Leger race to remember town’s railway heritage

editorial image

TWO of Doncaster’s most famous world exports are set to meet at this year’s St Leger Festival.

Racing and railways will combine at September’s four-day spectacular, with a race set to be named in honour of one of the town’s most famous locomotives.

The Flying Scotsman Stakes will be run at Town Moor on September 13 - the third day of the racing extravaganza, the biggest event on the Doncaster social calendar.

Mark Spincer, managing director of Doncaster Racecourse, said the link-up would be ideal to showcase the borough’s heritage to the rest of the world.

He said: “Doncaster is synonymous with racing and railways, so it makes good sense to combine the two.

“The Flying Scotsman is linked with speed and history so it was ideal for coming up with the name of the new listed race.”

A competition was held on social networking site Twitter to come up with a name for the race, which was won by the legendary horse Frankel in 2010.

“A lot of people suggested Frankel for its name, but we wanted something specific to Doncaster and the Flying Scotsman fitted the bill perfectly,” added Mr Spincer.

This year’s festival takes place from September 11 to 14 and tickets have already gone on sale. The Saturday, Leger Day itself and Ladies’ Day, which takes place on Thursday, are already proving the biggest sellers.

The Flying Scotsman locomotive is regarded as the most famous steam train in the world and was built in Doncaster in 1923 for the London and North East Railway route, working between London and Scotland on the East Coast Main Line, hence the name.

It set two world records for steam travel - becoming the first steam locomotive to be authenticated officially at reaching 100 miles per hour in November 1934, and then setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles in August 1989.

It was retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles, and is now at the National Railway Museum in York where it is currently undergoing a massive, long-haul restoration project which is expected to be completed by the end of this year after seven years of repairs and restoration.