Statement regarding pilot event during St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse

Managing Director of Arena Racing Company Racing Division, Mark Spincer, said, “We have had confirmation this afternoon from the Local Authority that we will not be able to admit a crowd to the final three days of the St Leger Festival, Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 September.  The race meeting will continue on a ‘behind closed doors’ basis, as per all other race meetings currently taking place in Britain.

This pilot event represents a hugely important step not just for our business but for the whole of British racing as well as the sports and hospitality industries as a whole.  We do, of course, fully understand and respect the decision and will be contacting all of our customers booked for the remaining three days as a matter of urgency.

We were pleased to work closely with Doncaster Council to set up this pilot event in the manner that we had but matters beyond anyone’s control, and the data that regarding local rates that have come to light today, mean we will not be able to welcome a crowd from Thursday onwards.

We would, of course, like to thank all of our customers for their support in the run up to this event as well as our staff who have done a monumental job in preparing the site.”

Damian Allen, Chief Executive at Doncaster Council, added: “I would like to place on record my thanks to the management team at Doncaster Racecourse for their meticulous planning for the festival.

They have been working positively with us and have put in significant amount of hours and hard work to prepare for and manage the event. The latest development of how the festival is to be held is based on public health and public safety advice and that has to be heeded.

The St Leger does have a special significance for Doncaster and I do hope the festival is enjoyed remotely this year and indeed with the anticipated return of spectators for the entire festival in 2021.”

The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Flat Breeders’ Awards Evening – Thursday 17th September

The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association will host a virtual awards event online to recognise the success of breeders from the 2019 flat racing season.

The event, supported by Weatherbys, is scheduled to run from 7pm (BST), on Thursday, 17 September and will see a total of 10 awards including the four statistical awards announced earlier in 2020, presented over the course of the evening which will be premiered on YouTube.

Pre-recorded video interviews with the winners will be released during the evening on the video sharing website. Edited versions of the videos and winner announcements will also be published on the TBA’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

The event will deliver the inaugural presentation of the British European Breeders’ Fund (BEBF), Stallion Special Merit Award, which was developed by the BEBF to recognise the extraordinary achievements of a stallion, with due consideration given to the sire’s covering fee and book of mares.

The winner of the annual TBA Stud Employee Award will also be announced on the evening. The award, generously sponsored by New England Stud, recognises significant achievement by an individual in the stud farming sector and provides the recipient with a £2,000 cash prize, and presentation of the perpetual trophy, a Charlie Langton bronze.

TBA Chief Executive Claire Sheppard said: “Though Covid-19 has prevented us all gathering together to celebrate the Flat Breeders’ Awards Evening, we are delighted to be able to retain our winners’ video interviews and bring them to a wider audience. The videos will give more people a chance to celebrate British-bred success and see behind the scenes of some of our most successful breeding operations.

“I would like to thank all of our event supporters, but most particularly, Weatherbys for continuing to sponsor the event, New England Stud for their generous support of stud employees, and to the British EBF for introducing their new award and supporting the event.”

To view the Flat Breeders’ Awards Evening videos from 7pm on Thursday, 17 September, visit and search for ‘The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’ channel, no account or previous registration required. YouTube account holders can also sign-in and subscribe to the TBA channel to receive notifications.

The statistical awards (previously announced):

The Queen’s Silver Cup
Leading British-based flat breeder by prize money in GB and IRE in 2019.
WINNER – Godolphin

BBA Silver Cigar Box
Leading British-based stallion by prize money in GB and IRE in 2019.
WINNER – Dubawi

Barleythorpe Stud Silver Cup
Leading British-based stallion by individual winners in GB and IRE in 2019.
WINNER – Dubawi

Tattersalls Silver Salver
Leading British-based first crop sire by prize money in GB and IRE in 2019.
WINNER – Cable Bay

The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association National Hunt Awards Evening – Wednesday 26th August

Simon Sweeting and his Overbury Stud team were the big winners at the TBA’s National Hunt Awards Evening, which celebrated the successes of the past 2019-20 season. The live awards ceremony, which was hosted by Nick Luck, was held virtually in place of the annual National Hunt Breeders’ Celebration Dinner. In total 14 awards were presented.

Kayf Tara has dominated the British National Hunt stallion scene in recent times and the recently retired son of Sadler’s Wells once again scooped both stallion statistical awards. The Horse & Hound Cup (Leading active NH British-based Stallion, 2019-2020 individual chase winners) was won for the sixth consecutive time and eighth in total, and the Whitbread Silver Salver (Leading active NH British-based Stallion, 2019-2020 earnings) was won for the tenth time.

Not only do Overbury stand Kayf Tara, they were also rewarded as breeders of Thyme Hill, who scooped the accolade for Leading Novice Hurdler (Mickley Stud Trophy). A son of Kayf Tara, his three wins in the season included the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury last December.

Super mare Honeysuckle won all four starts to remain unbeaten in all eight starts to date under Rules and her breeder, Dr Geoffrey Guy, was the recipient of the Leading Hurdler Mare Award (Yorton Trophy). Her exploits on the track, which included capturing a trio of Grade 1s, ensured that her dam First Royal won the Dudgeon Cup for NH Broodmare of the Year.

The ever popular Lady Buttons, who was bred by Keith and Jayne Sivills, landed the Leading Chaser Mare (Distillery Stud Trophy) for the third year in a row, while David and Kathleen Holmes, breeders received the Shade Oak Stud Trophy for Midnights’ Gift, who was crowned Leading Novice Hurdling Mare. The fourth prize for mares was the first trophy awarded on the evening, the Midnight Legend Trophy, given to the Leading NH Flat Mare. The winner was the Downfield Cottage Stud-bred Legends Ryde, appropriately a daughter of the former Pitchall Stud resident.

Recipient in the past for Leading Novice Hurdler and Leading Novice Chaser, Santini provided his breeders Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes with a third title, this time in the Leading Chaser category, which was sponsored by Highflyer Bloodstock.

Another to bring up the treble for his breeder was Ballyandy. Bred by Jeremy Hinds’s Pleasure Palace Racing, the son of Kayf Tara was given the honour of Leading Hurdler and the Overbury Stud Trophy.

The Leading Novice Chaser category, for which the winner received the Peel Bloodstock Trophy, was taken by Copperhead (Sulamani), who was bred by Jane Micklethwait, along with her late husband Richard. While the Batsford Stud Trophy, given to the Leading NH Flat Horse, was won by Peter Phillips, who bred the unbeaten Black Sam Bellamy gelding Red Rookie.

A pair of special recognition awards were also presented. The first, the Eric Gillie Ltd Trophy, was given to Roy Smith, breeder of Unowhatimeanharry. The son of Sir Harry Lewis had missed out on winning at these awards in past years, but newly into the 2019/2020 season gained his fourth top-level win with a second victory in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

The final award of the evening was the Queen Mother’s Silver Salver, which was presented to Peter and Emma Hockenhull. The duo have been long-standing members of the National Hunt fraternity and stood a bastion of the British National Hunt breeding game in Alflora, whom they bet their farm on his success.

TBA Chief Executive Claire Sheppard said: “A key event within the jump breeding community, it was a sign of the times that this year’s awards evening was to be staged virtually. However, it has been a fabulous evening with last season’s finest being showcased and rewarded and I would like to congratulate all nominees and winners.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the TBA’s NH Committee, Nick Luck and all of our sponsors for their vital ongoing support.”


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