Following on from their hugely successful weekend in Chantilly, jockey William Buick and trainer Charlie Appleby both secured doubles on a glorious autumnal afternoon at Pontefract.
The card got under way with the 1m2f maiden for two-year-olds – the longest two-year-old race throughout the season at Pontefract.
The race has been won by a Godolphin owned runner for three of the last four years and their Hamada was sent off a heavily supported 1-2 favourite with defeat seemingly out of the question. And so it proved in the race, with the son of Cape Cross dominant and winning eased down, by six lengths under a motionless Buick.
He had come up against a smart son of Frankel, Atty Persse, in his last run but faced nothing of that class this time. Trainer Charlie Appleby reported that the colt would be put away for the winter now and looked after with a view to contesting some decent races next season.
The feature on the card, a class 3 handicap over one mile, has been won by some smart types in its time and the line-up this year was not lacking in quality. Godolphin again sent out the favourite in the shape of the Charlie Appleby trained Blair House. Held up in last place by Buick for much of the race, the colt made his move coming into the home straight and stayed on well to defeat Mark Johnston’s Rainbow Rebel, who had won each of his four previous starts this season. The Pivotal colt has only raced four times previously and may appear again this season with softer ground reportedly not an issue.
Danny Tudhope was another jockey to ride a double on the day. High Acclaim was the first to strike for trainer Roger Teal on his first visit to Pontefract. The two-year-old kicked a few lengths clear coming into the home straight but only just held on from the fast finishing Novoman for the Haggas team.
The rider’s second win came aboard the Alan Brown trained, Shouranour, who cruised through division one of the one mile handicap and had enough in reserve to repel the rallying Sands Chorus. The win made it two out of two at Pontefract for the gelding who had scored here back in June.
Division two of the one mile handicap was turned into a procession by Richard Guest’s Mr Cool Cash, who was in no danger whatsoever after Joe Fanning kicked him clear off the home turn.
He had been out of form since his win at Beverley earlier in the year but appreciated a drop in the weights and may be turned out quickly before the handicapper has a chance to react.
Leoncavallo was well backed to give the Appleby/Buick combination a treble but the horse, who finished fifth in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, could not hold off the renewed effort of James Givens’ La Fritillaire close home.
The winner had just been touched off at Ponte last time and now moves into second in the Stayers Championship table with just one round to go. With current leader Riptide back in third, the championship will go down to the wire at the last meeting on October 17.
Trainers Hugo Palmer and Charlie Fellowes both sent just one horse each to the track from their Newmarket bases on Monday in the shape of Harry Champion and Kullu and both horses duly obliged in their respective races. The former, stepping up to 1m 4f for the first time, stayed on dourly to just get the better of Kelvin Hall in the dying strides. Kullu had shaped well on her debut last month but faced a well backed Godolphin newcomer, along with promising sorts from William Haggas and Sir Michael Stoute but refused to let any of them past her, bravely repelling all challengers on the run to the line.
Wearing the same colours as Derby winner Golden Horn, the Oasis Dream filly showed a fantastic attitude and could follow up.
With just one more race meeting at Pontefract remaining in 2016, October 17 is the final chance to go racing at the West Yorkshire venue. There’s a fantastic listed race to look forward to and an excellent supporting card. There are still a few places remaining in the VIP totepool Suite – check the website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk for further details. Keep up to date with all the racecourse news on Facebook and Twitter.