Located in Stainforth, just to the northeast of the town of Doncaster, lies one of Britain’s most well-respected greyhound tracks. Only around 30 years old, having first opened for business in its current form in 1993, the track boasts impressively modern facilities, including an onsite restaurant, bars, and executive suites.
All of these amenities help to ensure a cracking experience for all who venture to “Donny” for a night, afternoon, or even morning at the dogs. In common with its horse racing counterpart, it is the St Leger which takes centre stage at the track – in this case, the Yorkshire St Leger which was established in 2004.
What’s On Offer at Doncaster?
Signing a deal with main broadcaster SIS in 2018, Doncaster is committed to staging racing on Monday and Wednesday evenings, Saturday afternoons, and Sunday mornings. Gates open at 5pm for evening fixtures, 1pm on a Saturday, and 10.30am ahead of the Sunday morning action. The aforementioned Yorkshire St Leger provides the annual highlight of the season – usually taking place in October.
- Circuit Length – 435m
- Run to First Bend – 105m
- Sprint Distance – 275m
- Middle Distance – 450m – 483m (standard)
- Stayers Distance – 661m – 705m
- Marathon Distance – 868m – 877m
What Can You Expect?
General admission at Doncaster is priced at a very reasonable £6. However, there is greater value to be found in the track’s package deals. The “Fab Five” offer grants entry, racecard, alcoholic refreshment, pie and peas, and two £1 tote win bets – all for only £10.
Stag and Hen do packages are priced at £22 per head, which isn’t bad value at all considering they include admission, racecard, pie and peas or “special”, a £5 tote betting voucher, a pitcher of beer/lager or sprit with mixer, and a race named in honour of the stag/hen.
Three On-Site Bars
Once inside the stadium, racegoers can take advantage of the three on-site bars. The Main Bar, located beside the dining area, benefits from excellent views of the finish line, whilst Ben’s Bar on the ground floor opens out onto the track, providing access to the bookmakers and trackside viewing.
Catering options consist of the Snack Bar which offers the choice of a sit-down meal or food to go for those wishing to take a snack into the stands. More formal dining is available in the Raceview Restaurant. Fully air-conditioned, the panoramic windows and extensive TV monitor coverage ensure diners don’t miss a second of the action. With full table service, there is no reason to even move from your seat whilst enjoying the selection of appetising starters, a traditional carvery and delicious desserts.
Those seeking a more personal experience may wish to take advantage of the track’s Executive Suites. Priced at £25 per head, the hire of the suite comes complete with a hot and cold buffet. A customisable experience, the best advice is to contact the track to discuss your individual preferences.
In common with most greyhound tracks, Doncaster operates a pretty relaxed dress code. Other than a ban on baseball caps in the restaurant area, racegoers are largely free to dress as they please, although most do opt for smart-casual attire. Accessible to all, Doncaster is a wheelchair-friendly venue, with a lift available if required.
How to Get There
The stadium address is Meadow Court Stadium, Station Road, Doncaster, DN7 5HS, with the track easily reached via the M1 and M62 from the south, and the A1 from the North. Motorists will then find a 500-capacity car park located just outside the stadium.
For those travelling via public transport, the 84, 84a, 87, 87a, 457 and 555 bus services all depart from Doncaster Town Centre and stop close to the track. Hatfield and Stainforth Train Station meanwhile is only around a nine-minute walk away.
How to Get in Touch
- Tel: – 01302 351639
- Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: – @donnydogs
What Else Do I Need to Know?
The history of the stadium begins back in 1929 when an area of marshland just off Station Road in Stainforth was repurposed as a speedway circuit. Whilst speedway has thrived at many greyhound tracks elsewhere in the UK, that wasn’t the case in Doncaster, with the Stainforth Speedway Company going into liquidation in 1930.
The next attempt at establishing the site as a sporting venue came with the 1933 purchase by the Stainforth Amateur Athletic Club. By the end of WWII, the athletics had come to a halt, but the intervening years saw a greyhound and whippet track added for the very first time, with the inaugural race taking place on Saturday 22nd March 1941.
A low-key “flapping” track – i.e. not officially licensed – for the duration of its first incarnation, the racing then ceased completely following the closure of the stadium in 1978. Fast forward to 1992 and the beginning of the most successful period in the history of the track. Backed by unusually named businessman, Chick Hicken, the new facilities were built at a cost of £1.5 million, with the site immediately being recognised by the National Greyhound Racing Club for the very first time.
Still referred to as Meadow Court and Stainforth Stadium due to its location, the three-tier main stand helps the track achieve a maximum capacity of 1,500, with sell-out crowds far from unusual at the season’s major events – headlined by the Yorkshire St Leger. Selected to stage the prestigious TV Trophy in 2008, and the Trainers’ Championship in 2010, the latest edition of this historic stadium has proven a welcome addition to the racing-centric Doncaster area.