was the Doncaster Gold Cup,
first run over Cantley Common in 1766. The Doncaster Cup is the oldest
continuing regulated horse race in the world. Together with the 2 mile (3,219 m)
Goodwood Cup and 2½ mile (4,023 m) Ascot Gold Cup, the Doncaster Cup is part of
Britain's Stayers' Triple Crown for horses which are capable of running over
The St Leger Stakes
In the 1770's the Racecourse moved to its present location and in 1776 Colonel
Anthony St. Leger founded a race in which five horses ran. This famous race has
remained in existence and has become the world's oldest classic horse race.
During the first world war the racecourse was used for military purposes and
substitute races were run at Newmarket from 1915 to 1918.
Doncaster has the distinction of both starting and ending the flat season on
turf. Every September, Doncaster hosts the prestigious four-day Ladbrokes St.
Leger Festival, which is acclaimed as the premier sporting occasion of the
Autumn calendar. Doncaster has also taken over events whose traditional homes
have closed, such as the Lincoln Cup in 1965.
More history was made at Doncaster in 1992 when it staged the first ever Sunday
meeting on a British racecourse. A crowd of 23,000 turned up despite there being
Today the St. Leger Stakes remains the world's oldest Classic Horse Race and
features in the Horse Racing calendar as the fifth and final Classic of the
British Flat racing season. This pride of place every September on the famous
Town Moor course.
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