St Leger Festival Free bets and New Customer Offers
The St Leger festival takes place at Doncaster racecourse in the North of England and is scheduled to take place from Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 September with the St Leger taking place on the final day. This is the final classic of the flat racing calendar and brings together three year olds who could turn out to be future staying stars as the race is ran over a distance of 1m6f.
While the flat racing season lasts for a few more months after this meeting, and there are other big races to come, this is the first sign of the Autumn that it is time to start thinking about a change of codes as punters leave the flat behind them and move onto the impending jumps season.
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Races at the St Leger Festival for 2020
With four days of action, we have a number of other top races that take place at Doncaster across the week. Things kick off on Wednesday with quite a low key card compared to the other three, although it is a very important day in terms of charity, and is home to a very special horse race.
Wednesday - Leger Legends
The Leger Legends race is the showpiece on day one of the meeting. A number of retired former jockeys take to the track in this race, all with one aim and that is to raise as much money as possible for charity. The Leger Legends race has become a huge part of this meeting, with big name jockeys such as AP McCoy, Joseph O'Brien and Kieren Fallon amongst those that have taken part in the event. The race itself is a chance for fans of the sport to see some of the greats from years gone by on the track once again, and despite their advancing years, this is always a hugely competitive event that everyone wants to win.
Thursday - Ladies Day
The ladies take centre stage both on and off the racecourse on Thursday, and this is seen as the first big day of action on the track. We have three fillies only races to look forward to, plus another race for lady riders, keeping with the theme of the day. Heading the line up on Thursday is the Park Hill Stakes, a Group Two race for fillies ran over the St Leger course and distance. This is open to horses aged three and over and gives the staying girls a big end of season target to aim for away from the boys. This is a race that is sometimes home to past St Leger runners who stay in training and stay at the distance.
The May Hill Stakes is another Group Two on the card, ran over one mile and again restricted to fillies only. We often see potential Oaks horses in this field, and this is one of the many top juvenile races that we see towards the end of the flat season, and always a race to follow in terms of form. The biggest prize money on the day doesn't go to either of those races though, it instead goes to the winner of the £300,000 sales race, a race restricted to two year olds who have been bought at certain sales before racing.
Friday - Gentleman's Day
On Friday it is the turn of the boys to shine off the track, with horses at both ends of the spectrum shining on the tract. The Doncaster Cup brings together the top stayers in the country for a 2m2f Group Two. We often see the strongest stayers from the St Leger going on to run in this race later in their career, and with over £50,000 up for grabs to the winner, this is a race that always attracts a quality field.
We go from one extreme to the other for the second Group Two on the card on Friday. Leaving behind the stayers, we watch the speedsters, with the Flying Childers for two year olds ran over the straight five furlongs. The horses here are all about speed and nothing else, and with this being a big pot of £40,000 to the winner, expect to see some future star sprinters on show here, making this another race that you need to be following both this season and next.
Saturday - St Leger Day
The biggest day of them all, and home to the feature race of the meeting the St Leger. While the grueling trip of 1m6f awaits those in the big race, the supporting races offer an easier task, and both come over seven furlongs. The Park Stakes heads the supporting card, a seven furlong race for horses aged three and upwards. The trip of seven furlongs is a specialist distance that combines the speed of sprinting with the staying power of running middle distances and that can often give fascinating clashes in races like the Park Stakes.
Elsewhere, the other main support comes in the shape of the Champagne Stakes, also over seven furlongs. This is restricted to two year olds and often gives us a clue for the classics in the following year. The race is limited to colts and geldings only, and if you see an impressive winner here then they will usually move towards the head of the betting market for the #Epsom Derby# the year after, such is the regard that this race is held in.
Free Bets and new Customer Sign-Up Offers for the 2020 St Leger.
As with all the major horse racing events, the bookmakers will be pushing for new customers and will be likely to bring out St Leger specific free bets, bonuses or new customer account offers. This site will keep those posted on our betting offers page and it's a good plan to keep visiting this page regularly both prior to the meeting and during as more will probably be presented on each day.
The History of the St Leger
The St Leger is the oldest of all the classics that take place. The first recorded running of this race dates back to 1776, so it is a race with a very rich history. The race is the final classic of the horse racing season and for that reason it is also the final leg of the triple crown, which is up for grabs for any horse that has won the Guineas and then the Derby or Oaks before coming here to try and land this race.
The triple crown is not as popular as it once was, and we rarely see horses attempting it as it would take a very special and unique animal to complete the feat with races over 1m, 1m4f and 1m6f. The race is confined to three year olds only like the other classics, but unlike those, this is open to both colts and fillies, we don't have a separate fillies race like we do with the two versions of the Guineas and the Derby and Oaks.
The man behind the creation of this race was named Anthony St Leger and it is down to him that we have the race today, and it has its name. He was credited with creating the first running of the race in 1776, and a year later in 1777 while discussions were taking place about a renewal, the decision was made to name the race the St Leger Stakes in honour of Anthony's work to get things off the ground.
With a distance of 1m6f, this race often attracts a very mixed bag of runners. There are those that have missed the earlier classics due to being stayers in the making, and these are the horses who relish the trip here, and often go on to be 2m+ horses in years to come. We also have a number of horses running who will be trying out the trip for the first time, and may or may not stay it. These are usually those that have impressed in the earlier classics such as The Derby and The Oaks, and when you combine the two, it often leaves us with a thrilling race and an exciting puzzle for punters to try and solve.
The most recent running of the St Leger came in 2019 and we saw a very impressive winner. This was Logician, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, another winner for that pair in what has been a fantastic partnership. The horse was having just the 5th start of his career, and lacked experience when compared to the rest of the field and St Leger winners of the past. However, he was unbeaten going into the race and notched up his fifth win from five outings with a stylish performance in the final classic of the season. He eventually won the race by two and a quarter lengths and in the process he broke the track record for the 1m6f distance at Doncaster. He did have the wind behind him to help with that, but take nothing away from his performance, this was of the highest order and made a big impression on the racegoers that day.