Ryan Moore, the leading rider at Royal Ascot, was in action at Pontefract on Sunday (writes Graham Orange).
Having recorded a trio of winners the day before at the Berkshire track - and six altogether at the Royal Meeting - he had to wait until the concluding race to put himself on the scoreboard, courtesy of Foxy Clarets, the 11-4 winner of the handicap race for three-year-old sprinters over six furlongs.
Trained at Malton by Richard Fahey, Foxy Clarets had finished runner-up on his previous outing at Ayr and he dominated Sunday’s race to win by five lengths.
It meant that Fahey (who had sent out Baccarat to win the ultra-competitive Wokingham Heritage Handicap for sprinters the previous day at Royal Ascot) recorded a first and last race double, as the 33-1 chance Bimbo landed the opening race in the hands of apprentice jockey, George Chaloner (the rider of Baccarat).
Bimbo was making her racecourse debut in this race for maiden two-year-old fillies over six furlongs and she won by three-quarters of a length for her owner/breeder, Lady Halifax, who chairs the board of directors at Pontefract. So it was very much a ‘home’ win.
Another trainer and jockey combination to prosper at Royal Ascot - Newmarket-based trainer John Gosden and rider William Buick - also made their mark at Pontefract when teaming up to land the afternoon’s feature race, the totepool Pontefract Castle Stakes, a £40,000 listed race over one mile and a half with Freedom’s Light (7-4).
Second in a group three race at Haydock Park at the end of last month, Freedom’s Light looked a progressive filly in winning this prestigious race by half a length from the 11-8 favourite Waila.
There was a very good finish to the afternoon’s longest race, the totepool.com Pontefract Cup, a handicap contest over two and a quarter miles.
Teak was the 10-1 winner of this race – trained in Worcestershire by Ian Williams and ridden by Stevie Donohoe. Teak was the bottom-weight in this race and took up the lead inside the final furlong to win by a length and a half.
Middleham (North Yorkshire) trainer, Mark Johnston recorded a pair of winners at Royal Ascot - Muteela and Hartnell - and he, too, made his presence felt at Pontefract, when Bureau (4-1) took the middle-distance handicap race for fillies and mares by a length and a quarter.
Epic Battle (20-1) lived up to his name when winning the handicap contest over one mile and a quarter in a driving finish.
Trained at Newmarket by George Margarson and ridden by Kieren Fallon, Epic Battle prevailed by a neck from Legal Waves, with Cactus Valley a short-head back in third.
Another Newmarket trainer, Yorkshireman William Haggas, took the race for maiden three-year-olds over one mile and a half with Westerly (16-1), the mount of Liam Jones. Westerly was driven out to win by a length and a half on only her second racecourse appearance.