St Leger: Fancy frocks come out for Ladies’ Day at Doncaster Racecourse

Natalie Walker (left), of Wheatley Hills, and Tamara Green, of Wheatley, pictured on day two of Doncaster's St Leger Festival - ladies' day.
Natalie Walker (left), of Wheatley Hills, and Tamara Green, of Wheatley, pictured on day two of Doncaster's St Leger Festival - ladies' day.
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GLAMOROUS race-goers donned their finest frocks for the annual Ladies’ Day event at Doncaster Racecourse.

The sun eventually made an appearance for the last day of the flat season – much to the relief of Yorkshire women who wanted to show off their expensive dresses in the best possible light.

Many started with drinks and a spot of lunch in the town centre before heading up to Bennetthorpe to enjoy an afternoon of racing.

Times may be hard for some people in Doncaster as the recession grinds on but there was little sign of the credit crunch at Town Moor and visitors were determined to make the most of the end of summer.

And, as tradition has it ‘autumn arrives on the tail of the last horse in the St Leger’.

Friends Sally Macauley and Fiona Gabbitus go to Ladies’ Day every year and enjoy themsleves without spending a fortune on their outfits.

Sally, aged 45, a civil servant from Edlington, reckoned she spent £65 on her dress and £30 on her hat plus her £45 ticket.

“It’s our special day of the year which we save up for,” said Fiona, 38, from Warmsworth, who runs a market stall.

“It’s nice to leave the men at work and have a good time.”

Sally added: “I suppose it varies what we spend on Ladies’ Day but we don’t go mad and would never spend more than £200 – you don’t need to spend a fortune to look smart.

“We only spend a fiver on bets on each race.

“We’ve just had lunch in town and we will be going round town for a drink after the races finish.”

Doncaster Royal Infirmary colleagues and friends Jackie Smith and Callum Nile have been Ladies’ Day regulars for the past six years.

“I don’t think we spend a lot, a maximum of £100 on a dress,” said 60-year-old Jackie, who lives on the Isle of Axholme.

Callum, 58, from Armthorpe, added: “We love going because it’s fun, everyone is having a good day, you meet up with other friends and people you know and it’s nice to admire other people’s outfits. We like a little bet, never more than £2 a race, and if we win we’ll have a treat tonight.”

Sarah Adams, 30, from Lakeside, was enjoying her first visit to the racecourse.

“I’ve only just moved to Lakeside and thought I would see what it’s like to have a day at the races and this has to be the best day.

“I’ve already been impressed by lots of the others ladies’ outfits and I’m glad I took some trouble with mine.”

She reckoned her ensemble cost around £200 but said some others race-goers had spent nearer £1,000 on their frocks.

“Perhaps they’ve already had some good tips and won a few bob on the horses,” she added.

Both The Regent and Salutation had fixed up outdoor bars on South Parade and many other town centre venues were hoping they’d do a roaring trade on one of the busiest days of the year before Christmas.