First run in 1766, the Group Two Doncaster Cup is the oldest race that still takes place under the Rules of Racing..

The two and a quarter mile contest, one of the highlights of the season at Doncaster, is the final leg of the historic Stayers’ Triple Crown that also incorporates the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Goodwood Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

The race was originally called the Doncaster Gold Cup and run at Cantley Moor until 1776. It has been staged over two and a quarter miles since 1926, having taken place over various distances of around four miles up to 1824, two miles and five furlongs from 1825 to 1890 and two miles, one furlong from 1908 until 1926.

Many of the Turf’s finest stayers have landed the historic prize and the most recent to clinch the Stayers’ Triple Crown on Town Moor was the great Double Trigger in 1995.

Trained in Middleham by Mark Johnston, “Trigger” captured the Doncaster Cup on three occasions, gaining back-to-back triumphs in 1995 and 1996 before finishing fourth to Canon Can in 1997 and then reclaiming his title in 1998.

The first dual winner of the 19th century was the John Scott-trained Touchstone (1835 & 1836), while the great mare Beeswing won the race a remarkable four times. Having prevailed in 1837, the darling of the north returned triumphant in 1840, 1841 and 1842.

There have been eight dual winners since 1801. As well as Touchstone, Alice Hawthorne (1843/44) and Vedette (1857/58) achieved the feat in the 19th century, while Velocity proved too quick for his challengers in 1907 and 1908, The Queen’s Agreement triumphed in 1958 and 1959, the brilliant Le Moss reigned supreme in 1979 and 1980, Millenary bagged two wins in 2004 and 2005 and Times Up (2012 & 2013) is the most recent.

Voltigeur, Lord Zetland’s brilliant colt, won the Derby and the Doncaster Cup in 1850 and the following year’s Epsom hero, Teddington, completed the double when winning the Town Moor contest in 1852. In 1863, Macaroni won both races in the same season, as did Kettledrum in 1861.

The most recent Derby winner to carry off the Doncaster Cup was Lemberg who took the Town Moor race in 1911, having won the Epsom Classic in 1910.

The 2011 hero Saddler’s Rock was the latest three-year-old to take the Doncaster Cup. A total of 18 horses of Classic age have been successful since 1900.

The statue of Double Trigger at Doncaster Racecourse

Double Trigger was a four-year-old when clinching his first success and, since 1900, more horses of that age have prevailed than any other, with 47 horses aged four carrying off the prize.

The oldest winner in that period is Persian Punch, who was 10 when taking the spoils in 2003 – the year the race became a Group Two contest. He outdid his old rival Millenary, winner of the 2000 Ladbrokes St Leger, who was eight when winning the Doncaster Cup for a second time in 2005. His trainer John Dunlop had a third Doncaster Cup in 2012 with six-year-old Times Up.

Eight horses, including Sergeant Cecil (2006), Boreas (2002), Millenary, Double Trigger and Times Up, have won the race as seven-year-olds since 1900.

Le Moss won the Doncaster Cup in 1980
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Ed Byrne

Joe Mercer, with eight victories between 1953 and Le Moss’ second triumph in 1980, is the winning-most rider in the history of the race.

The most successful jockey in recent times has been Ryan Moore with three wins. Moore, successful on Askar Tau in 2009, recorded back-to-back victories on Times Up (2013) and Estimate (2014) who gave The Queen her fifth victory in the race (the most for a current owner) and had won the Gold Cup in 2013.

Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, with seven successes, has more wins on the roll of honour than any other trainer, commencing in 1934 with Alcazar and culminating in 1963 with Raise You Ten. His late stepson, Sir Henry Cecil, is next on the list with six victories, the last being Canon Can in 1997.

There have been three dead-heats. As well as Kasthari and Millenary in 2004, Merry Gal and Sidus were inseparable in 1901, while Souepi and Nick La Rocca passed the post in tandem in 1953.

The biggest field to line up is 15 in 1834 when Tomboy won. A post-19th century record of 12 runners went to post in 2014 when Estimate triumphed in the colours of The Queen.

There have been four occasions since 1900 when only two runners started. Prince Palatine (1912), winner of the previous year’s St Leger, Long Set (1913), Colorado Kid (1933) and Exar (1960) each held off one rival.

At 1/20, Prince Palatine is the shortest-priced winner, while 33/1 shot Shangamuzo returned the biggest odds in 1977 under Pat Eddery.

Possibly the unluckiest horse in the race’s history is Petrizzo, who was first past the post in both 1984 and 1986, only to lose the race in the stewards’ room on each occasion for causing interference.

The Doncaster Cup has been a very successful race for The Queen. Her Majesty’s colours were first carried to victory by Atlas in 1956 and she has won the race a further three times, most recently with Estimate in 2014.

Sheikhzayedroad wins the 2016 Doncaster Cup
Image by Steven Cargill

In 2016, Doncaster staged the 250th running of the Doncaster Cup, which went to the talented Sheikhzayedroad.

 

RECENT WINNERS

Year Horse Trainer Jockey Owner SP

2016 Sheikhzayedroad David Simcock Martin Harley Mohammed Jaber

2015 Pallasator Sir Mark Prescott Andrea Atzeni Qatar Racing Limited 9/2 fav

2014 Estimate Sir Michael Stoute Ryan Moore The Queen 11/8 fav

2013 Times Up Ed Dunlop Ryan Moore Mrs I Stewart & M Meacock 3/1

2012 Times Up John Dunlop Eddie Ahern Mrs I Stewart & M Meacock 5/1

2011 Saddler’s Rock John Oxx IRE Niall McCullagh Michael O’Flynn 11/2

2010 Samuel John Gosden William Buick Normandie Stud Ltd 5/1

2009 Askar Tau Marcus Tregoning Ryan Moore Nurlan Bizakov 5/2

2008 Honolulu Aidan O’Brien IRE Johnny Murtagh Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor 15/8 fav

2007 Septimus Aidan O’Brien IRE Johnny Murtagh Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor 11/10 fav

2006 Sergeant Cecil Rod Millman Frankie Dettori Terry Cooper Evens fav

2005 Millenary John Dunlop Richard Quinn Neil Jones 11/4

2004 DH Kasthari Howard Johnson Johnny Murtagh Elliott Bros 14/1

DH Millenary John Dunlop Richard Quinn Neil Jones 7/1

2003 Persian Punch David Elsworth Martin Dwyer Jeff Smith 3/1

2002 Boreas Luca Cumani Jamie Spencer Aston House Stud 7/2

2001 Alleluia Sir Mark Prescott Jamie Mackay Sonia Rogers 14/1

2000 Enzeli John Oxx IRE Johnny Murtagh H H Aga Khan 15/2

1999 Far Cry Martin Pipe Kevin Darley Nicky Chambers 6/1