Doncaster St Leger

Doncaster St Leger: Famous races at the Festival and their histories

The Doncaster St Leger Festival is packed with prestigious races in addition to the St Leger itself, including the Doncaster Cup which in 2016 celebrates its 250th running. Below is a quick guide to the famous races and their histories.

History of the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes

The Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes was won in 2016 by the legendary Sir AP McCoy.

It is run under the Rules of Racing, unlike almost all other charity races. The contest, over Doncaster’s straight mile, sees 16 ex-jockeys return to the saddle in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College.

There is also a charity lunch, with 450 guests, involving a charity auction.

The event, supported by the Reuben Foundation, has raised over £650,000 to date and is aiming to generate at least another £100,000 in 2016.

President of the UAE Cup (UK Arabian Derby)

A total of 11 entries have been made for the President of the UAE Cup (UK Arabian Derby). The mile and a quarter G1 race for four-year-old Purebred Arabians is sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with an increased prize fund of £80,000.

The overseas entries include two G3 winners in Ibn Azadi for Thomas Fourcy and Al Shaqab, and Tayf for Alban De Mieulle and HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani. Tayf is seeking compensation for his French Derby (G1 PA) defeat by a nose in June, while only a nose behind him was Khataab, another Fourcy entry for Al Shaqab.

Also closely matched on form are Djelamer and Lightning Bolt, winner and runner up in a Listed event at Duindigt in June. Djelamer, trained by de Mieulle for Khalifa Hamad Al Attiyah, has since gone on to win a further stage of the President of the UAE Cup series, also at Duindigt, this month.

ARO Racing Manager, Amanda Smith, commented. “We are delighted to welcome back the President of the UAE Cup and are extremely grateful to the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for their generous support of our feature race for four-year-olds. The series last sponsored the UK Arabian Derby in 2013, when it was run at Newmarket as part of the July Festival meeting.

“It looks likely to be a very competitive race as the overseas entries are all quite closely matched on form and it will be interesting to see how our UK horses compare. It is also very exciting to be bringing Arabian racing back to the prestigious Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster.”


Often referred to as “the fillies’ St Leger”, the DFS Park Hill Stakes was established in 1839 for three-year-old fillies over the St Leger distance which was then one mile, six furlongs and 127 yards. The race was opened up to older fillies and mares in 1990.

The first running went to the John Scott-trained Mickleton Maid. Scott went on to saddle seven winners of the race in all, a record matched only by Sir Noel Murless. The most successful current trainer is Luca Cumani with five wins.

The great Blink Bonny won in 1857 after her victories in the Derby and Oaks. The William I’Anson-trained mare was odds-on favourite for the St Leger but was pulled by her unscrupulous jockey Charlton. Her Park Hill victory came in a faster time than that year’s St Leger.

Another legend of the Turf, Pretty Polly, won at the prohibitive odds of 1/25 in 1904 and is the shortest-priced winner of the Park Hill Stakes. Pretty Polly also won the fillies’ Triple Crown of 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger.

A total of 11 fillies have completed the Oaks/Park Hill Stakes double. Lady Evelyn was the first in 1849 and has been followed by Brown Duchess (1861), Marie Stuart (1873), Jannette (1878), Miss Jummy (1886), Amiable (1894), Canterbury Pilgrim (1896), Pretty Polly (1904), Love In Idleness (1921), Brownhylda (1923) and Pia (1967).

No filly or mare has prevailed at a longer price than Collyria, who was 33/1 when scoring for Murless and jockey Eph Smith in 1959. The first older filly to succeed was the John Gosden-trained Anna Of Saxony, who triumphed for owner Sheikh Mohammed and jockey Frankie Dettori in 1993.

Dettori is the most successful current rider with four successes, the other three wins coming aboard Noble Rose (1995), Echoes In Eternity (2004) and Meeznah (2011). That total is two less than the record six wins by a jockey, shared jointly by Sim Templeman and John Osborne Jr. Templeman’s first triumph came aboard Calypso in 1840, while Osborne, a Yorkshire favourite who rode from 1846 to 1892 and was renowned for his incorruptibility, partnered his first Park Hill winner Qui Vive in 1859 and his last, Minthe, in 1889.

The Park Hill Stakes was upgraded from Group Three status to Group Two ahead of the 2004 contest won by Godolphin’s Echoes In Eternity.

Sir Michael Stoute has saddled two of the last nine winners. Hi Calypso progressed from being a 73-rated handicapper to land the prize in 2007, while stablemate Allegretto prevailed by six lengths in 2008. Allegretto was a top-class stayer, having won the Group Two Goodwood Cup and Group One Prix Royal Oak in 2007.

Wild Coco trounced a high-class field in 2012, giving the late Sir Henry Cecil a sixth Park Hill Stakes. Those in behind included The Queen’s Estimate, who annexed the 2013 Gold Cup, and subsequent Group One Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Ambivalent.

The DFS Park Hill Stakes is run on Thursday 8th September DFS Ladies Day.


The Clugston Construction May Hill Stakes was initially run as a Group Three race in 1976 when Triple First prevailed for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

The race is named after May Hill, winner of the 1975 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster as well as the Yorkshire Oaks at York.

It was upgraded to Group Two level in 2003 when Kinnaird took the spoils for North Yorkshire trainer Patrick Haslam. The filly went on to win the Group One Prix de l’Opera in 2005.

The mile contest for juvenile fillies was dominated by the late Sir Henry Cecil, who chalked up 12 victories between 1978 and 2001.

Willie Carson’s four victories aboard Tartan Pimpernel (1977), The Dancer (1979), Satinette (1983) and Majmu (1990) make him the joint most successful jockey in May Hill Stakes history. Frankie Dettori has also enjoyed four wins – Calando (1998), Teggiano (1999), White Moonstone (2010) and Lyric Of Light (2011).

Rainbow View, returned at 1/3 in 2008, is the shortest-priced winner of the race. Crowned the champion juvenile filly, John Gosden’s charge won by two lengths from Snoqualmie Girl and then added the Group One Fillies’ Mile to her season’s tally.

Another short-priced winner was The Queen’s Height Of Fashion who returned at 4/6 when successful in 1981 for trainer Dick Hern and jockey Joe Mercer. Height Of Fashion went on to win the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot and the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket before being sold to Hamdan Al Maktoum, for whom she became an outstanding broodmare by producing Nashwan, Unfuwain and Nayef.

Ihtimal made it four consecutive wins for Godolphin in 2013, following on from Certify (2012), Lyric Of Light (2011) and White Moonstone (2010).

Ireland enjoyed its first winner when the Eddie Lynam-trained Agnes Stewart scored in 2014 and had another win in 2015 when the Jim Bolger-trained Turret Rocks was successful.

Only one winner, Pollenator in 2009, has been returned at double-figure odds. The Richard Hannon snr-trained filly was a 14/1 chance when scoring by half a length from subsequent Group One winner Hibaayeb.

The race has produced two Oaks winners in Midway Lady (1985) and Reams Of Verse (1996), while the former also captured the 1,000 Guineas en route to Epsom success in 1986.

The Clugston Construction May Hill Stakes is run on Thursday 8th September, DFS Ladies Day.


First run in 1982, the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes honours one of the greatest fillies of all time, the remarkable Sceptre.

In winning the 1902 St Leger at Doncaster, the great racemare became the only horse to succeed in four British Classics, having also annexed the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas and Oaks. Her only Classic reversal came in that year’s Derby when she was left at the start and finished fourth to Ard Patrick.

Initially staged over a mile for fillies and mares aged three and up, the Sceptre Stakes race distance was cut to seven furlongs in 1993. It attained Listed status in 1985 and was upgraded to Group Three level ahead of the 2011 renewal.

Luca Cumani trained Triple Tipple to win the inaugural contest under Greville Starkey and the handler struck again with Capricorn Belle in 1984, Fantasia in 2009 and Nargys in 2013.

The most successful trainer in the race’s history is Barry Hills with five Sceptre Stakes victories to his name. Asteroid Field in 1986 was the first, followed by My Branch (1996), Mamounia (2002), Tantina (2003) and Royal Confidence (2008). As a broodmare, My Branch produced Group One Haydock Sprint Cup heroine Tante Rose.

Cherry Ridge, ridden by Willie Carson, won the first Listed running of the race in 1985 and the rider was again in the hot seat when the John Gosden-trained Arjuzah landed the spoils in 1993, the initial seven-furlong renewal. Carson notched four successes in the race, the other two coming aboard Tabdea (1990) and Perfect Circle (1992), making him the equal winning-most jockey alongside Michael Hills (1996 My Branch, 2002 Mamounia, 2003 Tantina, 2008 Royal Confidence).

Three-year-olds have by far the best record in the race with 27 of the 33 contests (there was no race in 1989) falling to the Classic generation. The first older filly to succeed was the four-year-old You Know The Rules in 1991, ridden by Lester Piggott for trainer Mick Channon.

Five-year-olds have prevailed twice thanks to Nice One Clare (2001) and Favourable Terms (2005). Two six-year-olds have succeeded, the Mark Johnston-trained Branston Abby (1995) and Susu (1999).

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Favourable Terms won the 2005 Sceptre Stakes, having captured the Group One Nassau Stakes the previous year.

Nice One Clare, trained by Pip Payne, used the Sceptre Stakes as a springboard to Group Two glory as she annexed the Diadem Stakes next time out in 2001.

The Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes place on Friday 9th September.


This race for two-year-olds was founded in 1967 as the Norfolk Stakes. It took that name until 1973 when Ascot renamed the New Stakes to honour the Duke of Norfolk.

The Doncaster contest’s title was changed to the Flying Childers Stakes. The 18th century champion, Flying Childers, owned by the Duke of Devonshire, was known in his day as the “fleetest horse that ever ran at Newmarket”, so it is fitting that the race run in his honour is a five-furlong dash.

D’Urbeville, trained by Jeremy Tree, won the initial race at odds of 4/5 for jockey Jimmy Lindley. Hittite Glory sprang the biggest shock in the race’s history in 1975 when scoring at 100/1 under Frankie Durr.

The brilliant Marwell won the Flying Childers in 1980 and went on to further success in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket before being crowned champion two-year-old filly. The Michael Stoute-trained filly became joint champion sprinter in Europe the following year. In that 1981 season, she captured the Kings’ Stand Stakes, July Cup and Prix de l’Abbaye. Marwell produced another great filly at stud in Marling, the 1991 champion two-year-old filly and 1992 champion miler.

Stoute’s five wins in the race make him the trainer with the most successes in the Flying Childers Stakes. His victories have come through Music Maestro (1977), Marwell (1980), Green Desert (1985), Raah Algharb (1994) and Saddad (2001).

Lester Piggott is the most successful rider in the race’s history, having captured the prize five times between 1969 (Tribal Chief) and 1985 (Green Desert). Piggott’s son-in-law William Haggas trained the 2000 winner Superstar Leo.

Tribal Chief, at 4/11, is the equal shortest-priced winner along with Marwell, who was ridden by Greville Starkey.

Three Irish-trained horses have carried off the prize. The Dermot Weld-trained Hot Spark scored under Piggott in 1974 and Edward Hide partnered the Vincent O’Brien-trained Peterhof in 1981. In 2011, the David Wachman-trained Requinto became the first Irish-trained victor for 30 years.

The speedy grey Paris House won for trainer Jack Berry in 1991, having previously chased home champion sprinter Sheikh Albadou in the all-age Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Fleeting Spirit was another excellent winner in 2007, defeating subsequent King’s Stand Stakes third Anglezarke, with future Group One-winning miler Lord Shanakill in fifth. The Jeremy Noseda-trained filly blitzed some of the world’s best sprinters when taking the 2009 July Cup at Newmarket.

Sand Vixen broke the juvenile course record when scoring in 2009 for the Godolphin, with a time of 58.10 seconds.

Cotai Glory threw away victory in 2014 when veering sharply right and unseating George Baker in the final furlong, handing victory to Beacon, trained by Richard Hannon who was successful again in 2015 with Gutaifan.

The Pepsi Max Flying Childers is run on Friday 9th September.


First run in 1766, the Group Two Doncaster Cup is the oldest race that still takes place under the Rules of Racing and this year mark its 250th anniversary. The two and a quarter mile contest, one of the highlights of the season at Doncaster, is the final leg of the historic Stayers’ Triple Crown that also incorporates the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Goodwood Cup at Glorious Goodwood. It is also part of the British Champions Series.

The race was originally called the Doncaster Gold Cup and run at Cantley Moor until 1776. It has been staged over two and a quarter miles since 1926, having taken place over various distances of around four miles up to 1824, two miles and five furlongs from 1825 to 1890 and two miles, one furlong from 1908 until 1926.

Many of the Turf’s finest stayers have landed the historic prize and the most recent to clinch the Stayers’ Triple Crown on Town Moor was the great Double Trigger in 1995.

Trained in Middleham by Mark Johnston, “Trigger” captured the Doncaster Cup on three occasions, gaining back-to-back triumphs in 1995 and 1996 before finishing fourth to Canon Can in 1997 and then reclaiming his title in 1998.

The first dual winner of the 19th century was the John Scott-trained Touchstone (1835 & 1836), while the great mare Beeswing won the race a remarkable four times. Having prevailed in 1837, the darling of the north returned triumphant in 1840, 1841 and 1842. There have been eight dual winners since 1801. As well as Touchstone, Alice Hawthorne (1843/44) and Vedette (1857/58) achieved the feat in the 19th century, while Velocity proved too quick for his challengers in 1907 and 1908, The Queen’s Agreement triumphed in 1958 and 1959, the brilliant Le Moss reigned supreme in 1979 and 1980, Millenary bagged two wins in 2004 and 2005 and Times Up (2012 & 2013) is the most recent.

Voltigeur, Lord Zetland’s brilliant colt, won the Derby and the Doncaster Cup in 1850 and the following year’s Epsom hero, Teddington, completed the double when winning the Town Moor contest in 1852. In 1863, Macaroni won both races in the same season, as did Kettledrum in 1861.

The most recent Derby winner to carry off the Doncaster Cup was Lemberg who took the Town Moor race in 1911, having won the Epsom Classic in 1910.

The 2011 hero Saddler’s Rock was the latest three-year-old to take the Doncaster Cup. A total of 18 horses of Classic age have been successful since 1900. Double Trigger was a four-year-old when clinching his first success and, since 1900, more horses of that age have prevailed than any other, with 47 horses aged four carrying off the prize.

The oldest winner in that period is Persian Punch, who was 10 when taking the spoils in 2003 – the year the race became a Group Two contest. He outdid his old rival Millenary, winner of the 2000 Ladbrokes St Leger, who was eight when winning the Doncaster Cup for a second time in 2005. His trainer John Dunlop had a third Doncaster Cup in 2012 with six-year-old Times Up.

Eight horses, including Sergeant Cecil (2006), Boreas (2002), Millenary, Double Trigger and Times Up, have won the race as seven-year-olds since 1900.

Joe Mercer, with eight victories between 1953 and Le Moss’ second triumph in 1980, is the winning-most rider in the history of the race. The most successful jockey in recent times has been Ryan Moore with three wins. Moore, successful on Askar Tau in 2009, recorded back-to-back victories on Times Up (2013) and Estimate (2014) who gave The Queen her fifth victory in the race (the most for a current owner) and had won the Gold Cup in 2013.

Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, with seven successes, has more wins on the roll of honour than any other trainer, commencing in 1934 with Alcazar and culminating in 1963 with Raise You Ten. His late stepson, Sir Henry Cecil, is next on the list with six victories, the last being Canon Can in 1997.

There have been three dead-heats. As well as Kasthari and Millenary in 2004, Merry Gal and Sidus were inseparable in 1901, while Souepi and Nick La Rocca passed the post in tandem in 1953.

The biggest field to line up is 15 in 1834 when Tomboy won. A post-19th century record of 12 runners went to post in 2014 when Estimate triumphed in the colours of The Queen.

There have been four occasions since 1900 when only two runners started. Prince Palatine (1912), winner of the previous year’s St Leger, Long Set (1913), Colorado Kid (1933) and Exar (1960) each held off one rival.

At 1/20, Prince Palatine is the shortest-priced winner, while 33/1 shot Shangamuzo returned the biggest odds in 1977 under Pat Eddery.

Possibly the unluckiest horse in the race’s history is Petrizzo, who was first past the post in both 1984 and 1986, only to lose the race in the stewards’ room on each occasion for causing interference.

The Doncaster Cup has been a very successful race for The Queen. Her Majesty’s colours were first carried to victory by Atlas in 1956 and she has won the race a further three times, most recently with Estimate in 2014.

The 250th Doncaster Cup takes place on Friday 9th September 2016.


First run in 1978, the Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes was staged over its current distance of seven furlongs until 1993 at which point it became a mile contest, reverting to its original distance in 2003. The race gained Group Three status in 1986 and was upgraded to Group Two in 2004.

Dual winners have dominated the roll of honour in recent years with Arabian Gleam, successful in 2007 and 2008, following hot on the heels of Iffraaj, who triumphed in 2005 and 2006.

Iffraaj won for trainer Michael Jarvis on the first of those occasions before joining the Godolphin stable of trainer Saeed bin Suroor, for whom he prevailed a year later. That second success came at York during Doncaster’s redevelopment.

Bishop Of Cashel, trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Walter Swinburn was the first dual winner of the race (1995/96).

The first running of the Park Stakes went to the Paul Kelleway-trained 33/1 shot Green Girl and no horse has returned at longer odds. The shortest-priced winner was the Henry Cecil-trained Salse who scored at 8/15 in 1988.

Three horses have won at odds-on, the others being 2,000 Guineas winner Known Fact (4/6) in 1980 and Iffraaj in 2006.

In 1993, four horses went off as 7/2 co-favourites and duly filled the first four berths with the Richard Hannon snr-trained Swing Low prevailing.

Willie Carson, with four wins, is the most successful jockey in the Park Stakes (1980 Known Fact, 1982 The Quiet Bidder, 1985 Lucky Ring & 1989 Gold Seam). Frankie Dettori is the winning-most current rider with three wins (1990 Green Line Express, 1998 Handsome Ridge & 2006 Iffraaj).

Major Dick Hern (1981 Kittyhawk, 1985 Lucky Ring & 1989 Gold Seam), Sir Michael Stoute (1982 The Quiet Bidder, 1994 Soviet Line & 2001 Tough Speed) and James Fanshawe (1995 & 1996 Bishop Of Cashel & 2003 Polar Ben) each have three wins on the board, more than any other trainers.

Hughie Morrison saddled the 2004 winner, Pastoral Pursuits. The 5/1 shot went on to Group One glory with a storming victory in the G1 July Cup at Newmarket the next year.

Duff took the 2009 contest for Ireland. The Edward Lynam-trained six-year-old returned in 2010 and ran his usual game race from the front before fading to fourth behind seven-year-old Balthazaar’s Gift, the oldest winner alongside Duck Row in 2002 and the 2011 hero Premio Loco. Lynam struck again with the well-backed Viztoria in 2013, who became the first filly to triumph since Guest Performer in 1987.

Ireland enjoyed a third victory in six years when the Sabrina Harty-trained Ansgar made all of the running under James Doyle to hold off 2/1 favourite Aljamaaheer by a half-length in 2014.

Limato was the impressive winner in 2015 and emulated Pastoral Pursuits by going on to win the G1 July Cup the following year at Newmarket.

The Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes takes place on Saturday 10th September 2016.


(Pictured top: Toronado, 2012 winner)

First run in 1823, the At The Races Champagne Stakes has always been a leading Classic pointer and was increased in distance from six to seven furlongs in 1961.

Previously open to all two-year-olds, the race was restricted to colts and geldings in 1988 when Prince Of Dance was victorious. The last successful filly was Ambergris in 1960 and other notable winners of the fairer sex include greats such as Beeswing (1835), La Fleche (1891) and Pretty Polly (1903).

Bill Scott rode the first two winners of the race (1823 Swiss & 1824 Memnon) and went on to secure nine victories in all. He has the most number of wins by a jockey followed by Willie Carson whose eight victories commenced with Otha in 1972 and culminated with Bahhare in 1996. The most successful jockey currently riding is Frankie Dettori, who teamed up with trainer David Loder to notch a hat-trick with Noverre (2000), Dubai Destination (2001) and Almushahar (2002), before scoring on Poet’s Voice in 2009 and Saamidd in 2010, both trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

Noverre passed the post first in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains the following spring but was later disqualified. He made amends for that with victory in the Group One Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and ended the season as the champion three-year-old miler. Dubai Destination won a vintage renewal in 2001 when quickening impressively to defeat the exceptional Rock Of Gibraltar. The winner raced only once the following season due to injury, while the runner-up won his next seven starts, all at Group One level. Dubai Destination returned to action as a four-year-old, winning the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Legendary Middleham trainer John Scott saddled 10 winners, beginning with Swiss (1823), a feat matched by Mat Dawson whose initial victory came in 1864 with Zambesi, three years after Scott’s final success with The Marquis. The Marquis subsequently won the St Leger in 1862. Dawson’s 10th and last Champagne Stakes win came in 1893 when subsequent Derby winner Ladas was triumphant.

The race has produced three dead-heats. The first was in 1886 when Lord Zetland’s Panzerschiff and Grandison, owned by Lord Ellesmere, were inseparable. Galangal and Vedriana crossed the line in tandem in 1904, while 2005’s renewal saw the Terry Mills-trained Close To You joined in victory with Silent Times, trained by Eoghan O’Neill.

The third Aga Khan’s Palestine, trained by Frank Butters and ridden to success by Gordon Richards in 1949, is the shortest-priced winner. The colt, winner of the 2,000 Guineas the following spring, returned at odds of 1/9. In history of the race, only 16 horses have won at double-figure odds. The longest priced winner was Ayah, a 20/1 shot in 1897. More recently, the O’Neill-trained Vital Equine prevailed at 16/1 in 2006.

Toronado emulated Trumpet Major’s triumph to give Richard Hannon snr and Richard Hughes back-to-back successes in 2012. The son of High Chaparral established himself as one of the best of his generation with an impressive victory in the Group One Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in 2013.

Outstrip followed up his Doncaster victory with success in the 2013 Grade One Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, USA, giving Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby his first triumph at the highest level. Appleby was on the mark again in 2015 with Emotionless.

The At The Races Champagne Stakes takes place on Saturday 10th September 2016.

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