It was a rainy Thursday that greeted racegoers to Pontefract as the track started the final stages of their 2017 season.
Feature race on the card was the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap. The £30,000 race is the richest handicap staged at the course and forms part of a series for fillies culminating in a day of valuable handicaps at Newmarket on October 1.
Marie of Lyon gave Richard Fahey his seventh winner at Pontefract this season as she followed up her victory at Brighton three days earlier with an impressive all the way victory on rain softened ground.
It’s taken the filly a little time to find her feet this season, but she is doing so in no uncertain terms now. She was not far off Group standard as a juvenile and it could be that she is now starting to fulfil that promise.
Another horse making a successful quick reappearance was Penny Pot Lane who took the final race for apprentices over six furlongs having won at Redcar two days earlier.
Trained by Richard Whitaker, the filly was given an excellent ride by Sebastian Woods to score comfortably by ¾ length. She’s reportedly bang on course to reappear at Ponte again on the 28th.
Marie of Lyon was registering a double for Richard Fahey – the trainer having taken the Matty Bown Handicap earlier in the day with the lightly raced Mushaireb.
Beaten by the highly promising Kryptos last time out, Mushaireb overcame some trouble in running to score cosily by 1¾ lengths. Winning jockey Jack Garrity lost his stirrup irons coming into the straight and it momentarily looked as though he would not recover. However, once back on an even keel, the Al Shaqab owned winner quickened up smartly and looks like he could now start to build on the promise he showed as a two-year-old.
Richard Fahey was not the only person registering a double on the day as jockey Ben Curtis took the two maiden races on the card – both for trainers whose horses continue in fantastic form.
The opening race for two-year-olds went the way of Jonboy for David Barron. He had made an eyecatching debut on his only other start at Hamilton and looks a promising sort judged by the way he quickened up to beat horses that had already posted decent form.
The second leg of Curtis’ double came aboard Sally Hall’s Misscarlett. Again, she was delivering on the huge amount of promise that she’d shown on her debut at Thirsk, travelling well and having no problem at all in settling matters in a few strides inside the final furlong. Despite hanging across the track, she still managed to score by 4½ lengths.
Some Pontefract favourites took to the stage for the long distance handicap – round six of the 2017 Pontefract Stayers Championship.
Former winner, and current leader of the Championship, Tuscan Gold lined up, along with Madam Lilibet and other Ponte regulars. While both ran with their usual credit, it was James Given’s La Fritillaire who took the honours. Running in her fourth stayers race at the track this season, she battled on bravely to just hold Michael Dods Transpennine Star by the shortest possible margin – a nose.
Easiest winner on the card was Alastair Whillans’ Royal Shaheen who made the long journey from Hawick worthwhile. Graham Lee had an armchair rider aboard the former German trained raider and could be called the winner a fair way from home. There were some notable disappointments in behind the winner, but nothing should detract from his admirable consistency and the ease of this win.
Pontefract’s next meeting is today and with some excellent racing, it promises to be another memorable day at the track. Tickets are still available and can be bought via the racecourse website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk