William Hill agree three-year deal with ARC to sponsor the St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse including the world’s oldest Classic horserace.

William Hill Leger

Today, Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) announces that William Hill is the new sponsor of the St Leger Stakes, the world’s oldest Classic horserace.

The three-year deal sees William Hill sponsor the Group 1 St Leger Stakes, worth £700,000 this year, along with a feature race each day of the four-day festival which will be known as ‘The William Hill St Leger Festival’ and run from Wednesday 13 September to Saturday 16 September 2017.

Alongside the feature race, William Hill will sponsor the following races;

  • The William Hill Handicap on the opening day of the Festival (Wednesday);
  • The William Hill May Hill Stakes on Ladies’ Day (Thursday);
  • The William Hill Mallard Stakes on Gentlemen’s Day (Friday); and
  • The William Hill Portland Stakes on the finale, alongside the William Hill St Leger Stakes on the final day (Saturday).

In 2016, the St Leger Festival was attended by over 60,000 racegoers. In 2017, terrestrial coverage of the William Hill St Leger Stakes day will be on the ITV 1 channel with coverage on ITV4 for Ladies’ Day and Gentlemen’s Day.

New St Leger Festival sponsor, William Hill was the first betting company to sponsor a major horserace in 1957.  Today, William Hill is sponsor of the Ayr Gold Cup, Great St. Wilfrid at Ripon, Scottish Super Sprint at Musselburgh and is also the broadcast sponsor for all of ITV’s horseracing coverage.

William Hill CEO, Philip Bowcock, said: “William Hill is one of the best known brands in betting – with a long history of horseracing sponsorship.  We are delighted to sponsor the oldest classic and we will work closely with ARC to continue to build the profile and popularity of the William Hill St Leger Festival.”

Chief Executive of ARC, Martin Cruddace, said: “We are delighted William Hill have become the new sponsors of the St Leger. We really enjoy working with their team and look forward to extending this to our feature racing festival of the year. William Hill have the brand, vision and team to help build on the success of both the four-day festival and the feature race, the St Leger, which continues to be one of the most important races in the British Racing calendar.”

Executive Director of Doncaster Racecourse, Tim Banfield, said “The William Hill St Leger Festival is a wonderful four days of racing for Doncaster, the Yorkshire region and the whole of British Racing.  We aim to have a real and long-term partnership with all our sponsors and we look forward to integrating William Hill’s world-renowned brand into our feature event.  The team here are working hard on preparations for this year’s William Hill St Leger Festival and we are set on delivering another fantastic four days of racing.”

Tickets for the St. Leger Festival are now on sale and can be purchased online at



The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) enjoyed a warm welcome at Doncaster yesterday for the Royal Cavalry of Oman Premier Handicap, won by Saleemah, ridden by Will Pettis, in the colours of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Trained by Phil Collington, the four year old filly contested the lead with Forta Stud’s Aurora Forta, finally gaining a length advantage in the 2 mile contest. The two finished well clear of the third, Almareekh, also trained by Collington for His Highness.

Photo courtesy: Andrew Kelly PhotographyDON 03_06_2017 Derby Day-143

Collington was slightly surprised by the result saying: “She’s by Madjani, out of a miler, so this wasn’t an obvious race for her. We were a bit disappointed with her run last time at Wolverhampton, but she obviously wants a bit of cut and this ground definitely helped her.”

Pete Hammersley who trained Aurora Forta was delighted with her performance saying: “She ran a cracking race. Munbaher probably went off a bit too quickly on that softish ground, but I’m impressed with the way she kept up with him. Obviously I hoped she would hang on at the finish, but Saleemah just got the edge. It was a gutsy performance from her and also Majid Bin Krayaan who finished fourth.”

This stamina test is just one of a range of single races supported by The Royal Cavalry run on thoroughbred cards, from the lower levels to the highest, of which the Doncaster race is the first this season.  It also includes The Royal Cavalry of Oman Clarendon Stakes, a Group 3 run over 5 furlongs at Newbury on August 19.

ARO Racing Operations Executive Gemma Cobb commented: “That was a brave performance from two fillies on soft ground. We are very grateful for the continued support from the Royal Cavalry of Oman, who have been part of Arabian racing in the UK for many years now.

She concluded: “We thank all the team and racegoers at Doncaster, for a very warm reception, and we also thank the racecourse teams at Taunton, Bath, Newbury for their support of the Royal Cavalry’s single race sponsorship in 2017.”

Racing Welfare Charity Raceday


Sponsored by Betfair and featuring the Betfair Clock Tower Cup for stable staff on  Friday 7th July 2017.

The Betfair Clock Tower Cup charity race for stable staff and the charity lunch at Doncaster are now in their third year and the day is the pinnacle of Racing Welfare’s initiative Racing Staff Week.


Racing Staff Week showcases the vital role that stable and stud staff, and indeed all the people who work behind the scenes, play in the production of British horseracing.  It also promotes the work that the Racing Welfare charity do to support racing’s workforce.

Trainers have nominated valued members of staff to realise their ambition of riding in the race and the atmosphere will be electric as colleagues, family and friends – along with jockeys who they will have ridden work with on the gallops, come along to cheer them on.

Please join their supporters and other racing industry enthusiasts at the charity lunch which has been organised to raise funds for Racing Welfare.  Tickets include a Champagne reception, three course lunch and wine as well as an auction and celebrity tipster and are £130 each or £1300 for a table of 10.  To book tickets or a table please contact Mary-Ann Sandercock, msandercock@racingwelfare.co.uk or call 07790 844887 for more details.


Oman-Hi-Res logoThe Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was pleased with the 11 runners declared for the Royal Cavalry of Oman Premier Handicap to be run over 2 miles at Doncaster this Saturday, June 3. A long term supporter of Arabian racing in the UK, The Royal Cavalry of Oman have maintained their UK sponsorship for 2017, having increased their support last year.

This stamina test is just one of a range of single races supported by The Royal Cavalry  run on thoroughbred cards, from the lower levels to the highest, of which the Doncaster race is the first this season.  It also includes The Royal Cavalry of Oman Clarendon Stakes, a Group 3 run over 5 furlongs at Newbury on August 19.

ARO Racing Operations Executive Gemma Cobb commented: “With a mix of seasoned handicappers and unexposed young horses, it promises to be an interesting contest. ARO welcomes the continued support of The Royal Cavalry of Oman who have been part of Arabian racing in the UK for more than ten years.

“Their sponsorship got off to a successful start with six of eight races at our Taunton fixture last month. In addition, since returning to the UK training ranks, they have had winner and horses placed at each meeting, and we wish them continued success throughout the year.”

Karar ARO

Photo: KARAR – 2 June 2016, Doncaster Racecourse

She concluded: “We look forward to running at Doncaster, where we always receive a warm welcome, and we also thank the racecourse teams at Taunton, Bath, Newbury and for their support of the Royal Cavalry’s single race sponsorship in 2017.”


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 http://www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/events/weddings

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