All posts by GoRacingYorkshire


 What do 65,000 racegoers, 10,000 Hospitality guests, 4,000 pairs of complimentary flip flops, 5,000 jugs of Pimms and 6,000 bottles of Champagne mean to the South Yorkshire market town of Doncaster?

It must be the legendary St Leger Festival – the highlight of the racing calendar and home to the world’s oldest Classic – as well as fantastic occasion as Doncaster enjoys ‘race week’.

 “The St Leger Festival is always a fantastic occasion for Doncaster and enjoyed not just by the townsfolk but by racegoers from across the county and beyond,” said Abby Chandler Marketing Manager Doncaster Racecourse. “The town is hugely popular for day visitors with many flocking to enjoy its iconic racing scene. But, as the new Hilton hotel next to the racecourse commences construction we are delighted that more race goers will have somewhere close by to stay for longer in 2018 and enjoy other elements of the town and St Leger Festival.”

 Chris Dungworth, Investment and Tourism Team Manager for Visit Doncaster added; “We work closely with the Racecourse team to ensure the whole town can enjoy the St Leger Festival in a variety of ways. It is a week long festival that brings so much to the Doncaster economy, really is the highlight of our calendar and such a historic event that the people of Doncaster are very proud of.” 

Wednesday 13th will see Leger Legends Day take place, whilst the finest fillies in the region flock to the course on Thursday for Ladies Day. Friday is Gentleman’s Day, where male visitors are encouraged to dust down their finest attire in the hope of being crowned ‘Best Dressed Gent’ and St Leger Day on Saturday usually gets sold out first as race goers flock to witness one of the highlights of the racing calendar, the St Leger Stakes. 

“There is a fantastic atmosphere in the town in the days leading up to the St. Leger Festival and during it with special events and live music scheduled, as well as the highlight of the fashion calendar the Best Dressed Lady event,” said Abby. 

Abby concluded: “Doncaster is incredibly proud of its racing heritage and this has passed from generation to generation.  In fact, many locals will tell you about the closure of the town’s factories and businesses due to race week and how the local community would flock to the racecourse to enjoy a day out at the races.”

 This year’s festival takes place from 13th – 16th September with tickets on sale now. Early Bird Offers will be available for a period of time and include 10% discount for Grandstand Groups, tickets for Saturday in the family enclosure reduced to £10 and a special £10 discount and £5 drinks voucher for each day in the Grandstand (excluding Saturday). 

A number of special packages, including hospitality, are also available if booked in advance.  For further information and to buy tickets visit


It’s been over 5 months since there was last racing at Pontefract, but the 2017 season is almost upon us and the West Yorkshire track kick off their 16 day campaign on Tuesday 11th April. The total prize money of £1.13 million on offer is the highest ever provided at the West Yorkshire track and it promises to be another season of top class racing and fantastic entertainment.

At the annual Press Luncheon held on Wednesday 1st March, Norman Gundill outlined exciting plans for the year ahead.  Following the success of The Art Of Racing Raceday last year, the event won the “All About the Horse” category at the Annual RCA Showcase Awards in November whilst the Rugby League Evening was one of four shortlisted in the “Events” category. Both will be back in 2017 – indeed there’ll be two Art of Racing Racedays due to the demand from people wanting to take part!

Pontefract will also have two Friday Evening Music Night Meetings.  80’s Night on Friday 26th May will feature Bananarama while Cheryl, Mike and Jay, formerly of Bucks Fizz, will be back to perform after racing on Red Shirt Night on Friday 21st July which will also include a Beer Festival.

Ladies Day is on Wednesday 9th August.  The first prize for the Best Dressed Lady this year will be a week’s holiday for 2 courtesy of Riu Resorts and Hotels in Sri Lanka.  Second prize will be a weekend at the new Riu hotel in Dublin.

In keeping with the strong family tradition at the track, there are also 3 Family Sundays in 2017, each with over £100,000 worth of prize money. The much loved Flat Cap and Whippet Family Day is on 25th June, the Go Racing in Yorkshire Festival Family Day is on 30th July and the Inaugural Sunday Service Family Day is on 20th August . This race meeting sees the Racecourse zoned into different areas – the Jockey Zone, the Industry Zone, the Horse Zone, the Newcomer Zone, the Tipster Zone and the Kids Zone!

The EBF Highfield Farm Flying Fillies Stakes on this day will be the richest race to be run at Pontefract in 2017 with prize money of £55,000. The race fulfils the BHA’s aim of improving black type races for fillies and mares and the Racecourse are hoping to one day run it as a Group 3.

On the track

The quality of the racing promises to be as good as ever with record prize money and 5 Listed Races offering a combined total of £220,000 in prize money.

In 2016, Loving Things (Luca Cumani / Martin Lane) won the totepool Pontefract Castle Stakes in June off a rating of 95. She ended her season rated 108 following a close 3rd in the Group 3 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock and a Group 3 win at Saint-Cloud.

In 2003, James Fanshawe sent out the admirable Macadamia to win the Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract before going on to win the Royal Hunt Cup and the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes. In 2016, Macadamia’s daughter, Spirit Raiser, ridden by Freddie Tylicki was sent off favourite to emulate her mother and made no mistake in doing so!

Convey (Sir Michael Stoute / Ryan Moore) was considered to be one of the most frustrating horses in training. He’s not short on talent but doesn’t always bring it to the track. In taking the Sky Bet Pomfret Stakes in scintillating style he becoming the highest rated horse to win at Pontefract in 2016 with a rating of 111. Having been gelded over the Winter, he started his 2017 campaign with a taking victory in the Group 3 Winter Derby at Lingfield.

Mehronissa (Ed Vaughan / Freddie Tylicki) was a taking winner of the Highfield Farm Flying Fillies Stakes. She went on to finish a close 4th in the Group 1 Sprint Cup behind Quiet Reflection before being sent to America for the Breeders Cup.

Godolphin won the EBF Silver Tankard Stakes with D’bai (Charlie Appleby / William Buick) who had previously finished an excellent 3rd in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. He’s still engaged in both the English and the Irish Derby as well as the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

They weren’t the only equine stars seen at Ponte in 2017. Maleficent Queen and Yalta both won at Pontefract before ending their seasons in Group 1 Company while Khairaat remained unbeaten for the rest of the season after winning his Maiden impressively at the track. Godolphin’s Memorial Day  kept up the good record of Godolphin in the Simon Scrope Dalby Screw Driver Handicap. He was their 3rd winner of the race in the last 4 years, winning easily by 7 lengths. He ended his season in Group 3 company at Newbury.


Promotions and admission

Admission prices to the Premier and Grandstand & Paddock Enclosures have both increased by £1 but the price of the Silver & Picnic Enclosures has been fixed for another year. However, many racegoers have already taken advantage of the huge 50% off early bird booking discount which ran throughout December until the 16th January. 25% discounts ran from then until the end of February.

With the cost of a joint Annual Badge working out at just over £8 per person per day for the whole season, the excellent Loyalty Card scheme and the FREE Postcode Lottery promotion all in operation this season, there are plenty of bargains to be had.

Racegoers will also be able to win some fantastic prizes in the Wall of Fame promotion. Anyone who visited the track in 2016 could appear on the new mosaic artwork which graces the Grandstand & Paddock Bar.

Brian Ellison will host the Pontefract Annual Badge Holders visit in 2017. A group of 50 will be taken to the yard before returning for the meeting on the 11th July, hopefully armed with a few winners!

Racecourse Changes

The Parade Ring has been rebuilt over the Winter.  The new, modern Paddock has been built in the same footstep as the old one but the slope has been reduced and new Fornells fencing and Quattro surfacing have been laid. At a cost of just under £½ million, the new Parade Ring also incorporates more extensive terracing, better viewing for race goers and much improved facilities for horses and stable staff.

The Course have also continued the programme of refurbishing their existing facilities.  This winter they have started work on Phase 1 of the Dalby Stand with the refurbishment of the Main Entrance Foyer and Staircase.

With just over 4 weeks to the start of the racing year at Pontefract these are exciting times for the Racecourse who look forward to welcoming punters, new and old, back for the 2016 season.

Full details of all the Pontefract race meetings to be held this year can be found at their website on


Doncaster Racecourse, home to world class racing and summer venue to global music stars, is delighted to announce that DJ Mark Ronson will be performing after racing at the Construction Index Race Day on Saturday 1st July 2017.

 Ronson, five-time-Grammy-award winning artist and producer, who has worked with huge names in the industry will showcase his inimitable talent to the crowds who are expected to flock to the event. 

“Mark Ronson is a hugely popular musical talent who is guaranteed to create a fantastic party atmosphere for our race goers and we are thrilled to welcome such a renowned name to our venue,” said Abby Chandler Marketing Manager Doncaster Racecourse. “He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry across the last two decades and we are sure that it will be an evening packed of iconic hits that everyone knows.”

 Ronson has always been a major player in the music scene across the world but perhaps is best known for his work with legends such as Amy Winehouse, Adele and his own release the memorable ‘Uptown Funk’ with Bruno Mars.

 “Our ‘Sun Bets’ Music Live nights are always a real highlight of our summer season and are the perfect event for race goers and music lovers alike often with one discovering a new found love of the other!” said Abby. “Our evening racing is a really enjoyable occasion for racing aficionados and also family and friends taking advantage of the long summer nights to spend quality time together.”

 Tickets are now available and are priced from just £28. Details and timings will be released closer to the event.

 Further details can be found by visiting