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The Doncaster Cup

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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: Frankie Dettori, 3 wins (1994, 1996, 2006), Ryan Moore 3 wins (2009, 2013, 2014)
Current leading trainer: Mark Johnston, 3 wins (1995, 1996, 1998)

Previous winners

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Sheikhzayedroad grabs glory by whisker

The two and a quarter mile Doncaster Cup is the second longest race in the Qipco British Champions Series but the 250th renewal on Friday could not have provided a closer finish.

Sheikhzayedroad and Quest For More flashed past the post as one at the end of a pulsating contest, with the former, much loved but “as slow as a hearse” at home according to his trainer, prevailing by a nose.

The David Simcock-trained globetrotter got to the front right on the line right on the line, with the Sir Mark Prescott-trained St Michel staying on well to finish a further two and a quarter-lengths back in third.

“He has been a consistent horse all his life. He is a model of consistency, is very tough and is just an old warrior,” a jubilant Simcock said.

“We absolutely love him to bits at home. He only runs about six times a year now and he might run once more this year possibly in Canada or at Ascot [Champions Day on October 15].

“He will then do exactly the same next year where he’ll run in Dubai then go to Royal Ascot and we’ll follow the same routine. He enjoys it.

“We keep him fresh, he takes no training and is as slow as a hearse at home. He is very lovable and really special to the yard.

“These stayers are great. Everybody loves watching them, they are fun to watch and fun to train.

“Credit to the second horse [Quest For More] as well. They are great old warriors and have a bit of longevity about them.”

The Newmarket trainer added: “This horse has grown up. He still has his little quirks. He hangs one and then the other way but this is a good day.”

Mohammad Jaber, owner of the gelding, named the horse after a famous highway in Dubai and he said: “Well done to David and his team for keeping him fresh. He won well in Dubai in March and then he had a nice break before Royal Ascot when he finished third [beaten five and a quarter-lengths] and again after Goodwood [third, beaten one and a half-lengths] so today he was a fresh horse.”

Harley added:”Sheikhzayedroad has run some really good races this year. He got a nice even gallop there and fair play to the old boy. He has been around and is still producing the goods.”

Quest For More, winner of the Lonsdale Cup on his previous start, had looked the winner until the dying strides and Roger Charlton, his trainer, said: “I am thrilled, he has run a fantastic race. If there was an excuse it is that there is a headwind, we were in it all the way, but I am proud of him.

“He has run a really good race but it is tough. George (Baker) gave him the perfect ride I thought, the right fractions and everything but to be done in the last two strides is always tough.

“It could be Ascot next (Champions Long Distance Cup) if the ground is suitable. If not, he could go for the Dubai Gold Cup (March 2017).”

Sir Mark Prescott, trainer of the third home, St Michel, said: “He ran as well as I hoped. I will probably run him in the Cesarewitch if he gets in. He would have got in if he had won today but he might not now.

“Mr Pearce, who owns him is 97 so the more good days he can have the better.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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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.

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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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