Mullen flies in to end season in style at Pontefract

Ocean Sheridan gets up to win at Pontefract's final race meeting of 2014. Picture: ALAN WRIGHT
Ocean Sheridan gets up to win at Pontefract's final race meeting of 2014. Picture: ALAN WRIGHT
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Less than 24 hours after riding Caspar Netscher to victory at Woodbine racecourse, in Canada, Andrew Mullen made it back to the UK in time to be at Pontefract’s final meeting of the season on Monday and partner Ocean Sheridan (4/1) to success in the race for maiden two-year-old sprinters.

Trained at Denton, County Durham, by Michael Dods, Ocean Sheridan had been running well in defeat and the juvenile just got up to win by a head in a six furlong contest.

Mullen will now be out of the saddle until January, as he has surgery to his hip this week. He certainly finished his season in style and his victory in Canada was his first-ever ride in North America.

Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop celebrated his 46th birthday by landing the afternoon’s feature race, The Silver Tankard Stakes – a £40,000 Listed race for two-year-olds over one mile, supported by both totepool and the European Breeders’ Fund – courtesy of Prince Gagarin (4/1 co-favourite), the mount of Adam Kirby.

The winning distance was two and a quarter lengths and Prince Gagarin seemed to relish the rain-softened conditions. He looks a useful prospect for next year.

The north’s leading rider, Graham Lee, recorded his 120th winner of the season when guiding Dark Wave (4/1 favourite) to an impressive six lengths victory in the Nursery Handicap for two-year-olds over one mile. Trained at Newmarket by Ed Walker, Dark Wave was completing a hat-trick of wins.

Madam Lilibet (7/1) took The totetrifecta Bluff Cove Handicap Stakes for the second successive year, winning this contest for stayers over two-and-a-quarter miles by 10 lengths in the hands of apprentice jockey Joey Haynes.

This was the final round of the Pontefract Stayers Championship and the prizes went to the connections of Hell Hath No Fury, who finished third in Monday’s race, securing enough points to take the title.

Popular sprinter Doc Hay stayed on well to take the Handicap contest for sprinters over five furlongs, finishing to good effect to defeat Perfect Muse by half-a-length. Trained near Helmsley by David O’Meara and ridden by David Nolan, Doc Hay was winning for the tenth time.

Instant Karma (8/1) took the race for maidens over one mile-and-a-half on only his second outing, the winning margin being two-and-a-quarter lengths, for Newmarket trainer Michael Bell and rider William Twiston-Davies.

Alan Swinbank, who trains at Melsonby in North Yorkshire, recorded his 700th winner, when Dark Ruler (3/1 favourite) was driven out by David Allan to take the first division of the one mile-and-a-quarter Handicap race by half a length. The second division of this middle-distance contest was won by Ty Gwr (5/2 favourite) – representing Malton trainer Brian Ellison and jockey Dale Swift. It was a close call, as Ty Gwr won by a neck from L’Inganno Felice.

Once again, Malton-based trainer Richard Fahey was the leading trainer of the season at Pontefract, with 11 winners during the campaign, while Silvestre de Sousa took the seasonal riding honours with seven winners during 2014.

Pontefract’s 16-day 2015 season begins on Easter Tuesday, April 7 and annual badges for next year are on sale - £190 (single) and £255 (joint) – if booked before Christmas. Call (01977) 781307 for more details.