This film is part of Free

The St Leger

Top hats and flat caps, a flat race with a close finish; jockey Elijah "Whippet" Wheatley, winning his solitary Classic, dismounts, and Night Hawk shows off her unsaddled beauty.

Non-Fiction 1913 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Doncaster racecourse September 1913, on the eve of the Great War, and with the tragic death of suffragette Emily Davison still hanging over horse racing, hosts the oldest of the five classic races. On one side, the wealthy in the proper dress code in the stands, on the other, the masses, in their own dress code, on the terraces. The St Leger gets off, and the winner crosses the finishing post and poses for the camera.

This film was made by filmmakers Debenhams & Co., established by Ernest Symmons in York before moving to Beverley. The St Leger was first raced on the old course on Cantley Common, Doncaster, where it has, more or less, remained. Apparently in 1913 it was won by E Wheatley riding Night Hawk, not what is seen on the scoreboard in the film, which must have been for another race. Not long before this race, on 4 June 1913, suffragette Emily Davison was fatally injured at the Epsom racecourse during the Derby, under the hooves of the king's horse. Detailed analysis of film footage of the incident, digitised, has revealed that she was attempting to attach a scarf to the horse’s bridle, and not wishing to be killed.