After a miserable morning the weather gods produced a bright but breezy afternoon for the 29th annual Northern Racing College Charity Day at Pontefract Racecourse.
Unlike the quick ground from this meeting last year, the going was soft, but did not fail to deliver some impressive performances.
The entire race meeting is unique in the fact that the body of the card sees races sponsored by William Hill, Sky Bet, Coral, and Ladbrokes. All these bookmakers traditionally set aside their commercial rivalry on this day in order to encourage the grassroots and future of the sport.
The Northern Racing College, based just outside Doncaster, was set up in 1984 and provides a range of courses at all levels for people who are looking at the horse racing industry as a career. It also offers those currently in the business the chance to develop their qualifications and skills.
The day got off to a flyer with the first leg of a treble for trainer Kevin Ryan. Celebrity Dancer, a £23,000 yearling, delivered the goods at the first time of asking for Hambleton Racing.
Tracking the leaders throughout, the son of Excelebration took the lead over 1f out and kept on well all the way to the line, winning by two lengths from the experienced Mick Channon trained Azor Ahai.
Although the colt acted on the soft conditions, he looks the sort that will improve again for better ground and it was an eye catching performance.
The second leg of the Ryan treble went to Kings Full a $500,000 USD yearling purchase from America.
The gelded son of Galileo set a steady pace and quickened up nicely over the last 2f to take the contest by half-a-length over the Mark Johnston trained Making Miracles.
Owned by Aquis Farm, who have a stunning boarding and breeding facility in New South Wales Australia, the gelding has great prospects with Ryan having his sights set on bigger and better things with him.
Completing the final leg of Ryan’s treble was Savannah Moon. Ridden by Andrew Mullen, the filly was held up at the rear of the field, steadily passing her rivals until asked to challenge 1f out, and eventually going on to win by one-and-a-half lengths.
Savannah Moon also gave her owners, Hambleton Racing, a double on the afternoon.
Hambleton Racing is one of the north’s most popular racing syndicates who offer enjoyment and satisfaction along with top quality racehorse ownership.
Another double on the day went to trainer Ruth Carr, who trained Mutarakez and Foxtrot Knight to victory.
It was Mutarakez’s first run on the track and the gelding stayed on strongly up the famous Ponte Hill to take an unlikely win, catching Lamloom, who was clear a furlong out, in the shadows of the post.
Formerly owned by Hamdan al Maktoum and trained by Brian Meehan, Ruth Carr praised the ride given by Jimmy Sullivan who put the gelding’s head in front on the line.
Foxtrot Knight took the apprentice race in style, winning by four-and-a-half lengths after a strong ride from apprentice Sebastian Woods who was always close up.
The course’s new It’s Champion promotion gives racegoers 30 minutes to claim a special offer if Richard Fahey trains, or Danny Tudhope rides, a winner.
The course’s Champion Trainer Richard Fahey unlocked the promotion for the first time when The Right Choice won for The Fairweather Foursome. Racegoers hoarded into the raceday office and were handed a voucher entitling them to 50p off drinks on course.
The next meeting is the first evening fixture of the season – the hugely popular Eighties Night with Belinda Carlisle performing and takes place on Friday, May 25.
Tickets are going fast and racegoers are encouraged to book early. Full details are available at the racecourse website www.pontefract-races.co.uk