Despite poor weather in the morning the Picnic Enclosure became a sea of colour as the second of three family days took place at Pontefract Racecourse for the finale of The Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival.
After shocking weather on Sunday morning it brightened up to be a pleasant afternoon and bouncy castles, helter skelters and kids rides took over the lawn. They were interspersed with an array of gazebos and blankets as families set out their picnics and settled down to enjoy a lovely afternoon.
And while the children were kept busy on the fairground rides with either free sweets and activity books, or free pony rides, mums and dads were able to enjoy the high class racing on Family Day.
The course also held their first Fake Festival with some of the best tribute acts on the UK circuit paying tribute to Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Whitney Houston and a covers band The Maxibrites. Many families stayed after the last race to watch the late afternoon’s entertainment. There was some great feedback and it looks like the Fake Festival may be back again in 2019.
Feature race on the day was the £50,000 Listed Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes run over the one mile trip. Big Country, trained by Mick Appleby and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, took the contest in grand style. Connections indicated that the horse would be stepped up in grade.
The horse has been a fantastic servant to connections. Runner up in last year’s John Smiths Cup and winner of the Zetland Gold Cup this year, he’s gone from strength to strength and was a popular winner.
The son of High Chaparral was also one of two winners on the day for owners The Horse Watchers as their Future Score took the Pontefract and District Golf Club Novice Stakes over the same 1m trip.
De Sousa and Appleby then went on to take the 1m2f handicap with Michele Strogoff for regular course sponsors, Napoleons Casino Bradford, before landing the lucky last with Classic Pursuit to make it a four- timer for both trainer and jockey. The 654/1 four timer for De Sousa was not a popular result for the bookmakers with estimated losses of over £2.5m.
One of the Ponte punters favourite horses, Mr Orange, returned to the West Yorkshire course in great form to take the tiesplanet.com Handicap Stakes under Pontefract’s 2017 champion jockey Danny Tudhope. Running just 48 hours after finishing down the field at York, the gelding clocked up his seventh victory.
Owned by the same team responsible for course specialist Mr Wolf, and named after popular Yorkshire racing figure Graham Orange, Mr Orange is always well supported when he comes to Ponte.
The biggest winning margin of the day was by Flawless Jewel in taking the opening British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes by an impressive 16 lengths. Entered in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York, she is definitely one to keep an eye on.
It’s been a couple of years since Multellie was in the Winners Enclosure, but he finally got his head back in front as he took the 1m4f ITV7 Handicap Stakes under David Allan for trainer Tim Easterby.
Making all of the running, the gelding took the contest by seven lengths and could follow up when he has an entry at Musselburgh this Friday.