The Racecourse is blooming thanks to local partnership

Doncaster Racecourse has been florally transformed just in time for the William Hill St Leger Festival thanks to a partnership with local award winning garden centre Walkers Nurseries._DSC7930

The popular family owned plant specialist was chosen to supply over 2,000 summer bedding plants to the racecourse for its floral borders and displays around the course’s public areas and parade ring.

“This is always a lovely time of the year as we see the course dressed for the packed live music events and the iconic St Leger race meeting,” said Tim Radford, Estates Manager Doncaster Racecourse. “We thank James and the team at Walkers for their creativity and providing such a plethora of flowers that help us make the course look so welcoming and colourful, which has seen us achieve a coveted 5 out of 5 for site presentation from Visit England.”

In addition to the summer bedding plants, troughs which surround the winner’s podium were supplied incorporating a selection of shrubs with varying colours and textures to give longevity to the display.

“We are very proud to have worked with racecourse team and support this iconic local business with its horticultural needs and we look forward to developing a long-term partnership with them,” said James Bodle from Walkers Nurseries. “The plants have been chosen to give depth and colour but be easily maintained to give a resplendent display during the summer months.”

“Strategic partnership such as this with Walker’s Nurseries reinforces our philosophy of buying local,” said Abby Chandler, Head of Marketing at Doncaster Racecourse.  “We’re really lucky that an award-winning garden centre is on our doorstep and delighted they are able to create such wonderful displays that will be blooming perfectly in time for the William Hill St. Leger Festival.”

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: –

Construction to commence on hotel at Doncaster Racecourse

Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is delighted to confirm that it has received planning approval for the construction of a new Hilton Garden Inn on the west side of Doncaster Racecourse.  Construction will commence at the start of 2017 and the hotel will open in the summer of 2018.

Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Racecourse will provide much needed quality accommodation in Doncaster with 154 guestrooms over six floors.  Alongside high-quality lodgings, the hotel will be home to a flexible event space located on the first floor which will boast extensive views over the racecourse and can be used for corporate and leisure race-day hospitality, providing guests with an ideal setting to view the sporting action and enjoy excellent hospitality.  The hotel will feature associated parking and landscaping which will enhance the image of the racecourse and provide a beautiful surround to the hotel.

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Executive Director of Doncaster Racecourse, Tim Banfield, said: “Doncaster Racecourse is steeped in heritage and plays an important role in the local community. We are delighted to be working with Doncaster Council and Hilton on this exciting project which marks a new era for the racecourse. The development of a new Hilton Garden Inn will provide the town with a much needed quality hotel for guests, as well as extra capacity for racegoers on racedays.”

The UK is already home to 138 Hilton hotels across eight brands and Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Racecourse will mark the brand’s debut in the town.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, Hilton said: “Hilton has a strong legacy of sporting venue developments, with more than 10,000 rooms either trading or under construction across four continents.  With more than 280,000 people visiting Doncaster Racecourse in 2015, this hotel will provide prime mid-scale accommodation to domestic and international travellers alike.”

John Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn, said: “Hilton Garden Inn is now trading or under development in more than 120 locations across Europe, Middle East and Africa. The brand’s continued growth has included new markets this year such as Tanger City Centre in Morocco, and Dublin, Ireland, as well as further expansion in established markets including Austria and Belgium. The wonderful new Hilton Garden Inn in Doncaster will add another great stadium property to our portfolio in the UK following the opening of The Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland in the Stadium of Light in April, 2016.”

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “This prestigious development which brings Hilton’s world famous hospitality to our internationally acclaimed racecourse is a real feather in Doncaster’s cap.  The scheme will complement the new homes going up at Belle Vue and plans for the former Doncaster Bloodstock Sales and is more evidence of Doncaster delivering on the jobs and growth front.”

Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Racecourse will be located at The Grandstand, Leger Way, Doncaster.  Read more about Hilton Garden Inn at

New Partners Build On Doncaster Cup’s 250 Year History

Doncaster Racecourse is delighted to announce the 250th Doncaster Cup has new support for 2016. The Group 2 race which will be run next week on Friday 9 September, the third day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, has new official partners with four design development consultants supporting the historic race.

The Course Redevelopment team comprises of Arcadis, KKA Architecture, TRP Consulting and Troup Bywaters + Anders and they have all come on board as official partners of the two and a quarter mile race worth £100,000.  The four companies are all working with Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster Council and other stakeholders on exciting plans to construct a new Hilton Hotel on the west side of the racecourse.

The Doncaster Cup was first staged in 1766, ten years before the running of the St Leger, the world’s old Classic.  Originally called the Doncaster Gold Cup and run over four miles, the race took place at Cantley Common until moving to Town Moor. Today the race sees some of the best staying thoroughbreds in Great Britain and Ireland compete as part of the Qipco British Champions’ Series and the final leg of the stayers’ Triple Crown.  The most successful horse in the Doncaster Cup was Beeswing, who won the race four times between 1837 and 1842, while the winning-most jockey was Joe Mercer who took his tally to eight with back-to-back triumphs on the great Le Moss in 1979 and 1980. Her Majesty the Queen enjoyed victory in 2014 with Estimate, trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

In order to mark the 250 year milestone Doncaster Racecourse has commissioned Christopher Perry, a Sheffield born silversmith, to create a striking trophy that depicts the historic importance of this race yet symbolises horseracing 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.

Christopher Perry, said: “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 race’s 250th anniversary.”

All racegoers will have the chance to enjoy a one-off exhibition on course in the main grandstand on Doncaster Cup day. This exhibition will tell the story of the race through the years and allow racing fans a chance to view key memorabilia from the race’s 250 year history.

On behalf of the Course Redevelopment team Stuart Dick of Arcadis said: “We are delighted, as a team, to be sponsoring The 250th Doncaster Cup as part of our ongoing work with Doncaster Racecourse. While we work on plans that will help shape the future of the racecourse it is apt that we have the opportunity to lend our support to a race that is steeped in so much history. All four companies look forward to attending on the day and enjoying a really exciting race.”

Executive Director of Doncaster Racecourse, Kieran Gallagher, said: “We are really pleased to have extended our relationship with our four design development partners and thank them for the support they are showing the Doncaster Cup. The race has a long and prestigious history and it is fitting that companies working on future plans for the racecourse have come on board to support one of our feature races.”


The Art of Racing

2nd September – 30th October 2015

Every year the Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery likes to join in with the St Leger Festival and this year is no different. ‘The Art of Racing’ brings together some of the finest racing images in the collection of Doncaster Heritage Services. In addition nine Doncaster Gold Cups are displayed in the Museum – with the oldest dating from only three years after the first St Leger was run in 1776.

Horseracing has long been part of the lifeblood of Doncaster, echoing to the pounding of hooves on the turf. The faces and costumes may change, but fundamentally it is a direct connection to those sporting ancestors who devised the world’s first classic horserace – the St Leger.

Mundig by Herring2

Such is the colour, excitement and activity that surrounds a race meeting that artists have often struggled to capture the essence of the scene. One early artist who worked hard to capture the scene was Thomas Rowlandson. Around 1800 Rowlandson produced four watercolours showing the various stages of an early St Leger meeting from arrival to what seems to be mildly drunken behaviour at the end (knowing the drinking habits of the period I am sure people were a lot ‘happier’ than he portrayed them!)

Rowlandson image2

Included in the exhibition alongside the Rowlandsons will be our very popular portrayal of the ‘Finish of the 1931 St Leger’ by Charles Walter Simpson. The painting captures beautifully the crowds and the excitement on the winning line as autumn gallops in on the tail of the Leger winner – as the popular expression goes.

Finish of the 1827 Gold Cup2

Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery, Chequer Road, Doncaster, DN1 2AE

And no exhibition of the St Leger meeting would be complete without J.F. Herring’s ‘Finish of the 1827 Gold Cup’. This wonderful image sees the horses (all painted straight legged at this time) with their necks out, straining for the line, whilst the jockeys sit upright in the saddle decked out in the owners’ colours.