The St Leger Festival is a four-day British Flat horse racing meeting held at Doncaster Racecourse in Yorkshire, usually every September. This event builds up to its feature contest, the St Leger race which is the final Classic of the season, on the last day. Discover how to make effective St Leger betting decisions, which races to bet on and how. You can also find out the most crucial stats and trends. There are even some tips for the top horses that are going to run this year.
St Leger Betting Preview per day
The table below lists the most popular races for all four days of the Festival. Not all races are recommended for betting. The class and type determine how much each event is worth. There is a wide variety of St Leger races held over different distances during the meeting. From condition contests to handicaps, age-restricted events, and sales races, the most prestigious are those with Group status. However, St Leger Stakes is the only Group 1 at this Festival:
|Scarborough Stakes||Listed||Day 1||2yos and up||5 furlongs|
|Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes||Group 3||Day 1||3yo fillies and up||7 furlongs|
|May Hill Stakes||Group 2||Day 2||2yo fillies||1 mile|
|Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes||Group 2||Day 2||3yos and up||1 mile, 6 1/2 furlongs|
|Flying Childers Stakes||Group 2||Day 3||2yos||5 furlongs|
|Doncaster Cup Stakes||Group 2||Day 3||3yos and up||2 miles, 2 furlongs|
|Flying Scotsman Stakes||Listed||Day 3||2yos||7 furlongs|
|Champagne Stakes||Group 2||Day 4||2yo colts||7 furlongs|
|St Leger Stakes||Group 1||Day 4||3yo colts and fillies||1 mile, 6 1/2 furlongs|
|Park Stakes||Group 2||Day 4||3yos and up||7 furlongs|
What is the Doncaster Racecourse like
Before looking at the St Leger tips, you need to know what the racecourse is like. A circuit of the track is about two miles, and it's left-handed (counter-clockwise). The long home straight on Town Moor means any horse you back needs to stay. The runners climb up Park Hill as they head out of the back straight. The course then turns downhill into a long run-in of more than half-a-mile in length. There is a separate mile-long straight for some of the shorter distance and juvenile races too.
Vital stats before engaging in St Leger Festival betting
Like all horse races, there are statistics and prevailing trends which may help you find the winner of the St. Leger and the other events at the Festival. While this doesn’t guarantee anything, and trends can always be bucked, you will make better-informed choices based on knowing this information more often than not. Consider these stats and trends before taking a punt in St Leger betting:
⏩ Although three-year-olds won every renewal of Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes between 2006 and 2015, only one of that age has landed the spoils since.
⏩ No filly or mare has ever had more than one victory in the Park Hill Stakes in its entire 180-year history.
⏩ Frankie Dettori is the most successful jockey in the Flying Childers Stakes history with six wins, and three of those have been in the last six years.
⏩ Only three horses aged three have won the Doncaster Cup since 1989.
⏩ Just one three-year-old since 2000 has won the Portland Handicap.
⏩ Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has saddled six St Leger winners of the race since 2001.
⏩ Of active jockeys, Dettori is the most successful with six winning rides in the Leger.
⏩ Two of the last three winners were sent out by O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore.
⏩ John Gosden and Saeed bin Suroor are the joint-most successful active British trainers, saddling five horses apiece to Leger victories.
⏩ Sheikh Mohammed is the most successful owner in the race’s history. Including runners who carried the Godolphin silks as well as his own colors, he has been involved with nine St Leger scorers.
How often do favorites win
Horses may be fancied in the Festival, but that is no guarantee that they will win races. On average, several studies found that favorites were beaten in two-thirds of all horse races. While St Leger tips may recommend market leaders, it is always worth checking if there is any case for betting on other horses. Favorites only win about 30 percent of the time, so concentrating your efforts elsewhere may prove more rewarding. Underneath, you can see the top bookmakers where you can bet on the market leaders.
St Leger Tips: Which horses should I back
This year’s renewal of the St Leger race should be a cracker. Some of the most exciting three-year-olds trained in the UK and Ireland are being aimed at it by their owners and trainers. We have St Leger betting tips from our experts who know the form and which horses are the best value for the entire Festival.
May Hill Stakes
On the second day of the Festival, the May Hill Stakes includes fillies 2+ year olds. It was upgraded to Group 2 in 2003. Frank Dettori is the most successful jockey the last 20 years, with three victories including the 2020 race:
⏩ Insiral to win @8/11
⏩ Speak to place @9/1
Park Hill Stakes
A Group 2 Race, the Park Hill Stakes is a race open to 3+ year old fillies and mares. It takes place on the second day of the Festival. Historically, we follow runners that are trained by John Gosden, Sir Michael Stoute & Ralph Beckett:
⏩ Save a Forest to win @11/2
⏩ Yesyes to place @5/1
Cazzo 6f Handicap
This is a Group 2 race, which is open to horses aged 3 or older. Past stats suggest that market leaders do exceptionally well in this particular race, which is why it is best to follow them. Having said that:
⏩ Modern News to win @9/2
⏩ Asjad to place @11/2
St Leger Stakes
For 3-year old colts and fillies all the attention will be given to the St Leger Stakes, the main event of the Festival. Hurricane Lane is the market leader at the moment. He won the Irish Derby and his only defeat came at the Epsom Derby:
⏩ Hurricane Lane to win @8/11
⏩ Wordsworth e/w @13/1
Is it worth betting ante post
Another of the essential tips is to get your bets on ante-post. You may be wondering why. How horses get on in their prep runs and previous outings shape the St Leger Festival betting a lot. While you aren’t guaranteed a run for your money, you will likely get a better price than if you choose to wait. That is because horses who do well have their odds cut. This happens time and again with bookmakers. Be smart and follow our tips.
How to bet on handicaps on the St Leger Festival
There are no trials for the many handicap races at the Festival. Anything prominent is worth a closer look, but the nursery handicaps are best avoided altogether. There is so little form to go on because the horses running are Flat juveniles and so getting heavily involved isn’t advisable. Sprint handicaps have risks too. A bad draw can make or break a horse’s chances whatever their price in the St Leger betting. The middle and long distance handicaps, such as the Mallard Handicap, are the best races to bet on. There is form to study and more time to overcome a bad draw.
Should I follow the St Leger Betting Tips
Like any horse racing meeting, there is undoubtable value in the St Leger betting. Avoid nursery handicaps and juvenile races where there is little form to go on. If you are going to bet on a handicap, then stick to long-distance events. The best St Leger tips all suggest betting on Group races ante post. Doing this each way can also see you turn a profit if the horse places.
With so much action going on at Doncaster, wagering can be tricky. By following the tips given here, you should make better choices. Therefore, that increases your chances of coming out ahead. Due to the wide variety of races taking place, it is wiser to just watch some of them, rather than getting heavily involved all the time.
The St Leger Festival of 2022 is on from Friday, 8 September to Monday, 11 September at Doncaster Racecourse. The main event, the St. Leger Stakes is run on the final day of the meeting.
In a thrilling race, Galileo Chrome (4/1) just managed to edge out Berkshore Rocco (16/1) and Pyledriver (9/2). Santiago, who was the market leader at 5/2 before the race started, was only fourth at the finish line.
There are seven races each day at this meeting and betting for the St Leger Festival will be available on them all. Other big events include the Doncaster Cup, Park Hill Stakes, and Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes.
The St Leger race is named after Anthony St Leger, a wealthy landowner to whom Park Hill, which overlooks Doncaster Racecourse, belonged. St. Leger races date back almost 250 years to 24 September 1776 when it was held on Cantley Common.
Betting on a big field handicap is challenging, but Hurricane Lane is one of the most obvious choices. It has already performed admirably in other horse races this year, including the Irish and Epsom Derbys.