Doncaster cup date: September, 2022 (TBD)
Type: group 2 weight for age flat stakes races
Age of the horses: 3 years old and older
Distance: 2 miles 1 furlong 179 yards
There is one horse race run during the St Leger Festival at Doncaster that is even older than the St Leger Stakes itself, and that is the Doncaster Cup – a true test of Flat thoroughbred stamina. Contested over about two-and-a-quarter miles and first run in 1766, it was originally held over an even longer distance of four miles. From 1891 to 1907 and 1927 to the present day, the Doncaster Cup had and has its current trip.
Promoted to Group 2 status in 2003, the race is part of the Flat Stayers’ Triple Crown acting as the third and final leg after the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Goodwood Cup. Although open to three-year-olds and above, the Doncaster Cup has rarely been won by such horses in modern times. Thoroughbreds of that age are more likely to go in the St Leger than this.
While the race has suffered in recent years to its proximity to other staying races like the Lonsdale Cup at York and Irish St Leger (which is not age restricted like the English equivalent), there is still a rich history attached to the Doncaster Cup. It has been used a stepping stone by racehorses to the Melbourne Cup in Australia, which is one of the most valuable handicaps run anywhere in the world. Great stayers such as Le Moss, Andross, Further Flight, Double Trigger and Stradivarius have all landed the Doncaster Cup in modern times.
The Doncaster Cup is like any other horse race of note in that there are statistics and trends relating to it which may be of use to you when deciding who to back. Stats give no guarantees when it comes to picking the winner but, if you bear the following in mind, you can at least make informed choices:
A race with such history attached to it as the Doncaster Cup is one that bookmakers target for special offers. Be sure to check back during the St Leger Festival to see the latest promotions relating to this and other events during the four-day meeting.
Meanwhile, check out our Horse Racing Betting Offers page.
Here are the 10 previous winners of the Doncaster Cup. Below that, you will also find the race result for each of the past three years in detail:
Stradivarius completed the Flat Stayers’ Triple Crown and made it 10 consecutive races unbeaten with victory in the Doncaster Cup. The champion stayer was long odds-on at 1/9 for trainer John Gosden, owner Bjorn Nielsen and jockey Frankie Dettori. Content to let others make the running after leading at a steady pace early on, Stradivarius tracked those who went past him. The five-year-old son of Sea The Stars then started making smooth headway three furlongs out.
He closed up on the bit approaching the final furlong. Dettori then gave a shake of his reins and Stradivarius soon quickened to lead, putting the race to bed and pulling 1¾ lengths clear of Andrew Balding’s 16/1 shot Cleonte. Previous Doncaster Cup runner-up Max Dynamite was a further 2½ lengths back in third for Willie Mullins at 14/1. This renewal saw second-favourite Dee Ex Bee withdrawn by trainer Mark Johnston on the unseasonably good to firm ground.
Irish trainer Willie Mullins saddled a one-two in the Doncaster Cup with Thomas Hobson leading fellow Rich and Susannah Ricci owned eight-year-old gelding Max Dynamite home. Sent off the 2/1 favourite, Thomas Hobson was held up in rear by jockey Ryan Moore and improved three out. He then tracked the leaders with two furlongs to go and challenged approaching the last. Moore rode him to lead and he ran out a ready half-a-length winner over his stable companion.
The front two pulled seven lengths clear of previous Doncaster Cup winner Sheikhzayedroad at 5/1. Like 8/1 shot Max Dynamite who was found by the vets to have struck into himself under Andrea Atzeni, Thomas Hobson is also known for his exploits in the National Hunt scene. The same connections also had Renneti ridden by Frankie Dettori further down the field in sixth. It was Thomas Hobson who went one better than his previous effort on Town Moor.
Desert Skyline became the second horse trained by David Elsworth to land the Doncaster Cup. He tried for many years to win the race with Persian Punch finally prevailing at the age of 10 in 2003. Desert Skyline was at the opposite end of his career, however, as a three-year-old but was sent off a well-fancied 2/1 favourite. He posted several good efforts in defeat prior to the race and was held up by Silvestre De Sousa before making steady headway inside the final half-mile.
As Desert Skyline tracked the leaders with two furlongs to go, he soon came under a ride and threw down his challenge inside the last. He took things up with 120 yards to go and kept on strongly for a 1½ lengths success over 4/1 Irish raider Thomas Hobson. Sheikhzayedroad, the 2016 Doncaster Cup winner, was a further head behind in third at 5/1 for David Simcock. Peter Niven trained veteran Clever Cookie outran his odds to be fourth at 33/1 as just 2¼ lengths separated the first four.