Doncaster Racecourse is celebrating the biggest week in its history, after 50,000 glamorous racegoers flocked to the stands to enjoy the four days of the Cazoo St Leger Festival. A far cry from the eery silence of 2020’s race, which took place behind closed doors.
Reality TV stars from Made in Chelsea (Digby Edgeley & Julius Cowdrey), Love Island (Danny Williams), Married At First (Amy Christophers) & Survival of the Fittest (Samantha Dewhurst) were amongst the stylish racegoers who enjoyed festivities and horseracing, during an unusually sunny September week in Yorkshire. Other VIP’s included debutants Halle and Virginia from Real Like You (X-Factor’s most recent winners) and Miss England International.
The first day of the festival saw temperatures on the racecourse hit 29 degrees centigrade, which was one of the hottest ever day in its history, sparking a yellow warning from the Met Office for racegoers to stay in the shade if possible, during the main heat the day and over the course of the weekend.
Another hot day on Thursday, but Champagne lawns were then swept with a roaring thunderstorm and sheet rain, just after the last race of the day. Not that it dampened revellers spirits, as they continued to dance in the rain and enjoy the live music put on the by the racecourse.
Thousands of fashionista racegoers attended Thursday’s Ladies Day at the Cazoo St Leger Festival, donning stylish outfits and beautiful headwear, as attendees put their best shoes forward to impress the judges of the annual Style Awards, which was open to all to enter. This year, the Style Awards judges wanted racegoers to embrace #FearlessFashion – the theme for the competition – and dress in all the colours of the rainbow as the track looks to show thanks to the NHS and key workers.
The winner of the Style Awards was Gail Eden, from Doncaster, a frontline NHS nurse for nearly 30 years, who nailed the brief. She made her dress and hat herself to celebrate the achievements of the NHS and her shoes and bag were from a charity shop. Gail wore a dress covered in rainbows and looked stunning, while also bagging herself £1,000 in prize money.
Friday saw Doncaster Cup Day celebrate the Doncaster Hero Awards, where another inspirational NHS nurse was recognised for her inspiring career history. Rebecca Foster was nominated by her daughter for her dedication to the NHS and her ‘unwavering compassion.’
Rebecca has been an NHS nurse for more than 45 years and after retiring in January 2020, just before the global Covid pandemic took hold, she subsequently volunteered to support the community before re-joining the NHS as an Oncology Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Doncaster Racecourse launched the search to find the ‘Doncaster Hero 2021’ in August, as we way to help celebrate all that’s great about the Yorkshire town.
Cazoo St Leger Day was the highlight of the event, attracting over 25,000 visitors. Hospitality boxes were filled to the brim with excited faces and the racecourses Club 1776 Marquee didn’t have a spare seat in the house, as everyone waited impatiently to see who would win the Cazoo St Leger Stakes.
8/11 favourite Hurricane Lane ridden by William Buick and trained by Charlie Appleby basked in glory as they galloped across the finishing line in the famous colours of owners, Godolphin, to a roaring crowd.
The win was the 1st time trainer Charlie Appleby has had a winner in the World’s Oldest Classic and the 3rd time for jockey William Buick.
Crowds danced away into the early evening before heading home to rebook next year’s Cazoo St Leger Festival in their exclusive pre-sale window. Tickets for the 2022 Cazoo St Leger Festival go on sale on Friday 1 October at Doncaster-racecourse.co.uk.