Doncaster Racecourse all set to launch this season’s £2m Racing League

The £2m Racing League is returning for a second season - with this year’s competition being launched at Doncaster on Thursday.

Captain's role: Former jockey turned television presenter Leonna Mayor is the captain of Racing League's Team Yorkshire. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Captain's role: Former jockey turned television presenter Leonna Mayor is the captain of Racing League's Team Yorkshire. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Seven regional teams, including Yorkshire, will compete over six weekly fixtures on Thursday evenings with the action being televised by Sky and ITV Racing.

Former jockey and current Sky and ITV presenter Leonna Mayor is the captain of the Yorkshire side.

As team manager Mayor will be looking to use her years of experience in and out of the saddle to get the White Rose home in front.

On the team: Jockey Joanna Mason is one of seven riders representing Team Yorkshire. (Photo by Tim Goode-Pool/Getty Images)

The competition held a ‘jockey draft’ for the first time this year and Mayor selected Cam Hardie, David Allan, Paul Mulrennan, Oisin McSweeney, Joanna Mason, Dougie Costello and William Carver to represent the White Rose.

In addition, sixteen county-based trainers, Bryan Smart, David and Nicola Barron, Edward Bethell, Grant Tuer, James Tate, Jessica Macey, Julie Camacho, Karl Burke, Paul Midgley, Phillip Makin, Roger Fell, Ruth Carr, Ruth Jefferson, Tim Easterby and Tjade Collier have signed up to represent Team Yorkshire.

In its inaugural guise, Racing League saw 14 teams running under the banner of various team sponsors, with Team TalkSPORT overcoming a 41-point deficit heading into the final night of action at Newcastle to lift the trophy.

But that has now been slimlined to seven regional teams – Yorkshire, Scotland, Ireland, The North, London, The South, Wales and The West - who will battle it out for both glory and the £50,000 winner-takes-all first-prize.

Selected: Jockey Paul Mulrennan is due to ride for Yorkshire. (Photo by Tim Goode-Pool/Getty Images)

The format for 2022 will see seven races per night across the six weeks of action, with a maximum field of 14, two runners each from the seven regional teams. Over 125 trainers have been assigned to the seven squads, who also have seven jockeys to pick from and a team manager, whose responsibility it will be to peruse through the entries and make any team selections.

A further improvement for version two of the Racing League is an increased prize pot from £1.8 to £2m.

“We’ve got quite a few changes and I’m looking forward to seeing how those pan out.” said Racing League CEO Jeremy Wray.

“They came largely from feedback from last year’s event. We always said that last year was all about putting a starting flag in the ground and then we were open to how we take it forward.

“We were as open as possible and one thing that came through from a lot of courses was, if you had a regional element, people can engage with it more and get to know their team.”

There will be over £300,000 on offer at each of the seven meetings and with Racing League contests open to horses rated no higher than 90, Wray is hoping the significant bounty on offer can lure owners who are often running for minimal amounts away from the typical feature race days.

Wray said: “Prize-money has got to be the hook for so many owners for whom racing is an expensive sport, they love it and if the Racing League is an opportunity for them to extend the runway of their involvement a little bit, then that’s fantastic.”

The Platinum Queen’s superb Goodwood victory has left connections pondering a supplementary entry for the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

The Richard Fahey-trained filly was an impressive winner of the Alice Keppel Fillies’ Conditions Stakes on Wednesday, defeating a field of 10 by four lengths as the 5-6 favourite.

The Malton-trained horse stopped the clock at 56.5 seconds - anew course record for two-year-olds.

Tom Palin for owners Middleham Park said: “She will definitely go to York, the Roses is on the Saturday, the Listed five-furlong race.

“I imagine she’d be even-money or maybe a bit shorter than that if she went there.

“There’s a possibility of us taking our chance, we’ve had a little look into the numbers and it isn’t the stupidest idea in the world.”