This September, Doncaster Racecourse will be celebrating an extraordinary milestone in the history of horseracing. On Friday 9th September at 3.40pm the racing industry and visitors alike will be poised ready to watch the world’s oldest classic horse race, as this year celebrates the Doncaster Cup’s 250th anniversary.
“This is such a momentous occasion and one that will be celebrated the world over,” said Abby Chandler, Marketing Manager at Doncaster Racecourse. “In order to mark this incredible milestone we have commissioned Christopher Perry, a Sheffield born silversmith to create a striking trophy that depicts the historic importance of this race yet symoblises horse racing in a modern era.”
The gilt gold trophy pays homage to its origin as the Gold Cup. Its grandiose goblet shape is born from a Yorkshire Rose base that encircles the stem and culminates in a smooth gilt gold circular chalice designed by Christopher and his colleague Christopher Knight, the lead designer and manufacturer of the St. Leger Stakes Perpetual Trophy.
“The Doncaster Cup is a fantastic commission for us. Being from Yorkshire and already having worked with Doncaster Racecourse on a previous project we were delighted to be given this important assignment to design a whole new cup in celebration of the races’ 250th anniversary,” said Christopher Perry.
“The design was created with a strong Yorkshire theme in mind, wherever this cup ends up, whether it adorns a trophy cabinet in the Far East or a stable yard in Ireland we want people to instantly recognise where this cup was won and in what great race,” concluded Christopher.
Originally called the Doncaster Gold Cup and run over four miles, the race took place at Cantley Common until moving to Town Moor in 1776. Today the best staying thoroughbreds in Britain and Ireland compete over two and a quarter miles on the Friday of the St Leger Festival.
The most celebrated winner in the modern era is Mark Johnston’s popular chestnut Double Trigger, whose victory in 1995 saw him complete the stayers’ triple crown – the Ascot Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and, of course, the Doncaster Cup. Trigger’s three wins are commemorated by a bronze statue adjacent to the racecourse’s main grandstand.
Abby continued: “We are really excited to be celebrating this remarkable milestone in the history of not only Doncaster Racecourse but the world wide racing industry. We are also delighted the town is getting behind the celebration with an exclusive exhibition at the Doncaster Museum which will display artefacts from racing over the past 250 years along with our own mini exhibition here, collated by Simon Mapletopft, which will pay tribute to the great horses that have graced this historic race, as well as the most successful trainers and jockeys and colourful owners associated with it through the past two and a half centuries.”
The new Doncaster Cup trophy will be officially presented by both Christophers at the Decloration Lunch at the Landmark Hotel in London on Monday 5th September, which is attended by the British Racing Authority, owners and trainers of horses set to run in the iconic race.
The Doncaster Cup race will form part of a full card on Gentlemen’s Day, Friday 9th September – the third day of the iconic St Leger Festival. The first race of seven will take place at 13.55pm. Doors open at 11am.