Double joy for Midgley at Pontefract meeting

Milley's Secret, ridden by P J McDonald won Friday evening's opening race on only her second racecourse appearance. Second was Khalic ridden by Tony Hamilton. PICTURE: BRIAN LUNN.
Milley's Secret, ridden by P J McDonald won Friday evening's opening race on only her second racecourse appearance. Second was Khalic ridden by Tony Hamilton. PICTURE: BRIAN LUNN.
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Paul Midgley, who trains at Westow, near Malton, recorded a significant winning double at Pontefract on Friday evening – the annual ‘Pontefract’s Got Talent Night’ meeting (writes Graham Orange).

Line Of Reason and the veteran Haajes were the horses to grab the headlines for Midgley.

Line Of Reason - given a power-packed ride by six-times champion jockey, Keiren Fallon – was the 9-1 winner of the evening’s feature race, the Mr Wolf Sprint Handicap Stakes for three-year-olds over six furlongs.

The winning margin was half a length as Line Of Reason swept past Pipers Note inside the final furlong.

The colt was an apt winner, as the now-retired Mr Wolf (successful in eight races at Pontefract) was trained in the latter part of his career by Midgley.

Nine-year-old Haajes showed he had lost none of his ability or enthusiasm when landing the Logic Lettings Pontefract Handicap Stakes for sprinters over five furlongs.

Ridden by Micky Fenton, Haajes (7-1) also prevailed by half a length in a tight finish.

Last month, Haajes had won a lowly selling race at Redcar, but this performance demonstrated he is no back number.

Royal Skies (3-1) was the very impressive winner of the Constant Security Serving Yorkshire Racecourses Handicap Stakes, a contest for three-year-olds over one mile and a quarter.

Trained at Middleham in North Yorkshire by Mark Johnston and ridden by Franny Norton, Royal Skies - runner-up the previous Saturday at Musselburgh - finished nine lengths clear of the 3-1 favourite Duke Of Perth.

The drying ground was certainly a factor in helping Who’s Shirl (10-1) to take the handicap contest for sprinters over six furlongs.

Trained at Middleham by Chris Fairhurst and ridden by Paul Mulrennan, Who’s Shirl (owned and bred by Shirley France) had won previously over course and distance back in October, 2010, and the mare stayed on well to win by a length and a half.

Riptide (12-1) went to the head of the Pontefract Stayers’ Championship for this season when he took the third leg of this series for stayers, when landing the Tony Bethell Memorial Handicap Stakes over two miles, one furlong to provide jockey Paul Mulrennan with the first of his two winners of the evening.

Trained in Herefordshire by Michael Scudamore, Riptide took up the lead well over a furlong from home to land the spoils by four lengths.

The evening’s opening race, a contest for maiden two-year-old fillies, went to Milly’s Secret (6-1) on only her second racecourse appearance.

Trained at Constable Burton in North Yorkshire by Ann Duffield and partnered by P J McDonald, Milly’s Secret overcame a wide draw to win this contest over six furlongs by two and a half lengths.

Pontefract’s next meeting is the first of the course’s trio of Sunday meetings this season on June 23, when racing begins at 2.10pm.

It’s the annual totepool Family Day fixture, featuring the Pontefract Castle Stakes (a £40,000 Listed race) and the Pontefract Cup – a handicap contest for stayers over two and a quarter miles.