Pontefract course gears up for opening meeting of 2019

Horse racing action from Pontefract last year. The new season begins next week.
Horse racing action from Pontefract last year. The new season begins next week.

With spring here and summer just around the corner, the flat season roars back into action at Pontefract with a quality race meeting next Tuesday.

With £78,000 worth of prize money on offer the card often throws up some impressive early season types.

And with the first two meetings falling in the Easter holidays for some, in time honoured tradition, there will be plenty of free sweets or Easter treats available for kids.

The racecourse have extended and refurbished the Owners & Trainers facilities at the course with the aim of attracting more owners to Pontefract and improving the calibre of the racing.

The ROA (Racehorse Owners Association) are sponsoring the entire card to promote the industry and the improvements that have been made over the winter.

Highlight of the racing programme is the £25,000 Sponsorship for ROA Members Handicap over 1m 2f.

While the race meeting was lost to waterlogging last year, a classy field assembled for the 2017 renewal. The winner was the subsequent Royal Ascot victor, Snoano, who took the honours for Malton trainer Tim Easterby.

The £15,000 1m4f EBF Maiden on this day has a rich roll of honour. Luca Cumani’s ‘High–Rise’ won this race on his way to victory in the Epsom Derby and lends his name to this race. Above Normal won the 2017 contest for Saeed Bin Suroor and Godolphin. He’s been winning in Dubai over the winter – will 2019 unleash a potential superstar?

Of all the races run over the years at Pontefract, the stayers races evoke the strongest memories among the race going public. With course favourites like Dan Buoy, Jamaican Flight and Bluff Cove all laden with stamina, the stayers championship has proved a popular addition to the racing programme in recent seasons.

Becky The Thatcher was the champion last year meaning that her trainer, Micky Hammond, has won the championship for three of the last four years. He has got a few lined up for the championship again in 2019 and they should be monitored closely!

The award winning ‘Wall of Fame’ promotion is back at the course for 2019. Racegoers who visited in 2018 may already have spotted their face on the website dedicated to the promotion (www.pontefract-races.co.uk/walloffame) but the life size artwork will be unveiled in the Paddock Bar at the opening race meeting of the year.

Anyone spotting themselves will be able to claim a prize from the office on any raceday during the season. With 462 faces on show, there are plenty of great prizes to be won. The ‘Ponte Faithful’ promotion is also back again offering vouchers and discounts for those who booked for race meetings in 2018 and 2019.

Those with a Harrogate postcode can pick up a free ticket for this meeting if they register for the Racecourse Postcode Lottery scheme before the day. All postcodes throughout Yorkshire can get tickets to specific meetings. Full details at www.pontefract-races.co.uk