Now Christmas is over, it’s time for the real countdown to begin, the countdown to the William Hill St Leger Festival! That’s right, we’re just 250 days away from one of the most prestigious race weeks of the British horse racing calendar!
Steeped in over 400 years of history, the St Leger Festival is the world’s oldest classic. Founded in 1776 by Colonel Anthony St Leger the William Hill St Leger Festival is the highlight of Doncaster’s year!
As we’re just 250 days away from the festival (can you tell we’re already excited?) we thought we’d put together some interesting facts about the William Hill St Leger Festival.
Interesting Winners Names
The St Leger Festival is renowned for producing historic winners, below are a few that you might recognise from the annals of history:
1776 - ALLABACULIA – Was the first winner of the St Leger Stakes
1793 – NINETY THREE – This horse won the St Leger Stakes in 1793, coincidentally the same year as it’s name.
1817 – EBOR – This horse was the inspiration for York’s flagship race, “The Ebor Handicap”
1850 – VOLTIGEUR - The name of the race used for the most important St Leger trial, The Group 2 Great Voltigeur held at York.
1886 – ORMONDE – One of the greatest horses in history, Ormonde won the “English Triple Crown” and retired undefeated.
1942 – SUN CHARIOT – Ridden by Fred Darling. These two names are used for two hugely important races, The Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes held at Newmarket and The Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes held at Newbury.
Records are made to be broken, however, there are quite a few William Hill St Leger records that have stood the test of time, check them out below!
Leading Jockey (9 wins)
Bill Scott – Jack Spigot (1821), Memnon (1825), The Colonel (1828), Rowton (1829), Don John (1838), Charles the Twelfth (1839), Launcelot (1840), Satirist (1841), Sir Tatton Sykes (1846)
Leading Trainer (16 wins)
John Scott – Matilda (1827), The Colonel (1828), Rowton (1829), Margrave (1832), Touchstone (1834), Don John (1838), Charles the Twelfth (1839), Launcelot (1840), Satirist (1841), The Baron (1845), Newminster (1851), West Australian (1853), Warlock (1856), Imperieuse (1857), Gamester (1859), The Marquis (1862)
Leading Owner (7 wins)
Archibald Hamilton, 9th Duke of Hamilton – Paragon (1786), Spadille (1787), Young Flora (1788), Tartar (1792), Petronius (1808), Ashton (1809), William (1814)
Fastest winning time (at Doncaster) – Masked Marvel (2011), 3m 00.44s
Widest winning margin – Never Say Die (1954), 12 lengths
Longest odds winner – Theodore (1822), 200/1
Shortest odds winner – Galtee More (1897), 1/10
Most runners – 30, in 1825
Fewest runners – 3, in 1917
So, there you have it, a few interesting facts to wow your friends with next time you’re at Doncaster.