FORMER England footballer Michael Owen was at Pontefract on Sunday to see Brown Panther - the horse he bred and jointly owns - win the afternoon’s feature race, the totepool Pontefract Castle Stakes (writes Graham Orange).
Trained in Cheshire by Tom Dascombe and ridden by the six-times champion jockey Kieren Fallon, Brown Panther (85-40) defeated his three rivals in a listed race over one mile and a half by an impressive seven lengths, being eased near the winning post by his rider.
It was Brown Panther’s first win of the year, after his successful season last term, when he landed the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot and was runner-up in the final classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St. Leger at Doncaster in September.
Fallon completed a notable double when guiding Orsippus (2-1 favourite) to victory in the afternoon’s race for stayers, the totepool.com Pontefract Cup. A former grade one winner over hurdles and successful last year at York, Orsippus gained some compensation after finishing second at Ripon earlier in the month, going down by a nose, so this was a deserved win for the six-year-old, trained at Kirkheaton near Newcastle by Michael Smith.
Orsippus was driven clear one furlong from home to go away and win by four and a half lengths from French Hollow.
Middleham trainer Andy Crook gained his first turf flat winner for some three years when Dansili Dutch (20-1) - making her debut for the trainer - took the toteexacta Fillies’ Handicap Stakes over one mile by a decisive six lengths in the hands of Franny Norton.
Dansili Dutch relished the testing conditions, forging clear inside the last furlong to win well.
Danny Tudhope, the leading jockey so far this season on the Yorkshire courses, partnered recent York winner Edmaaj to victory in the totequadpot Handicap Stakes over a mile and a quarter.
Trained at Nawton near Helmsley by David O’Meara, Edmaaj took the lead a couple of furlongs from home to stay on well and win by a length and three-quarters from New Hampshire.
Fantacise (9-4 favourite), owned and bred at their Bearstone Stud by Terry and Margaret Holdcroft, was the afternoon’s first winner, taking the race for maiden two-year-olds by a couple of lengths. The chestnut filly is trained at Manton in Wiltshire by Brian Meehan.
William Buick, fresh from riding five winners at Royal Ascot, made the journey north pay off when partnering Swnymor (6-4) to victory in the contest for maiden three-year-olds over one mile and a half for Newmarket trainer William Haggas.
Swnymor had made a promising debut at Pontefract in early May and the gelding was always prominent in the race, winning by a length and three-quarters from the evens favourite, Mashaari.
Byronic Hero (10-1), the winner of a race for maiden juveniles last October at Pontefract, returned to take the final race on Sunday, a handicap contest for three-year-old sprinters.
Trained at Middleham by Jedd O’Keeffe and ridden by Tony Hamilton, Byronic Hero started slowly, but made steady progress to lead over two furlongs out and win by four and a half lengths.