news-thumb-302Marston’s Beer Company and Arena Racing Company (“ARC”), the UK’s largest racecourse Group, with 15 racecourses, are delighted to announce a three year beer supply agreement.

The agreement includes beer supply to all racecourses, sponsorship of three feature races and a wide range of exciting events across the group. Key to the agreement will be supply of specifically selected brands to suit each racecourse within the ARC Group. Marston’s will also be headline sponsor of The Wainwright Flying Childers at Doncaster Racecourse, The Marston Pedigree Summer cup at Uttoxeter Racecourse, and The Hobgoblin Brighton Mile at Brighton Racecourse.

Marston’s local brand strategy was a key part of its proposal to supply to the network which stretches from Newcastle to Brighton. Beers from Jennings in the north to Ringwood in the south, along with national brands including Hobgoblin, Wainwright and Pedigree all form part of the new supply agreement.

Paul Riley of Marston’s Free Trade commented: “This is a great supply win for Marston’s. We worked closely with the ARC team finding plenty of common ground in our business goals. Marston’s local brands allow the racecourses to keep local supply close to them. We are also delighted to be welcoming back former customers with whom we had long standing relationships stretching back over 20 years.”

ARC hosts more than 500 race days a year while also being a multi-functional events company with its racecourses putting on outdoor music festivals, family events, Christmas parties and corporate events throughout the year. Every September Doncaster Racecourse hosts the world’s oldest Classic horserace, the St Leger Stakes, which attracts over 60,000 people across the four-day festival.

ARC Director of Operations, Mark Spincer, said: “This is the beginning of an exciting partnership and we are delighted to be working with Marston’s across our racecourses. We are constantly striving to improve the customer experience and we are confident our partnership with Marston’s will help provide a great choice of beverages for every visitor who comes to our racecourses. Marston’s will be leading on a number of different initiatives and offerings, with the full support of the ARC team at each racecourse, as we look ahead to an exhilarating summer of racing.”

At each racecourse the local teams are developing specific activity relevant to their customers and aims to target wider customers groups who visit the racecourses for a huge selection of different activities, from parties and events to outdoor summer festivals, as well as special race meetings such as Ladies Day.

Marston’s beer brands will benefit from high level exposure with the vast amount of TV and online coverage horseracing receives. This is an exciting return for Marston’s to the racing arena as it was a long-standing sponsor of the Marston’s Pedigree Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter from 1997- 2004.

Your Big Day Needs Big Plans

So the question has been asked and the answer was Yes! Now, the fun part of planning your big day begins.

Planning a wedding can sometimes seem a daunting task but, with a little organisation, it can be one of the most enjoyable parts in the lead up to the big day.

We’ve been involved in helping to arrange thousands of weddings so we thought we would share our top five wedding wisdoms to get you to the wedding winning post!

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  • Focus on the big things not the little – Getting the venue, guests, dress etc are important, not whether you should have Jimmy Choo’s or pearl earrings. Those little things will all fall into place.
  • Look at the entire wedding picture first  – Firstly deciding on a civil or church wedding will give some direction to your plans and once this has been decided it’s time to choose a venue. With such a myriad of places to get married in now ranging from castles, to stately homes, to zoos, it is well worth doing your research to make sure they can cater for everything you need during the day, not just the service. Have a rough guest list in mind too so that the venue you choose can cope with your intended numbers. Remember too, that if you are planning a sizeable ‘do’ then accommodation and travel needs to be taken into consideration. You don’t want to make attending your wedding tricky for your guests.

Parade ring wedding

  • Be Social – Social Media platforms can play a massive part in co-ordinating wedding ideas and providing inspiration. Check out Pinterest and even create your own board. Follow wedding bloggers who often share the latest and greatest ideas to be taking the wedding world by storm and, if you’re looking for a particular service or product either in your home town or the one where you are having your nuptials, the power of social media can unearth some true gems.
  • Find the fun – Getting married should be fun and this goes for all the planning to make your day simply perfect. Don’t view it as an ordeal, make it fun and this spirit will feed into your plans too. Some of the best weddings we’ve hosted are the ones where the happy couple don’t take themselves too seriously and inject a little humour and sincerity into every part of their day

Wedding photos on the course

  • Individuality – Whilst it’s great to see what the current trends are it always makes a wedding more personal if there is a little individuality sprinkled in there too. A wedding isn’t all about three course meals, speeches and first dances. Make it work for you and you will have a day to remember forever.

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Doncaster Racecourse is a hugely popular wedding venue and is able to cater for ceremonies and wedding parties from 2 to 1,000 guests. It also has the individual “The Old Weighing Room” restaurant which offers guest a smaller, more intimate venue from which to enjoy their celebrations whilst overlooking the Champagne Lawn.

Further information can be found by visiting

ARC launches the Silks Series for female jockeys

On the eve of International Women’s Day, Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is delighted to announce further details about the forthcoming Silk Series – an exciting new race series exclusively for female jockeys.

The Silk Series is a new initiative which will see female jockeys, both professional and amateur, compete in races hosted at nine Ladies’ Days across ARC racecourses in 2017.

The nine races will have total prize money of £100,000. The first eight races in the series will be Class 4 Handicaps worth £10,000 each and the final race, on Ladies’ Day of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse, will be a Class 3 Handicap worth £20,000. Full details of the conditions for each race will be published by British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) in due course as part of the programme of races for the year.

The dates of the races are listed below:

Racecourse Date Prize Fund
Lingfield Park Friday 12 May £10,000
Chepstow Friday 14 July £10,000
Great Yarmouth Wednesday 19 July £10,000
Newcastle Saturday 29 July £10,000
Royal Windsor Monday 31 July £10,000
Brighton Thursday 10 August £10,000
Wolverhampton Friday 18 August £10,000
Bath Saturday 19 August £10,000
Doncaster Thursday 14 September £20,000

Leading apprentice jockey Hollie Doyle is the official ambassador of The Silk Series and will be seeking to compete in the series over the summer. Hollie said: “The Silk Series is a wonderful opportunity for female jockeys to showcase their talents to a wide audience. In the long run, I hope it can help encourage owners and trainers to use female jockeys more often on their horses. I am really looking forward to taking part in The Silk Series.”

Jockeys will be awarded points for winning and being placed in each of the nine races. The points system will be as follows:

1st Place:  20 points

2nd Place: 16 points

3rd Place: 12 points

4th Place    8 points

5th Place:   4 points

6th Place:   2 points

If there is a dead heat for first place the two jockeys will each receive 18 points (based on splitting the points available for first and second) and the third jockey to cross the line will receive 12 points.

The leading female jockey at the end of The Silk Series will be awarded ‘The Tufnell Trophy’ in memory of Meriel Tufnell MBE who was Great Britain’s first Female Champion Jockey in 1972, a feat she matched in 1973 along with also becoming European Female Champion Jockey. In addition to her success on the racecourse she also founded the Lady Jockeys’ Association – the first such body in the world.  The presentation of The Tufnell Trophy will take place on the afternoon of Thursday 14 September at Doncaster Racecourse.

As part of hosting The Silk Series ARC is excited to partner with Cancer Research UK to raise money for the charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. From the sale of each ticket sold for ARC’s 2017 Ladies Day series, 75 pence will be donated to the charity.  Cancer Research UK will have a presence at all nine Ladies’ Days fixtures with racegoers having the opportunity to engage with and support the charity.

ARC Group Director of Partnerships, David Leyden Dunbar said: “We were delighted with the support we received in October when we announced that The Silk Series would be part of our summer flat racing programme.  On the eve of International Women’s Day, we are pleased to be able to confirm further details about the series ahead of it commencing in May at Lingfield Park.”

Executive Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships at Cancer Research UK, Frances Milner, said: “We’re delighted to be working with ARC and The Silk Series. It’s a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of our life-saving work and the money raised at these races will help fund vital research into beating cancer sooner.”

By way of background the timeline below shows some of the major milestones for female jockeys in the last 45 years:

  • 1972 – First ever race for female jockeys at Kempton Park which was won by Meriel Tufnell
  • 1972 – Meriel Tufnell becomes Great Britain’s first Female Champion Jockey
  • 1973 – Meriel Tufnell becomes European Female Champion Jockey
  • 1976 – Diana Thorne ­becomes the first woman to ride a winner under National Hunt rules
  • 1982 – Geraldine Rees becomes the first female jockey to complete in the Grand National finishing 8th on Cheers
  • 1987 – Gee Armytage becomes the first female jockey to win at the Cheltenham Festival winning the Kim Muir Challenge Cup and Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup in the same year
  • 1987 – Gay Kelleway is first woman to win at Royal Ascot on board Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes
  • 1993 – Julie Krone is the first female jockey to win an American Classic at the Breeders’ Cup on board Colonial Affair in the Belmont Stakes
  • 1997 – Alex Greaves became first woman to win a Group 1 when dead-heating in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on board Ya Malak
  • 2008 – Hayley Turner becomes the first woman to ride 100 winners in the UK
  • 2011 – Fourteen years after Alex Greaves’ success Hayley Turner becomes only the second women to win a Group 1 on board Dream Ahead in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket
  • 2011 – Carlisle Racecourse hosts the first ever race meeting solely for female jockeys
  • 2012 – Katie Walsh remains the highest place female jockey in the Grand National finishing 3rd on Seabass
  • 2015 – The Girls team claims its first victory in The Shergar Cup at Ascot Racecourse and Sammy-Jo Bell wins the Silver Saddle as the leading jockey at the race meeting
  • 2015 – Michelle Payne becomes the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in Australia on board Prince of Penzance at odds of 100/1
  • 2015 – Lizzie Kelly becomes the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 over jumps riding Tea For Two to victory in the Feltham Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day
  • 2017 – ARC launch The Silk Series – a pioneering new £100,000 race series for female jockeys


Spring into the flat season at Doncaster Racecourse

As the Daffodils bloom and the football season hots up the renowned Doncaster Racecourse begins preparations for the start of its hugely popular flat season racing.


The famous Betway Lincoln is traditionally  the first fixture that marks the return of the flat and one that is enjoyed by racing enthusiasts from all over the country. The Heritage Handicap which traces its roots back to 1853, runs over a straight mile and is open to horses aged four and over. First past the post last year was Secret Brief, owned by Godophin, trained by Charlie Appleby and rode by William Buick. This year the race is on Saturday 1st April and will not only commence the first race of the flat season but the first race in which the social scene hots up and visitors dress to impress as the weather warms up too.


And, for all type of sports enthusiasts, there will be a large screen in the Grandstand featuring live football. For those of you who like to get more ‘hands on’ – there’s a chance to take on the legend that is John Lowe, a World Champion Darts player. He will be putting his skills to the test by taking on anyone that is game for a 9 Dart Challenge. The winner will receive tickets to the Betway Premier League Darts on 4th May at Sheffield Arena.

And, after a fun packed day of sporting fixtures and socialising what better way to round it off than with entertainment from Take That 2, the UK’s most popular Take That tribute band.

Half Term Happiness – Where to find it!


 Already the first school holiday of the year is almost upon us and the thoughts of grownups across the UK will be encountering that age old question – How can we entertain the kids?

Well the good news is that Doncaster, and the wider county of Yorkshire, have lots of activities to keep children young and old amused and sometimes, you don’t even have to leave your home to have a day to remember.

We did a little straw poll in our offices at Doncaster Racecourse one gloomy January afternoon, and now have the pleasure of sharing our favourites with you. We hope you enjoy them!


The seaside – Yes, we know it’s cold but, providing the rain isn’t sideways, a wintry day out at the seaside is huge fun. Wrap up warm, walk on the beach, drink Yorkshire tea and have a go on traditional seaside rides and slot machines. Guaranteed to make even the grownups join in! And, with 45 miles of Yorkshire coastline to explore, you should be able to find somewhere to go!


At home with tradition – Many of us, and now our children, remember fondly the days at home with parents and grandparents in the holidays. No need to rush about –  just a day packed with simple pleasures. Watching favourite films, baking, learning crafts such as painting, sewing, woodwork and gardening and colouring all featured heavily in happy childhood memories so this half term why not create a few of your own.


Fitness Fun – When the weather is cool and chilly it is sometimes great to burn off some excess energy. There are lots of sporting activities for families to get involved in with lots in Doncaster including swimming, ice skating, walking and cycle trails, badminton and horse riding. For those who require something a little less energetic organise a group of you and challenge friends and family to Ten-Pin Bowling, a fun couple of hours for everyone!


A day at the Races – We know we might just be a tad biased but it really is great fun and less expensive than you might think!  Children under 18 can visit for free as long as they are accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 and one adult can admit up to six children. (Small costs may apply at some of our music live events) Our family enclosure has a fantastic lawned area perfect for warming picnics and often there are attractions just for the children (The details of each meeting should be checked). Don’t forget that on Wednesday 22nd February we have a family fun day at Doncaster Racecourse where there will be lots of children’s activities such as fairground rides, face painting and an interactive disco as well as a packed race card.

To find out what’s on in Yorkshire this half term visit and to book tickets for our event visit

Festival of British Railway Modelling celebrate its 21st year

The Festival of British Railway Modelling will celebrate its 21st year with modelling enthusiasts at Doncaster Racecoursedoncaster-2017.This is a great day out for all the family with many diverse types of modelling to admire plus traders selling must-have items in a variety of major scales, era and gauges. Children’s step stools are available so they can watch over 30 working train sets and ask any questions.

Visit the children’s area for a colouring competition with prizes from Hornby, a ‘guess the layout’ sheet and a railway themed wordsearch.

There will be experts offering a range of advice, tips & superb demonstrations including model building, soldering skills, airbrushing, tree making, lighting & special effects etc. giving you an opportunity to enhance your modelling skills.

Booking in advance will ensure you save up to £2 on your entry, have 30 minutes’ early entry and receive a free show guide on arrival.

A FREE shuttle bus service will be running approximately every 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday between Doncaster Railway station (Doncaster Interchange C6) and the venue. Times 8.30am to 5.15pm each day.

For more information & to book visit: –

Bigbadjohn favourite as 16 run in Saturday’s Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster


Ante-post favourite Bidbadjohn (Rebecca Curtis/Jonathan Burke, 10st 10lb) heads a field of 16 for the £80,000 Listed Sky Bet Chase (3.40pm) at Doncaster on Saturday, January 28.

The prestigious three-mile handicap chase is the richest Jump race of the year at Doncaster and Sky Bet are offering five places for each-way punters.

Bigbadjohn, the 9/2 favourite with Sky Bet is making his handicap debut over fences. He beat Our Kaempfer, an impressive winner at Kempton Park recently, by six lengths in a novices’ chase at Newbury on November 3 and was far from disgraced when beaten eight lengths by Thistlecrack in a G2 contest for novices at the same course on November 26.

Stablemate Potters Cross (Paul Townend, 10st 13lb, 16/1), successful in the Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury on his latest outing, also runs.

Second-season chaser Southfield Royale (Neil Mulholland/James King (5), 11st 7lb, 7/1) is set for his first start of the campaign.

He was the impressive 13-length winner of the G2 December Novices’ Chase over the course and distance last season and subsequently finished fourth in a high-class renewal of the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

But the seven-year-old disappointed behind Zabana on his latest start in a G1 novices’ chase at Punchestown in April, trailing home a well-beaten seventh.

Mulholland, who trains near Bath, said today: “Southfield Royale is as ready as we can get him at home. We haven’t had the most straightforward of preparations but he has schooled well and we are happy with him.

“He won twice on testing ground last season but that is just the way the ground was. He is a Presenting and his breeding suggests the better ground on Saturday should suit.

“We have the likes of the Bet365 Gold Cup and Scottish Grand National as possible targets in the spring. We will get Saturday out of the way first and see where we go.”

Gloucestershire-based trainer Jonjo O’Neill has an excellent record in staying handicap chases but is yet to win the Sky Bet Chase. He saddles Another Hero (Aidan Coleman, 10st 10lb, 9/1), who was fourth in valuable Listed handicap chase at Ascot on December 17, and joint top-weight Holywell (Killian Moore (3), 11st 12lb, 20/1).


Last year’s winner Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy, 10st 11lb, 10/1) and runner-up Coologue (Charlie Longsdon/Brian Hughes, 11st 5lb, 9/1) line up again. Ziga Boy is aiming to become the first dual winner of the Sky Bet Chase.

Nicky Richards is represented by two unexposed chasers in Ballyboker Breeze (Craig Nichol, 11st, 12/1) and Looking Well (Ryan Day, 10st 6lb, 20/1), while Warren Greatrex is hoping Out Sam (Andrew Tinkler, 10st 10lb, 8/1) can build on a promising third at Kempton Park last time out.

Champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls has won two of the last nine renewals of the Sky Bet Chase. The Somerset handler relies on Scottish Grand National hero Vicente (Sean Bowen, 11st 9lb, 10/1) and Caid Du Berlais (Sam Twiston-Davies, 11st 6lb, 14/1).

Long Lunch (Charlie Longsdon/Graham Watters (3), 11st 5lb, 16/1), who was just touched off over the course and distance last time out, Katachenko (Donald McCain/Will Kennedy, 10st 7lb, 40/1) and the other top-weights Tenor Nivernais (Venetia Williams/Liam Treadwell, 18/1) and Third Intention (Colin Tizzard/Brendan Powell, 11st 12lb) complete the field.

Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said today: “The Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday looks a typically ultra-competitive renewal.

“Sky Bet is happy to offer five places on the Sky Bet Chase, given the competitive nature of the race.

“All eyes will be on 9/2 favourite Bigbadjohn as he makes his handicap debut after chasing home Thistlecrack last time out.”

Sky Bet Chase – Sky Bet prices: 9/2 Bigbadjohn; 7/1 Southfield Royale; 8/1 Out Sam; 9/1 Another Hero, Coologue; 10/1 Vicente, Ziga Boy; 12/1 Ballyboker Breeze; 14/1 Caid Du Berlais; 16/1 Long Lunch, Potters Cross; 18/1 Tenor Nivernais; 20/1 Holywell, Looking Well, Third Intention; 40/1 Katachenko

Each-way 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4-5

Doncaster’s seven-race card on Saturday starts at 12.50pm and finishes at 4.15pm.

Sky Bet also supports the £50,000 Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap Chase (1.20pm) and the £35,000 Grade Two Sky Bet Lightning Novices’ Chase (1.55pm), both run over an extended two miles and runners for those and the other races on Saturday will be known tomorrow.