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The Doncaster Cup

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History

The Doncaster Cup is a Group 2 race for three-year-olds and older horses and run over 2 miles and 2 furlongs (3,600 metres), making it a key race in the QIPCO British Champions Series Long Distance category. Established in 1766, it is Doncaster’s oldest surviving race, pre-dating the St Leger by 10 years. Along with the Gold Cup at Ascot and the Qatar Goodwood Cup – both feature in the QIPCO British Champions Series – it forms part of the Stayers’ Triple Crown.

It has its fair share of great racing stories to tell as well. Like the one about Beeswing, the legendary mare who won the race a record four times between 1837-42 and who was so popular that the Scottish village of Lochend changed its name to Beeswing in the horse’s honour. And what about the tale – or rather, tail – of Double Trigger, who won three times in the 1990s. The seven-year-old stallion seemed to be past his best when he enjoyed an Indian summer in his final season to win the cup for a final time in 1998.

Racing followers are always trying to uncover the secret of a horse’s success but this one sounds as bizarre as they come. One of Double Trigger’s owners attributed the horse’s revival in part to the decision to stop plaiting the horse’s tail, which he believed made him more relaxed.

More recently, Times Up won it twice in 2012 and 2013, first for trainer John Dunlop and then for his son, Ed, following John’s retirement at the end of the 2012 season.

Current leading jockey: Ryan Moore 4 wins (2009, 2013, 2014, 2018)
Current leading trainer: Mark Johnston, 3 wins (1995, 1996, 1998)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Peerless Stradivarius strolls to tenth successive win

Stradivarius secured his tenth successive victory with a dominant display in the Magners Rose Doncaster Cup.

John Gosden’s five-year-old has completely dominated the staying division over the past couple of seasons – with back-to-back wins in the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup seeing him scoop the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million in both 2018 and 2019.

Stradivarius has now won a record 11 races that fall under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella.

In the immediate aftermath of his latest triumph at York, connections suggested his next port of call would be next month’s QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot – which he also won last season – but a late change of heart saw Gosden bring his charge to Town Moor.

With old foe Dee Ex Bee a late withdrawal, Stradivarius was the 1-9 favourite in the hands of regular partner Frankie Dettori and his legion of fans had few concerns for the duration of the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest.

After initially being left in front, Andrew Balding’s Cleonte was sent on by Oisin Murphy heading out for the second circuit in an attempt to inject some pace in the race, and he was still going great guns rounding the turn for home.

However, once popped the question by Dettori, Stradivarius swiftly reeled in the leader and kicked clear for a comfortable one-and-three-quarter-length victory.

Cleonte boxed on admirably to fill the runner-up spot, with the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite – runner-up to stablemate Thomas Hobson in last year’s renewal – back in third.

Gosden said: “Frankie was right to go forward, then Oisin decided he wanted to make a race of it.

“He’s a lovely horse. I had no intention of coming here, but he was so fresh, rearing up and shouting all the time, so I thought we’d come and win the Doncaster Cup – it hadn’t been the plan, but Mr (Bjorn) Nielsen was very good about it.

“He’s a gorgeous horse to train, but he was getting so playful at home – this was a five-day entry so I had to put him in.”

He added: “I think Mr Nielsen’s big plan, if the horse is happy and well, is to go to Ascot next year. He would love to win three Gold Cups. We’ll try to do that if we can and we’ll see what comes out of the Leger as potential challengers.

“He’s had a much easier season this year than last. The race in the Gold Cup (last year) was mighty tough and he was a tired horse by the Lonsdale. This year he’s a very fresh horse still.

“I think next year’s it’s Ascot Gold Cup and probably Goodwood Cup, and then we might worry about other options.”

Dettori said: “That’s the easiest he’s won – he’s so great to ride, he relaxes, he quickens. Brilliant.  He’s got one more gear than the rest.”

The 48-year-old has now ridden the winners of a reciord-equalling 12 Champions Series races this year, the same as Ryan Moore in 2017.

Results

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The Course

Doncaster’s local authorities tried to ban horseracing a few years ago – well, 400 years ago, to be exact – because of the hordes of ruffians that the races attracted.

Eventually, they gave up, marking out a racecourse instead. The result? One of the country’s biggest horseracing centres and the home of two of the world’s oldest races, the Doncaster Cup and the Ladbrokes St Leger. Both feature in the QIPCO British Champions Series

The south Yorkshire venue, also known as Town Moor, is a left-handed, pear-shaped track, with courses for both Flat and Jump racing. A £34 million facelift, concluding in 2007, transformed it into one of the most modern in Europe. As for Doncaster’s ruffians, they’ve moved on, replaced by real horse connoisseurs. When the venue staged Britain’s first Sunday race meeting in 1992, 23,000 people turned up… even though betting was not allowed on the Sabbath.

Find out about racing at Doncaster

Getting there

Doncaster Racecourse,
The Grandstand,
Leger Way,
Doncaster,
DN2 6BB

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@ianmsyme Undoubtedly one of our favourite fillies but she didn't manage to record a Series victory this year!