DONCASTER RACECOURSE: Preparing for a Toronado

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WHAT a great weekend of sport – not least on a course of a non-racing kind over in America, where Europe provided a fantastic end to a stunning sporting summer with victory in the Ryder Cup.

And the end of the summer it certainly is. If we needed any reminder that autumn has officially arrived, we got it last week, with glum weather that saw more than 30mm of rainfall at Doncaster between September 23 and 25 – a wet end to a summer that barely got off the ground!

The track, as expected, has taken last week’s rain well. The downpours helped with the course’s recovery from racing over the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, four days of relentless action that includes more than 25 line-ups.

A number of courses across the country didn’t fare so well, with the rainy conditions putting paid to action at Redcar, Ripon and Worcester last week. Middleham was also hit hard by flooding, with trainers’ gallops under water.

Looking ahead, we’re working to get everything ready for the Racing Post Trophy two-day meeting, which takes place on Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27.

It’s a great fixture, with some high quality on racing on offer. We should know, in under a week, how many of the 92 horses entered will remain in the Racing Post Trophy line-up on the Saturday raceday. It would be great to see Richard Hannon trained two-year-old Toronado return having won here at last month’s St Leger when he beat favourite Dundonnell.

Mark Johnston will also be targeting the group one race with Steeler after it won the group two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. Steeler, ridden by jockey Kieren Fallon, found his stride on the rising ground at Newmarket to beat off Artigiano at odds of 7/1 and favourite – and previously unbeaten - Fantastic Moon, which finished in fifth place.

It won’t be long before we can see for ourselves whether Steeler is tough enough to beat off competition in the Group One race that was last year scooped by Camelot. Aiden O’Brien trained Mars is another of the standout names among the early entries for the race.

For more information about the Racing Post Trophy and other forthcoming racedays at Doncaster Racecourse, or to buy tickets, go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk or call 01302 511 918.