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.

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

Nicky Richards has two bullets to fire at Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday

Trainer Nicky Richards is hoping to run both Ballyboker Breeze and Looking Well in the £80,000 Listed Sky Bet Chase (3.40pm, 22 confirmations) at Doncaster on Saturday, January 28.

Sky Bet is offering non-runner, no bet on the Sky Bet Chase, with five places for each-way punters. The prestigious three-mile handicap chase is the richest Jump race of the year at Doncaster and the feature of an exciting seven-race card.

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.

Unexposed chaser Ballyboker Breeze (11st) is a 10/1 shot with Sky Bet after a comfortable success by four and a half lengths of a three-mile handicap chase at Bangor on December 9, taking his record over fences to two wins from three starts.

Looking Well (10st 6lb) is also lightly-raced over fences with five starts, although he has not run since staying on stoutly to win a three and a quarter mile handicap chase by 13 lengths at Kelso in May. He is a 16/1 chance with Sky Bet.

Richards said today: “The plan is to run both Ballyboker Breeze and Looking Well in the Sky Bet Chase.

“Ballyboker Breeze has been fine since Bangor. He is training well and is probably an improving horse I hope.

“He travelled and jumped well at Bangor, and saw the trip out very well. I thought he was fairly impressive on the day.

“Experience is always a slight concern in a race like this but he does jump well. I think there are a lot more plusses than minuses regarding his chance.

“Looking Well is very well. I haven’t run him yet this season because he wants a bit of decent ground, which it looks like he will get at the weekend.

“He runs well when he is fresh and looks great at the moment. Hopefully, he will run a good one.

“They are both progressive horses and, even if one of them doesn’t win on Saturday, I think there are good races to be won with both.”

Bigbadjohn (Rebecca Curtis, 10st 10lb), the 5/1 favourite with Sky Bet, is in line to make his handicap debut over fences. He beat subsequent winner Our Kaempfer in a novices’ chase at Newbury on November 3 before going down by eight lengths to Thistlecrack in a G2 contest at the same course on November 26.

Southfield Royale (Neil Mulholland, 11st 7lb, 7/1 with Sky Bet) could return to the scene of his biggest success, having beat Coologue (Charlie Longsdon, 11st 5lb, 10/1) by 13 lengths in a G2 novices’ chase over the course and distance last season.

Ziga Boy (Alan King, 10st 11lb, 10/1) is out to become the first dual winner of the Sky Bet Chase. He defeated Coologue by three and a quarter lengths in 2016 and warmed up for this year’s renewal with an encouraging third at Doncaster in December.

The 22 confirmations also feature Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball, 11st 10lb, 8/1), who captured a valuable handicap chase at Ascot last time out, and Kempton Park runner-up Go Conquer (Jonjo O’Neill, 10st 11lb, 12/1), plus the Paul Nicholls-trained trio of Vicente (11st 9lb, 11/1), Just A Par (11st 8lb, 20/1) and Caid Du Berlais (11st 6lb, 16/1).

Tenor Nivernais (Venetia Williams, 16/1), Third Intention (Colin Tizzard, 20/1) and Holywell (Jonjo O’Neill, 16/1) are joint top-weights with 11st 12lb.

Sky Bet Chase – Sky Bet prices: 5/1 Bigbadjohn; 7/1 Southfield Royale; 8/1 Regal Encore; 10/1 Another Hero, Ballyboker Breeze, Coologue, Ziga Boy; 11/1 Out Sam, Vicente; 12/1 Go Conquer, Long Lunch, Rock The Kasbah; 14/1 Potters Corner; 16/1 Caid Du Berlais, Holywell, Looking Well, Tenor Nivernais, Wakanda; 20/1 Just A Par, Third Intention; 28/1 Katachenko, Sun Cloud

Non-runner, no bet

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

Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said today: “The 2017 Sky Bet Chase promises to be another cracking contest and, with all the main contenders among the 22 confirmations, it shall be as competitive as ever.

“Sky Bet is offering non-runner, no bet and customers can also take advantage of our five places offer.”

Additional Race for Stable Staff in Racing Staff Week, 1st – 8th July 2017

Celebrating the role of Racing’s Workforce for the Second Year
Sponsored by Betfair


 Following on from the popularity of last year’s charity race exclusively for stable staff, the Betfair Clock Tower Cup, at Doncaster, a second race for staff is being organised at Lingfield Park in 2017.  The two races will enable staff from flat and jumps yards to be nominated to ride by their trainers in recognition of their hard work and commitment.

The Betfair Three Feathers Cup will launch the 2017 Racing Staff Week and take place at Lingfield Park on Saturday 1st July over 1 mile 4 furlongs.  The Betfair Clock Tower Cup, over 7 furlongs at Doncaster on Friday 7th July, will be the feature of the Racing Welfare Charity Raceday which includes a special fundraising lunch.

Andrew Perkins, Executive Director of Lingfield Park Resort, said the Surrey course was delighted to be supporting Racing Staff Week with the additional race:  “This will take place on one of our celebrated Hooves & Grooves nights with an Abba tribute band playing after racing, so we hope for a big crowd to watch the stable staff experience the thrill of race riding.”

Racing Staff Week is again generously sponsored by Betfair who will also sponsor the two stable staff races. Betfair will once more fund a scholarship prize to the winner of the race to attend a course at the British Racing School or the Northern Racing College to undertake an Amateur Jockeys Licence course or another course which will help them to progress their career within the racing industry.

Racing Staff Week aims to bring the racing industry together to inform and engage horseracing followers and supporters about the passion, skill and dedication required to work with racehorses. The success of the inaugural Stable Staff Week in 2016 has prompted unanimous support from the Racing industry to build on the first year and deliver another week of activities that will put racing staff in the spotlight.

The week has been renamed Racing Staff Week to reflect that Racing Welfare supports all of Racing’s workforce and the week will applaud and highlight the role of all racing staff, including stud staff and racecourse groundstaff.

The initiative, developed by Racing Welfare, in collaboration with the Racing industry, will again celebrate the role of racing’s workforce as well as generate awareness and funds for the charity.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare comments: “Last year’s Stable Staff Week was an outstanding success in terms of engaging the whole industry and the media to celebrate the role of stable staff week and increasing awareness about Racing Welfare.  We are extremely grateful to Betfair for their continued support and look forward to working with the industry to make Racing Staff Week 2017 even better.”

James Midmer, Betfair’s Head of Communications adds:  “We were delighted to support the inaugural ‘Stable Staff Week’ last year and look forward to continuing this into ‘Racing Staff Week’ in 2017. Racing Welfare play a hugely important role supporting all areas of the Sport, and we are always impressed with the talent, drive and commitment shown in raising awareness of the role played by racing staff.”

To register interest in taking part in either of the Stable Staff Races, or about taking a table at the lunch on the 7th July, please contact Mary-Ann Sandercock 07790 844887 or email

ARC and Sun Bets introduce Northern Stayers Series

Arena Racing Company is delighted to announce a new series of races that is designed to support grassroots jump racing in the North of England.

The Sun Bets Northern Stayers Series will consist of eleven qualifiers across ARC’s Northern jump racecourses with a final, worth £20,000, which will take place at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday 18 March 2017.  The race programme has been framed to benefit young horses, specifically Novice Hurdlers who would be looking to race over 2m 3f and further.

The first race of the series took place at Sedgefield Racecourse on 27 October, the Sun Bets Novices’ Hurdle at 2.30pm, which has been well supported by Northern trainers and won by Ballycrystal who previous won at Doncaster on 24th February 2016.  In 2016, the series will continue with races at Doncaster on 25 November, Uttoxeter on 28 October and 31 December and Newcastle on 8 December.  The 2017 programme, leading to the Final on 18 March will be confirmed in due course.


All horses that take part in a qualifier will be eligible to run in the Final.

ARC Regional Clerk of Course for the North, Roderick Duncan said, “We’re delighted to have been able to work with Sun Bets and BHA to frame this series to support the Northern Jumping scene.

“The Sun Bets Northern Stayers Series will culminate in a nice prize pot at Newcastle in March, so we are hopeful that we’ll find some nice staying hurdlers lining up at ARC’s Northern racecourses over the coming months.”

Head of PR for Sun Bets, Tim Reynolds said, “The Northern Stayers series is a really exciting initiative and one which we’re proud to be associated with. It gives us the perfect platform to promote the Sun Bets name, shout about our passion for horse racing and demonstrate the benefits of being an Authorised Betting Partner of British Racing”