The history of the St Leger Festival in Doncaster
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The race takes place each September in Doncaster at one of the oldest courses in Britain.
There are records of regular race meetings going back to the 16th century.
Run originally at two miles, it is slightly shorter today at one mile, six furlongs and 132 yds.
It was founded by Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St.Leger in 1776, a successful Irish soldier who later became Governor of St Lucia.
The race first took place on 24 September of that year as a sweepstake for three-year-old horses, and it was won by Allabaculia. Horses were entered, at a cost of 25 guineas.
The Doncaster highlight now forms the final leg of the colts’ and fillies Triple Crown.
Three-year-old colts begin their quest of glory at Newmarket with the 2000 Guineas, before travelling to Epsom for the Derby.
For the Fillies, they compete in the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks at the same venues.
The St Leger then combines the two sexes together, and is a gruelling test of stamina.But, there is a reason that Nijinsky stands as the UK’s last Triple Crown winner all the way back in 1970, and that is because it is a race for ‘stayers’ and not speedballs.
Many British trainers prefer to bypass the St Leger, in favour of running in the more glamorous races.
The last true contender for the Triple Crown was in 2012, and after wins at both Newmarket and Epsom, Aidan O’Brien’s colt Camelot, just fell short of completing the historic hat-trick when finish second to Godolphin owned Encke.