Prize money tops £1m at Pontefract

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Pontefract’s 16-day race 2013 season, which begins on Tuesday, April 9, will offer total prize money of just over £1 million.

This an increase from last year of 34 per cent and is due in the main to an increased media rights contribution from Turf TV, a substantial part of which will be put to prize money.

It means that no race this year will be worth less than £5,000 and at least one race per meeting will carry prize money of at least £15,000. Nine racedays will feature one race of a minimum £20,000.

Four of the five listed races during the season will be worth £40,000 and the EBF Flying Fillies’ Stakes on Sunday, August 18, provides increased prize money of £50,000 as it continues to be the richest race of the campaign. Also, seven races have been upgraded from class five to class four status, further enhancing the racing programme.

There are no increases in admission prices or cost of annual membership.

The ‘loyalty card’ scheme will continue for a third year and will feature in the racecards during the first meetings of the season. The scheme enables patrons, who pay to enter the grandstand and paddock enclosure for six meetings and get the card stamped each time, free entry to another meeting of their choice later in the season.

Once again, there are several ‘themed’ racedays, starting with the 24th annual Northern Racing College Day (Wednesday, May 1) and followed by ‘Singles Night’ (Tuesday evening, May 21); the second ‘Pontefract’s Got Talent’ Night (Friday evening, June 7); ‘Red Shirt Night’ – incorporating a Beer Festival (Friday evening, July 19) and ‘Ladies Day’ (Wednesday, August 7). The trio of Sunday fixtures (June 23, July 28 and August 18) continues to have strong family themes.

Information packs for young racegoers and paddock commentaries will all be added to the usual family attractions on the three Sunday fixtures.

All of these days have pre-booked special offers and packages regarding discounts on combinations of entrance, food and drink.

Successful drainage work has been carried out at the back of the Park Lake. Plans for the future include the upgrading of the horse walk to the stables later this year. During the next winter close season, a major project includes a new betting hall to replace the Paddock Tote building.