Racing fans get set for St Leger

Ladies day at The St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Racegoers from Wakefield and Pontefract have got their sights set on the final classic of the season.

The St Leger Festival returns to Doncaster Racecourse on September 12.

And if you’re one of the thousands of people planning to attend here’s how to get there.

If you are going to travelling by train, the closest train station is Doncaster.

If you are planning on using public transport, First buses are running a racecourse shuttle service.

The service will be running up to every five minutes from Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange direct to the racecourse, on Leger Way.

The shuttle usually starts from Frenchgate Interchange around 60 minutes before the gates open. Return journeys from the racecourse start about 30 minutes before the end of last race.

A return ticket for this special service is just £2.50, or a single ticket is £1.50. Shuttle bus information is subject to change and may be amended or withdrawn without prior notice.

Services 55, 57 and 91 also pass the racecourse, stopping around 100 metres away from the Racecourse at the St Leger Hotel.

If you are going to drive, Doncaster racecourse has great links to the motorway network including M1 (junction 32), M18 (junction 3/4), A1M (junction 36) and the M62.

Car parking is available at £5 per car from the racecourse reception in advance or on the day. It is also possible to walk to the racecourse, on Leger Way, from Doncaster railway station and town centre.

Exit the station through the interchange and Frenchgate Centre and then follow St Sepulchre Gate, High Street, Hall Gate and Bennetthorpe to the course.

It is about 1.5 miles and will take you 20 to 30 minutes.

To whet your appetite for the festival of racing, here are seven things you may not know about this classic four-day event.

1) The festival was founded in 1776 by Colonel Anthony St. Leger, and is now a highlight of the racecourse’s calendar.

2) The flagship day of the William Hill St Leger Festival, St Leger Day, which this year takes place on Saturday September 15, attracts more than 30,000 racegoers to Doncaster Racecourse each year to witness the St Leger Stakes, the world’s oldest classic race.

3) In over 240 years, the St. Leger Stakes was cancelled just once, in 1939 when World War II broke out.

4) The Queen has attended the St Leger festival, and was accompanied by Sir Winston Churchill in 1953 who became the first, and only, serving prime minister to attend.

5) The festival took place in York in 2006 because of renovations at Doncaster Racecourse.

6) The fewest number of runners in the race was three in 1917, and the most was 30 in 1825.

7) Racing bible The Racing Post found that Doncaster’s classic meeting was the fifth most popular of all races in Britain in a 2013 survey.

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