St Leger Festival 2018 Betting Offers

The St Leger Stakes is the stand out Group 1 flat race of the festival. The race is the 5th of the five ‘classics’ in the season as well as the third and final leg of the Triple Crown (with the Espom Derby and the 2000 Guineas) and fillies Triple Crown (with the Epsom Oaks and 1000 Guineas). The St Leger is the oldest of all the classic races, dating back to 1776, and also the longest of them all, run over 1 mile and 6 furlongs (just under 3km).

The 2018 festival is sponsored by William Hill with prize money this year for the winner expected to approach £400,000 with an overall purse in excess of £700k. The 2017 race was won by the Aidan O’Brien trained horse Capri, jockey Ryan Moore gaining his first victory in the world’s oldest classic to complete the set.

It’s not all about the St Leger stakes either with four days of racing to enjoy over the festival that includes another 28 races. As the last major flat race of the season the St leger attracts a lot of betting as punters have had the whole season to study the horses in the best form. As usual don’t just bet with any old bookie, visit this page for the best ante-post promotions and latest deals updated daily through the festival.

Latest St Leger Betting Offers

Coral
Stake Back ALL Festival Races if Beaten by a Length
Up to £25 if your pick is beaten to 2nd by length or less in ALL races
Winner
St Leger Festival – Beaten by a Length Stake Back
Pick any horse in any race and get up to £25 back if 2nd by less

St Leger Festival Schedule & Racecard 2018

The St Leger Festival sees six Group 2 and a Group 3 race in addition to the crowing jewel Group 1 race the St Leger Stakes on the final day.

The festival is all about building up to the Saturday with a progressive card that gets more exciting as the days go by. Below you will find full race cards for each day of the St Leger Festival with highlights.

Day One – 12th September 2018

Time Race Grade Distance
2:20 Irish Stallion Farms Conditions Stakes Class 2 – Plus 10 6f 2y
2:50 Nursery Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 7f 6y
3:20 Scarbrough Stakes Listed (Class 1) 5f 3y
3:50 Clipper Logistics Classified Stakes Class 5 1m
4:20 William Hill App Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 7f 6y
4:50 Conditions Stakes Class 2 1m 2f 43y
5:20 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Handicap Class 4 – Handicap 5f 3y

KEY: m – Miles, f – furlong(s), y – yards

Day one at the St Leger Festival is a nice easy day to get things going. There are no group races on the first day but there are some great sprints to enjoy.

The festival gets underway with a Plus 10 (extra £10k to the winner) race over 6-furlongs, followed by 7-furlong handicap, both for two year olds. The third race of the day is a sprint over 5 furlongs open to two year olds and over.

The fourth race is the first to be held over a mile, this class 5 race is open to three year olds and up and while it’s low on the grade the race attracts a decent sized field of over 15 to add some more excitement. This is followed by two handicap races, a class 2 and a class 4 over 7 and 5-furlongs respectively, with the longest race of the day, a 1 mile and 2 furlong run for 3 to 5-year-old runners, sandwiched in the middle.

Day Two – 13th September 2018

Time Race Grade Distance
1:20 Lady Riders’ Handicap Class 3 – Handicap 6f 2y
1:50 Fillies Nursery Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 6f 111y
2:25 May Hill Stakes Group 2
1m
3:00 Park Hill Stakes Group 2 1m 6f 115y
3:35 Weatherbys 2 Year Old Stakes Class 2 6f 111y
4:05 Crownhotel-bawtry.com Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 1m 2f 43y
4:35 EBF Fillies’ Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 1m 3f 197y

Day 2 of the festival moves us up a gear with seven races to enjoy including two back to back group 2 stakes.

Before this we are eased in with a nice lady riders handicap, a 6-furlong sprint for three-year-olds.  This is followed by another 6f gallop, this time for 2YO fillies. Both races have a good sized field of around 20 allowing punters the chance to place an outsider in the opening two races of the day.

With little time to take a breath the first group 2 race of the week is upon us in the May Hill Stakes. This contest for fillies of 2 years of age goes back to 1976 and is often used as a tester for next year’s 1000 Guineas. This race carries a good prize fund for fillies only race exceeding £80k.

The third race and second group two race of the day, the Park Hill Stakes, is another contest restricted to fillies and mares. Run over a mile and 6f is one of the oldest on the card dating back to 1839, winners of this race can expect to pick up over £51,000.

The second day continues with a 6f race for 2yo’s followed by two longer handicap races for 3yo+ horses.  A nice mixed day of big group races and lots of big field handicaps, suiting all punters.

Day Three – 14th September 2018

Time Race Grade Distance
1:20 Flying Scotsman Stakes Listed 7f 6y
1:50 Spectre Stakes Group 3 7f 6y
2:25 Flying Childers Stakes Group 2 5f 3y
3:00 Mallard Stakes Class 2 – Handicap 1m 6f 115y
3:35 Doncaster Cup Group 2 2m 1f 197y
4:05 EBF Maiden Stakes Class 3 – Plus 10 1m
4:35 Lakeside Village Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 6f 111y
5:10 Marquees Classified Stakes Class 3 – Handicap 1m 2f 43y

As of 2017 day 3 at Doncaster now hosts no less than 8 races on the card.  The Flying Scotsman, a listed race over 7 furlongs, has been promoted to first race of the day and gets us going nicely.

This is followed by the Spectre Stakes, another fast dash with a large field and the only group 3 race of the festival. The 7f race is open to mares and fillies three years and up and has proven a highly competitive affair in recent years with trainer Barry Hills enjoying particular success. The field will be in the region of 20 horses with a prize to the winner of around £35k.

It’s up a grade again for the second race with a 5-furlong Group 2 sprint for two year olds. This is often seen as a proving ground for the next seasons three-year-old nags. Originally named the Norfolk Stakes the race was established in 1967, the name was changed due to a conflict with the Ascot race of the same name. The race is now named after an 18th Century horse, Flying Childers.

The Mallard Handicap for 3yo+ is sandwiched in next before the race of the day, the 252nd ever Doncaster Cup. This is the longest run of the week over 2 miles and 2-furlongs and actually pre-dates the St Leger, first run in 1766 as the Doncaster Gold Cup. In fact, the race used to be a true stayers race, first held over 4 miles until it was changed in 1825. It is common to see many of the runners from the Ascot Gold Cup in this race. The winner of this race can expect to pick up in the region of £60,000.

There is little time to collect your thoughts before the last three races of this action packed day.  The day is capped off with a plus 10 race over a mile before a fast class 2 handicap over 6 furlongs and then finally a class 3 handicap over twice the distance, of 1 mile and 2 furlongs.

Day Four – 15th September 2018

Time Race Grade Distance
1:50 Portland Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 5f 143y
2:25 Park Stakes Group 2 7f 6y
3:00 Champagne Stakes Group 2 7f 6y
3:35 St Leger Stakes Group 1 1m 6f 115y
4:10 Nursery Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 1m
4:45 P J Towey Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 1m
5:55 Marra Falcons Handicap Class 2 – Handicap 1m 3f 197y

Day four at the festival, or St Leger day as it is often referred, provides the pinnacle to the event. The steady build up in quality of the previous three days culminates in an often raucous atmosphere at the Doncaster course.

It’s a gentle start to the day with the Portland Handicap. This is a rare short handicap sprint over 5 1/2 furlongs and it is a favourite of punters (not the bookies though) as the favourite tends to win. The winner of this race can pick up nearly £40k, not bad for a handicap.

Next up we are treated to group 2 3yo+ clash, the Park Stakes. This fairly late comer was created back in 1978 and attained group 2 status in 2004 and commands a prize purse around £100k with £57k to the winner.

The third race of the day is another Group 2 7-fulong run for two-year-old colts and geldings. Another nearly 200-year-old race first run back in 1823, the Champagne Stakes was made male only in 1988 with previous winners including the likes of Godolphin. The purse is around £80,000 for this one with £44k to the winner.

The St Leger Stakes goes off at 3:45pm, the group 1 classic, the only group 1 race of the week and one of only two held at Doncaster, is also the oldest of the five big flat races. Dating back to 1776 this is also the longest classic race run over a distance of 1 mile and six furlongs and open to 3 year old horses of either gender. Being at the end of the season this race attract more betting activity of any other classic as punters have had time to watch the runners over the season.

The St Leger also holds the honour of being the only classic race to be run at a Northern racecourse. This race requires a lot of stamina and speed, the eventual winner deserving of the around £400,000 prize from an overall purse of about £700k.

The day and festival ends nicely with three back to back class 2 handicap races giving racegoers and punters alike the time to catch their breath after a spectacular meeting.

About the St Leger

The race was established in 1776, organised by the second Marquess of Roackingham. In its first year the race was actually known as the Sweepstake of 25 Guineas held at Cantley Common and it was one of the Marquess’ own horses who won the inaugural race, a filly named Allabaculia.

At a dinner party held the following year to discuss the next race it was proposed the race should be renamed after the Marquess of Rockingham but he politely refused. Instead he proposed the race be named after a local Major General in the British army, Antony St Leger.

Following a successful career in the army Antony St Leger became owner of a local estate where he bred and race horses. Anthony was also local MP for Grimbsy from 1768-74 and was somewhat of a local celebrity among the gentry and he helped devise the 2-mile inaugural race.

In 1778 the race was moved to its present location of Doncaster racecourse, named then Town Moor. In 1800 the race gained extra prestige as the first ever double champion to win both the Derby and the St Leger emerged, the horse was aptly named Champion. In 1813 the race was reduced to 1 mile and 6 furlongs where it has remained for the over 200 years since. West Australian became the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 1853 winning the St leger, the Derby and the 2000 Guineas in the same season.

The St Leger has been a main stay of the British flat racing calendar for over 200 years. The longest and last of the five classic races in the season has only been halted by war and has pretty much always been run at Doncaster. The only one of the classics to be held at a Northern English race course.

The race was transferred to Newmarket during World War I at which time it was named the September Stakes. During World War II the race did not run at all in 1939 and moved to Thirsk in 1940, Manchester held the race in 1941 and it was back to Newmarket from 1942 to 1944 before York hosted the race in 1945 before moving back to Doncaster.

The race has been held once outside of England in 1989 when it was move to Ayr in Scotland due to subsidence at Doncaster.

St Leger Records and Statistics

Statistic
Top Jockey Bill Scott – 9 Wins (From 1821 to 1846)
Top Trainer John Scott – 16 wins (From 1827 to 1862)
Top Owner Archibald Hamilton – 7 winners (From 1786 to 1814)
Fastest Time Masked Marvel in 2011, 3m 44s
Biggest Margin Never Say Die in 1954 by 12 lengths
Longest Odds Theodore in 1822 at 200/1
shortest Odds Galtee More in 1897 at 1/10
Biggest Field 30 runners in 1825
Smallest Field 3 runners in 1917

Doncaster Racecourse

goodwood2Doncaster today boasts one of the largest courses by capacity in the United Kingdom and it is also one of the oldest race tracks. Originally named Town Moor there are records of racing being held there from the 1500’s in Henry VIII’s time.

In the year 1600 local law makers attempted to bar racing at the Moor due the attraction of unscrupulous characters but gave up by 1614 instead trying to control racing by marking out an actual course, Doncaster never looked back.

The St Leger may be the oldest classic and the most prestigious race associated with the course but there is in fact an even older race that heralds from Doncaster that is still run today on the third day of the festival, the Doncaster Cup. The race, initially named the Doncaster Gold Cup, is actually the oldest regulated horse race in the world still going today. It is also one of the longest, and the longest race of the 29 races of the St Leger Festival, held over 2 miles and 2 furlongs, and currently runs on day three of the festival. When the race was first devised and run in 1766 it was held over an even longer distance of 4 miles, a true race for British stayers, it was reduced to its current length in 1825. The Doncaster Cup is still part of the Stayers triple Crown along with the Goodwood Cup and the Gold Cup at Ascot.

The course holds another group 1 flat race in October each year, the Racing Post Trophy. Run over 1 mile the race goes back to 1961 when it was named the Timeform Gold Cup. The Observer newspaper were sponsors of the race when it achieved group one status in 1971 followed by William Hill in 1976 and the Racing Post in 1989 until today. The prize purse for this race today is around £250,000 with up to £150,000 for the winner.

Doncaster has a modern claim to fame too. In 1992 it became the first British racecourse to host a Sunday meeting. Over 23,000 spectators turned up to watch despite their being no ability to bet on a Sunday at the time.

The course is left handed, mainly flat and in the shape of a pear, over a distance of 1 mile and 7.5 furlongs. The course is used for both flat racing and jump racing in the National Hunt season.