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Doncaster is one of the premier racecourses in Britain, staging top-class Flat and jumps action all year round. It is the home to the world's oldest Classic, the St. Leger, which is run on the final day of the four-day St. Leger Festival in September. St. Leger betting can be found at William Hill throughout the summer.
Brocklesby Stakes – The first two-year-old race of the Flat season and a race that attracts the most precociously-bred juveniles. Bill Turner's runners always need a second look, the veteran trainer has won the race on numerous occasions and tends to target the 5f sprint with his best early-season juvenile(s).
Lincoln Handicap – The marquee race on the opening day of the Flat season and a contest that is often won by horses with aspirations of competing at a higher level. 2018 winner Addeybb went on to win the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown on his next start en route to dining at the top table later in the campaign.
St. Leger Meeting:
Park Hill Stakes – Often referred to as 'the fillies St Leger', the Park Hill Stakes is a 1m6f Group 2 contest staged on the second day (Thursday) of Doncaster's four-day Festival. It attracts progressive three-year-old fillies who are improving as they go up in distance as well as classy older fillies like Simple Verse, who won the St. Leger in 2015 then returned to Doncaster 12 months later to land this valuable prize for Ralph Beckett, who also stole the honours in 2017 with Alyssa.
Doncaster Cup - The final leg of the Stayers' Triple Crown, preceded by the Gold Cup and the Goodwood Cup and run on the third day (Friday) of Doncaster's four-day St.Leger Festival. The 2m1f event is one of the premier races for stayers in the Flat calendar and has even produced a royal winner when Estimate won in 2014, her first success since the previous season's Gold Cup at Ascot.
William Hill St. Leger – The oldest of the five British Classics and the final one to be run each year, the St. Leger is also the Classic that places most emphasis on stamina. The 1m6f contest is the final leg of the Triple Crown but no horse has managed to win the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger (1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger for fillies) since Nijinsky in 1970. Camelot's agonising second to Encke in 2012 is the only recent example of a horse who went into the St Leger with the Triple Crown still a possibility.
Champagne Stakes – One of the premier juvenile contests of the season, the Group 2 Champagne Stakes is a 7f heat for colts and geldings. It is usually won by one of the top juvenile colts, as in 2018 when champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot justified very short odds before going on to complete an undefeated campaign in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
Other feature races on St. Leger day are the Group 2 Park Stakes, a 7f Group 2 contest, and the Portland Handicap, one of the great 'cavalry charges' of the season.
Vertem Futurity Trophy (formerly the Racing Post Trophy) – The only Group 1 race outside of the St. Leger to be run at Doncaster. The 1m contest is for two-year-old's and often produces a horse with Classic aspirations for the following season, so it's a race that impacts 2,000 Guineas odds and Derby betting.
November Handicap – Run on the final day of the British Flat season, the 1m4f contest is often seen as one of the biggest betting events of the autumn. Often run on soft ground, this competitive handicap often turns into a real stamina test. John Gosden has a terrific record in the race.
Grimthorpe Chase – Named after the Grimthorpe family, who have a long association with the sport, the Grimthorpe Chase is considered to be a Grand National trial, so there will be implications on Grand National odds, although no horse winning the 3m2f contest and then going on to Aintree glory. However, 2004 winner Grey Abbey went on to land the Scottish National that season, while 2005 hero Run For Paddy went on to win the Ayr showpiece the following season.
Great Yorkshire Chase – Normally a hotly-contested 3m handicap chase, the Great Yorkshire Chase is one of the more valuable handicap chases in the season, attracting progressive chasers from big yards. National Hunt powerhouses David Pipe, Kim Bailey, Philip Hobbs, Alan King and Paul Nicholls have all won the race in recent years.
Many of Doncaster's big races have an impact on ante-post markets, none more so than the Champagne Stakes which nearly always throws up a very smart two-year-old. The winner of that contest will almost certainly shorten for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes, in the 2,000 Guineas betting, and if he has a middle-distance pedigree, his Derby odds will also shorten.
The winner of the Lincoln Handicap on the opening weekend of the Flat season, depending on his profile, could turn out to be a contender for one-mile group races later in the year so be sure to check Lockinge Stakes betting (Newbury) and Queen Anne Stakes odds (Royal Ascot).
The Doncaster Cup is the last of the season's big staying races but it's a race that nearly always throws up at least one mover in the following year's Ascot Gold Cup betting.
The Grimthorpe Chase winner will often attract support in the Grand National betting and, more pertinently, Scottish Grand National betting, while the Doncaster Mares' Hurdle, a Grade 2 event that takes place early in the year, often has a bearing on the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Doncaster is a left-handed, galloping circuit with a circumference of two miles. It is mainly flat, with the exception of a slight uphill gradient about a mile-and-a-quarter from the finish, so speed horses are not inconvenienced, although a home straight of four-and-a-half furlongs means that stamina is also tested.
Races between five furlongs and one-mile are run on the straight course, though there is also a round mile start on an off-shoot of the round course.
The fences, of which there are 10 jumped on each circuit, are quite stiff and provide a real test for novices, in particular.
Similar courses where form should be replicated include Ayr, Haydock, Newbury, Warwick, Wetherby and Worcester.
High draws have the edge in sprint races (5f & 6f) but more so in the 6f contests nowadays. The draw only really becomes a factor over 7f in big fields (12+ runners), where higher draws tend to come out best, so be sure to factor in draw data when checking out Doncaster betting.
There used to be a low draw bias in 1m big-field races, especially on soft ground, but more recently results have a more even spread, although you would still prefer to be close to either rail rather than a more central berth.
Over 1m2f on the round course, low draws traditionally have been best - even more so when the ground is soft.
Doncaster racecourse boasts excellent links to the motorway network, including M1 (junction 32), M18 (junction 3/4), A1M (junction 36) and the M62. Parking is free (outside of the Leger Festival) in Car Park C, the entrance to which is opposite the junction at Wickes on Leger Way.
The racecourse provides a shuttle service to Doncaster Station for all race meetings. Shuttles commence from the station at approximately the time the gates at the track open, which is usually around two hours before the first race, until just after the first race.
For more Doncaster betting news, visit news.williamhill.com and be sure to check out William Hill promotions where where you can find the best Doncaster odds throughout the year.
you can find the best Doncaster odds throughout the year.