Flat, Hurdles, Fences
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (90 Minutes from Kings Cross)
Rail from York (21 minutes)
Railway station to Racecourse (2.5 miles by shuttle bus, £2.50 return)
Dependent on the meeting. We attended on a quiet Thursday and large parts of the course were not open. Parade ring is in a really sensible position in front of the stands which removes the need for tidal flow. Tote offices including stand alone, in bars and hand held in the corporate suites. Two stands, one quaint in the non-county enclosure. Also, corporate boxes and a large annual members area.
We stayed in York, but there are a lot of chain hotels available in Doncaster.
Grandstand, County and packages available. We attended as Arc members from Lingfield so free and included country enclosure but not annual members bar which was disappointing when so much was closed.
(1) Return After challenge complete
13 July 2017– UK (31), Irish (3), Rest of the World (2)
It is hard to know what to say in many ways as Doncaster is one of the courses you have in your sights even before taking on something like the challenge to visit all tracks. It is iconic and of course the home of the St Ledger. But, time being what it is and as Madam Hoof and I are still working to pay for our champagne and nibbles, we need to sometimes fit tracks in when we can. As we were planning on being at York for my Birthday on July 14 (Bastille day) it made sense to try and slip a little extra horse action in on the way.
Here comes the issue; a track the size of Doncaster is an amazing thing. It is a work of art and logistics, all wrapped up in one. It has bars the size of small aircraft hangers and airport lounges. When the place is full, it must be something to see and probably work like clockwork. However, on a quiet day when they expect 2000 people rather than 40,000, decisions must be taken as to what to open and what to leave closed. Many of the bars were closed and even those that were open were running half of the required staff and a limited number of tills being opened. When coming a long way to enjoy a special days racing, this can be frustrating. I shall say no more about this as there are some real positives to the day.
Doncaster was our 35-race track since we started the challenge and yet again no rain. It threatened, it was forecast, but not a drop fell. If it had Doncaster could cope. There is a lot of cover and a large amount of seating, so although we were glad it was dry again, we don’t think it would have been a terrible issue if it had poured down.
Unrelated to Doncaster itself, but another small concern was the number of withdrawals from the races today. Are we scheduling too many meeting on the same day? Is it simply related to the weather? Some of today’s card had 4 horses removed from a single race, which although the racing was still exciting, does play with the odds, the places and overall enjoyment of seeing as many horses as possible.
Overall, a day at the track is hard to beat, and there were many positive elements of our day, but I think we would avoid visiting such a stalwart of the English racing scene on such a quiet day in future.