Pontefract stage first race meeting of season today

An exciting finish at Pontefract last season. Picture: Al;an Wright.
An exciting finish at Pontefract last season. Picture: Al;an Wright.

Pontefract’s opening meeting of 2015 takes place today (Tuesday) with a seven-race programme starting at 2pm.

It is the first of 16 meetings at the course this year.

The afternoon’s most valuable race is the Easter Family Funday Handicap Stakes over one mile and a quarter, a £20,000 contest which should attract several quality middle-distance horses.

The Breeders Backing Racing High-Rise EBF Maiden Stakes - a race for three-year-olds over one mile and a quarter supported by The European Breeders’ Fund - is named after the 1998 Derby winner, High-Rise, who was successful at this equivalent meeting that year prior to winning at Epsom.

The 12th Pontefract Stayers’ Championship is launched with the Jamaican Flight Handicap Stakes, a contest over two and a quarter miles.

Named after one of the most consistent stayers seen at Pontefract in recent years, Jamaican Flight, this race is the start of a competition which incorporates all eight races for stayers during Pontefract’s season.

Hell Hath No Fury, trained near Newark by Mick Appleby, took the honours last year.

There are bonuses totalling £4,500 on offer throughout the series for the connections of the horse accumulating the most number of points when the championship concludes at the final meeting in October.

For the fifth year, a ‘loyalty card’, will be printed in the racecards during the first meetings of the season in April, May and June.

This scheme gives racegoers who pay to enter the grandstand and paddock enclosure six times - and get the card stamped each time - free entry to another meeting of their choice later in the season.

Also, Pontefract’s ‘Postcode Lottery’ scheme covers the Yorkshire region and those attending Tuesday’s meeting who have a HG Postcode (Harrogate and district) can take part in the promotion by pre-booking for forthcoming designated meetings costing only £2 into the grandstand and paddock Enclosure. For further details on how to book see the racecourse website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk

There’s very much a family theme to the proceedings, with a selection of children’s rides, along with an Easter eggs quiz, a ‘golden horseshoe’ competition and a chance to win a £250 Easter hamper courtesy of Heart FM.

There’s even a Grand National competition in the racecard, whereby racegoers who correctly predict the winner of the Aintree spectacular will win tickets to a future Pontefract meeting.

Special family tickets are also available to book in advance.