A sunny, warm day greeted racegoers for the inaugural Art of Racing meeting at Pontefract on Tuesday (writes Richard Hammill).
With trips to see the start of races, a beginners commentary booth for would be commentators and a mechanical horse for would be jockeys, there was plenty going on at the track.
The course had also chosen guest judges for the best turned out horse awards and engaged seven guest tipsters for those who love their racing.
Racegoers who followed the guest tipsters were in for a treat too as they provided four winners on the day as well as a good second.
The feature on the track was the listed Weatherbys GSB Pipalong Stakes.
The one mile race gives fillies and mares the final chance to get valuable ‘black type’ before some go off to stud.
In 2003, James Fanshawe sent out the admirable Macadamia to win the race before going on to win the Royal Hunt Cup and the group two Falmouth Stakes prizes.
On Tuesday afternoon, Macadamia’s daughter Spirit Raiser was sent off favourite to emulate her mother and made no mistake, taking the prize by a comfortable half length from Richard Hannon’s Black Cherry who had been beaten just over four lengths in a group two at Royal Ascot.
Having seen his mare take the honours, James Fanshawe reported that he would now look to step his charge up to group level.
William Haggas saddled two runners on the Pontefract card and missed his first winner On Her Toes due to traffic problems.
He’ll have been thrilled to see the replay though as his two year old filly battled hard to win, going away, by three quarters of a length from Richard Hannon’s Prerogative.
He made it to the track in time to see Trainnah bring up the double though.
Having been placed in two strong maidens, the three year old Pivotal filly made it third time lucky, staying on strongly to collar old rival Brief Visit close home.
On Her Toes and Trainnah were both were ridden by the inimitable Frankie Dettori, making a rare visit to Pontefract.
The King Richard III Stakes is always a competitive handicap and just half a length separated the first three horses home in this year’s renewal.
Johnny Cavagin won his third race over course and distance when just getting the better of Chaplin Bay and the previously unbeaten Zebedaios.
The winner - now a seven year old - loves Pontefract and relished the return to a stiff six furlongs.
Keep an eye on the Brian Ellison trainer Zebedaios though. On just his third start, he looked a real horse to follow, staying on strongly close home.
The CareHomeClaims is Back Handicap saw Wilde Extravagance break his duck after a string of creditable placed efforts.
The three year old stayed on strongly to assert close home and clearly has stamina in abundance at this sprint trip.
Winning jockey Joe Doyle, claiming 3lbs, continues to impress with his finesse in the saddle.
Rarely a race meeting goes by at Pontefract without a Richard Fahey winner and his Theos Lolly continued the trend.
The Kodiac colt had some fair form as a two year old but had taken time to find his feet in 2016.
In a competitive three year old handicap, he sprinted clear to put clear daylight between himself and his rivals and he may be able to follow up if turned out again soon.
The final race on the card went the way of Karl Burke’s Azzir who stormed up the home straight with Clifford Lee under top weight in the Apprentice Handicap.
Azzir had been running at a slightly higher level and made no mistake this time, the victory continuing the successful trend of top weights in one mile, two furlong handicaps at the track.
With a number of favourites winning on the day, punters had a great time.
And they’ll be back in force for Pontefract’se final evening race meeting of the season - Red Shirt Night on Friday, July 15.