Numerous attractions at second Sunday meeting of season

AN exciting finish at a recent meeting at Pontefract. PICTURE: BRIAN LUNN.
AN exciting finish at a recent meeting at Pontefract. PICTURE: BRIAN LUNN.

THE second of Pontefract’s three Sunday meetings this summer takes place this weekend when the seven race programme starts at 2.05pm.

It’s the final day of the 2011 Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival, which showcases all that is best in racing in the county.

A special racecard competition is being held throughout the festival, and the draw will be made on Sunday, with the overall winner receiving a luxury stay at the five-star Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa in the centre of York.

The leading trainer and jockey of the Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival will receive the specially-commissioned Keepmoat Trophies. Doncaster-based company Keepmoat specialise in community regeneration schemes and they also support a contest for maiden three and four-year-olds over one mile during the afternoon.

As usual at Pontefract’s Sunday fixtures, there’s a wide range of attractions available for young racegoers to enjoy and the fun begins from when the gates open at 11.30am, including performances during the afternoon by the National Festival Circus.

The Coventry Corp of Drums provide the musical entertainment and there’s a funfair, face painting and free sweets while stocks last.

The Sky Bet Supporting The Yorkshire Racing Festival Pomfret Stakes is the principal race of the afternoon. It’s the fifth running of this listed race over one mile, which offers prize money of £30,000.

Last year’s race produced a stunning dead-heat between Rio De La Plata and Mabait. This race could be a possible target for last month’s Royal Hunt Cup winner at Royal Ascot, Julienas.

The tenth running of the Graham Rock Memorial Handicap Stakes is contested over one mile and a quarter. The late Graham Rock was a much-respected racing journalist, who was the first editor of the Racing Post. He was latterly the racing correspondent for The Observer and a member of BBC Television’s racing team.

He was also a successful racehorse owner; his colours were carried to memorable victories by Pasternak in both the John Smith’s Cup at York and the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in 1997 – trained and ridden respectively by Sir Mark Prescott and George Duffield. Graham Rock’s roots were always in Yorkshire and he visited Pontefract many times as a youngster and later in life when working for Timeform and the now-defunct Sporting Chronicle.

The opening race is the Welcome To Yorkshire This Is Y Maiden Stakes for two-year-olds, while other races featured are the Handicap Stakes (a race for sprinters over six furlongs, supported by Bond International), the John Ransome Accountancy Services Handicap Stakes (one mile and a half) and the Moor Top Farm Shop Hemsworth Handicap Stakes for sprinters over five furlongs.

A couple of large screens will assist racegoers in following all of the action.

Yorkshire Radio will be broadcasting ‘live’ from the course, as part of their commitment to the Yorkshire Racing Festival and there’s a preview of the afternoon’s racing in the winners’ enclosure.