It stands to reason that the oldest regulated horse race in the world should have originated in one of the oldest established centres for horse racing in the world. Doncaster Racecourse is not the oldest racecourse in the world – that distinction belongs to Chester Racecourse, established in 1539 – but a racecourse is shown in the vicinity of Doncaster, on Wheatley Moor, on a map dating from 1595.
The oldest regulated horse race is in the world, in fact, the Doncaster Cup, which was established, as the Doncaster Gold Cup, in 1766, a decade before the oldest British Classic, the St. Leger Stakes, also run at Doncaster Racecourse. Nowadays, the Doncaster Cup is a Group Two contest run over two miles and two furlongs and, along with the Gold Cup at Ascot and the Goodwood Cup, constitutes part of the so-called Stayers’ Triple Crown. However, the Doncaster Gold Cup was originally run over four miles, on Cantley Common, before being transferred to its current home, on Town Moor, ten years later.