Flashback: Mickael Barzalona (right), riding Encke, wins the St Leger Stakes at St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse in 2012. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The four-day Doncaster St Leger festival, one of the highlights of the British flat racing season that culminates in the world’s oldest Classic, the St. Leger Stakes on the weekend, kicks off on Wednesday with public in attendance as per the government decision.

It will be the first racing event of the season to allow attendees as a pilot event which has been encouraged by the fact that Doncaster has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates per 100,000 people.

The St Leger, one of the prestigious races in the calendar, has been won by some of the sport’s greatest horses and this year’s renewal looks set to be one of the best ever with the likes of Pyledriver, Santiago, Hukum, English King, Khalifa Sat, Military March and Serpentine among the likely runners.


The Festival kicks off with a bang on Wednesday when retired jockeys compete in the Leger Legends race, an event which helps raise money for the charities, including a rehabilitation facility for injured jockeys.

The feature race is the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes where Godolphin’s Althiqa aims to continue her good run of form on her return to seven furlongs.The Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old has posted four excellent efforts over the trip this season, including a smart victory in the Listed Prix Amandine at Deauville, France, and a battling third in the Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

‘Ladies Day’ on Thursday is Yorkshire’s biggest social occasion. The day is a fashion fiesta and the stakes are set high with the Best Dressed competition and huge prizes to be won. Ladies Day also features the Silk Series final, a flat race series specifically for female jockeys.

Day Three is a tribute to the male racegoers and is run under the banner of Gentlemen Day where the highlight is the Doncaster Cup, the oldest race currently run under the rules of horse racing in the UK<

The comes down on the St Leger Festival on Saturday with the venue’s flagship race, the St. Leger, to the World’s oldest Classic which was first run in 1776 at one mile and six furlongs and is worth approximately ‎£700,000.