The four-day St. Leger Festival is staged annually at Doncaster Racecourse in August. The first three days feature a selection of high-class Listed and Pattern races and handicaps, but the meeting builds to a dramatic climax with the running of the fifth, and final, Classic of the season, the St. Leger, on the Saturday
The opening day of the St. Leger Festival, christened “St. Leger Legends Day”, has an understated feel, with the eponymous Leger Legends Race – the only British charity race for ex-professional jockeys – taking centre stage. The card also includes the Scarborough Stakes, a Listed contest over 5 furlongs and 3 yards, which is open to horses of both sexes aged two years and upwards.
Day two, a.k.a. “Ladies Day”, unsurprisingly has a feminine feel on and off the track. The racing action revolves around the May Hill Stakes, a Group Two contest run over the straight mile and confined exclusively to two-year-old fillies, and the Park Hill Stakes, another Group Two contest, run over 1 mile 6 furlongs and confined to fillies and mares aged three years and upwards.
The penultimate day, a.k.a. “Gentleman’s Day”, revolves around the Doncaster Cup, a Group Two contest run over 2 miles 1 furlong and 197 yards and open to horses of both sexes aged three years and upwards. The Doncaster Cup is not only the penultimate leg of the British Champions Long Distance Series, but also the final leg of the “Stayers’ Triple Crown” – after the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Goodwood Cup – and the oldest race in the British racing calendar.
St. Leger Day kicks off with two Group Two contests, the Park Stakes, over 7 furlongs and 6 yards, and the Champagne Stakes, over the same distance, but confined to two-year-old colts and geldings. However, the St. Leger Stakes, founded by Colonel Anthony St. Leger in 1776, is not only the highlight of the week, but the highlight of the year, at Doncaster. The final leg of the “English Triple Crown” and “Fillies’ Triple Crown” – after the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby, and the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks, respectively – is run over 1 mile 6 furlongs and 115 yards and worth £700,000 in prize money.