Beginners guide to Doncaster St Leger Festival

One of the biggest old classic races arrives at Doncaster Racecourse this September for 4 days of fabulous dining, classic horse racing action and upbeat entertainment. The horse racing celebrations begin at one of Britain’s oldest racecourses on Wednesday 11th -14th September where guests can enjoy the St Leger Festival in the newly refurbished hospitality facilities or the five-storey grandstand, offering some of the best views over the pear-shaped racecourse.

The St Leger Festival is one of the most prestigious race meetings in the Autumn horse racing calendar, held at Yorkshire racecourse and continues to be Doncaster’s biggest event of the year in the sport. The event is also known for being one of the oldest classic racing in the World, which adds to the day’s action, as the flat season comes to an end.

Featured Race

If your heading down to Doncaster for a Saturday full of horse racing action on St Leger Day, keep your eyes on the fourth race, the William Hill St Leger Stakes. This race boasts some of the most commended three-year-old colts and fillies who race over 1 mile 6 furlong 115 yards to the finishing post. If we look back into the history of the festival it all first began in 1776, when the sport would have been running differently for sure. One of the differences is the distance of the St Legers Stakes, as it was originally ran over 2 miles and is now ran over a shorter distance.

The lucky winners of this race are estimated a return of around £700,000 and jockey Ryan Moore has won two consecutive Leger Stakes from 2017-2018, adding a win to trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 6 wins in this race. In this year’s race, the Irishman has trained 10 out of the 24 runner’s finest runners, hoping for at least one winner.

But who other than Frankie Dettori leads the way for the Jockeys in this race as he’s taken five wins, his last being 11 year ago in 2008 on Conduit. Unfortunately for him, last year saw him slightly miss the top spot and take second place on Lah Ti Dar. Will he show up at 3.35 on Saturday to change his 11-year drought in the St Leger Stakes?

The luck of the Irish seems to be written all over this race with 3 out of the last 4 St Leger Stakes having been won by Irish horses. Take the TIP and join the winning section. Whilst this is the most anticipated race of the day, and perhaps the festival, the action doesn’t end with the Leger Stakes at Doncaster and race enthusiasts can look forward to a few more races from the Leger Festival.

The Opening Day of the festival is where it all begins at Doncaster and sure is a special one, as it is the only charity race for ex jockeys. The race helps the Northern Racing College and rehabilitation Centre for injured jockeys at the Jack Berry House. Following on from 2010 when the first Mondialiste Leger Legends race started, it has now become an annual race at the festival. The charity race is lined for 3.35pm with a 1 mile run around the pear-shaped track.

The final Ladies Day of the year ends at Doncaster racecourse and they welcome the best in fashion for the second day of the St Legers Festival as over 15,000 racegoers dress to impress and let’s not forget the entertainment from DJ Melanie C, because the party won’t stop. Female jockeys go head to head in the Silks Series final. The race promotes the sport’s female jockeys and is held in 13 racecourses around the UK, making it the biggest race of Ladies Day. Get ready for the anticipated Silks Series race which runs at 4:20pm.

Gentlemen’s Day commences on Friday. The Doncaster Cup is a Group 2 race which takes place on the third day of the festival, it is one of the oldest races to take centre stage at a meeting, and therefore has become the featured race on Gentlemen’s Day. Ryan Moore continues to hold the leading jockey title in this race with 4 wins, his most recent being last year which saw him win on Thomas Hobson. The race is a long-distance race of 2 miles 1 furlong and 197 yards. Get your bets ready for 3.10pm as the race begins.

Dress Code

The Dress code at Doncaster Racecourse calls for smart attire from both female and males. Trainers and sportswear should not be worn, neither fancy dress. It is asked that men wear a collard shirt, jacket and a tie in line with whichever enclosure or restaurant dress code they are situated in.

Ladies should be dressed to impress as they go head to head to grab the title of best dressed. This title is not just any award as the winner goes ahead to represent the Racecourse in the final of Yorkshire’s Best Dressed Lady in the coming months.


What’s a horse racing meeting if you don’t put on at least one bet while your there? Whether you’re a betting fanatic or first-time punter get your bets ready for the St Leger Festival. Race goers can put as little as £1 on a horse but your also welcome to put £100, whether you have been given a favourable tip or you fancy the name put your bets down. Most of our packages include race cards which allows you to see the runners in each race, this is where your betting begins. Guests can place their bets at the many betting stands around Doncaster racecourse and inside of the hospitality suites.

Racing jargon:

  • Non-runner – pick another horse cause unlucky this one isn’t running
  • Listed Race – One of the featured races, very competitive
  • Under orders – when the horses are preparing to start the race, this is when no bets can be made
  • Going- condition of the ground. (TIP: some horses prefer a certain going)


Make the most of your St Leger Festival experience and upgrade your hospitality package to make sure that you relish the action at Doncaster Racecourse. Upgrade and gain access to some of the most fabulous newly refurbished hospitality facilities at the races paired with fine dining. Call our team on 020 7989 6500 to upgrade your package.