Doncaster racecourse in the North of England, home to the world’s oldest Classic, the St. Leger, was officially reopened Sept. 12 by the Princess Royal and received widespread acclaim from the racing community.
The famous Yorkshire course was closed for 18 months while it underwent an extensive redevelopment. The building of a new five-story grandstand, which includes an exhibition and conference center, was the main item of expenditure. New stables and the regrading and reseeding of the course also came into the scheme. Next year, a hotel will open at the racecourse.
When Doncaster closed in late 2005, the grass surface (26 acres) was stripped off (500 tons of earth removed) and grading work was undertaken to level the surface. The process was completed by the reseeding the track with six -and-a-half tons of rye grass.
A fixture held at Doncaster on Aug. 17 was designed to enable the racecourse management to iron out problems ahead of this week’s four-day St Leger Festival.
Owners, trainers, jockeys and the general public were unanimous in the their praise of the new look Doncaster racecourse on Sept. 12, the first day of the St. Leger meeting.
Last year’s St. Leger was held at York, when the Jeremy Noseda-trained Sixties Icon triumphed under Frankie Dettori, with Red Rocks, later successful in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, back in third.
The St. Leger, sponsored for the third time this year by bookmakers Ladbrokes, was first run in 1776. Ten runners go to post for this year’s renewal of the extended mile and six furlong Classic on Sept. 15.