Judicial sets new course record at Pontefract

Judicial (right) set a new track record by winnning Monday's five-furlong feature race in a time of one minute, 00.49seconds.
Judicial (right) set a new track record by winnning Monday's five-furlong feature race in a time of one minute, 00.49seconds.

The second meeting this season at Pontefract racecourse featured races over a full range of distances (writes Richard Hammill).

There were sprinters in action over the flying five furlongs and stamina laden horses competing in the Pontefract Marathon over two miles, five and half furlongs - the longest handicap race to be run on the flat in 2017.

A crowd of almost 3,000 braved the cold conditions and witnessed some fantastic finishes.

With records being broken for the small amounts of rainfall so far in April, the going at Pontefract has been unseasonably fast for the first two race meetings of the year.

And another record was broken on the track as Judicial dipped under the previous fastest time when taking the feature £20,000 RIU Hotels and Resorts Handicap over five furlongs.

No horse has ever completed the five furlong trip at Pontefract in under a minute but the Julie Camacho trained gelding went desperately close, completing his race in one minute, 00.49seconds.

Judicial has always had a touch of quality about him - including when winning his first three starts for Roger Charlton - and, on this evidence, he is well worth a step up in class.

With Bananarama trending across the country on social media over the weekend, the opening race of the day, ‘The Bananarama At 80s Night On 26th May Novice’ was an apt way to start proceedings.

The winner Gisele’s Angel was an expensive purchase for the Richard Guest yard but on the evidence of this racecourse debut, it looks money well spent.

Quickly away, the only filly in the field showed her male counterparts a clean pair of heels to win impressively. With some well regarded colts in opposition, the daughter of Dark Angel looks one to follow throughout the season.

The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the popular stayers competing in the Pontefract Marathon - the equine equivalent of the London Marathon run the previous day.

Two former stayers champions - Riptide and Tuscan Gold - were once again doing battle alongside another course regular Madam Lilibet.

Both Tuscan Gold and Madam Lilibet have won over three miles over hurdles and, as the stamina kicked in over the last half a mile, these two old adversaries went head to head up front.

Pulling 10 lengths clear of the gallant Riptide in third, it was Tuscan Gold who just claimed his third victory at the course and went in to the lead in the 2017 Stayers Championship.

In 2016, the six-furlong maiden had produced a dead heat. It was a clearer cut result this year as David O’Meara’s Black Isle Boy made his second trip to a racecourse a winning one.

Following a promising debut in a good race at Newcastle last season, the Elzaam gelding was much more street wise this time round and comfortably repelled a number of challengers from Southern yards.

The Rugby League Evening Handicap was split in to two divisions due to the large number of horses wanting to run.

The first leg went to the lightly race Alfred Richardson who showed the benefit of his seasonal debut at Newcastle when winning nicely under Philip Makin.

Division two of the handicap went to Mick Easterby’s Miss Sheridan who was following up a win at Redcar two weeks ago.

The victory was the second career win for jockey Harrison Shaw who rode his first ever winner at Ripon in a dead heat just four days before.

The Lynsey Bacon Memorial Handicap attracted a big field of 15 runners and it was Paul Hanagan’s mount Red Tea who was an impressive winner with her first win this season.

Thee Wall of Fame Handicap was run at a frenetic gallop which suited James Given’s Oriental Relation who quickened up well to put daylight between him and his pursuers.

The flying grey was drawn on the wide outside in stall 12 but under a superb Franny Norton ride, was produced to win going away close home.