It was a wet day at Pontefract Racecourse for the first of four All About the Racing midweek fixtures.
A total of 20mm of rain fell over the West Yorkshire track while racing was on, changing the going from good, good to firm in places to soft by the third race. Nevertheless it was an afternoon of brilliant racing and even supplied jockey Kieran O’Neill with a birthday winner!
The feature race of the day was the £30,000 EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap. The race forms part of the EBF Fillies’ Series which sees a number of valuable races for fillies across the whole season. The series culminates in finals day at Newmarket on Saturday, October 6.
The Pontefract race was won by Maid In India who made all of the running for jockey Rachel Richardson. She narrowly got beat at Hamilton last month, but loved the conditions at Ponte to get her head in front, scoring impressively by 2½ lengths. Given similar conditions at Newmarket, she could be a force to be reckoned with.
Primarily based down in the South of England, Keiran O’Neill made one of his rare visits up north when steering So Near So Farhh home to victory in leg six of the Pontefract Stayers Championship.
Trained by Mick Channon, the filly made it two on the bounce after winning at Carlisle eight days earlier. With bottom weight of eight stone on her back, the daughter of Farhh led well over a furlong out and increased her lead with every stride to take the contest by 3¼ lengths for the birthday boy O’Neill.
A small field went to post for the EBF Maiden Stakes, but it did not lack interest. Baritone, who took the contest for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, looks to be a useful middle distance horse in the making and did not disappoint favourite backers when scoring by eight lengths.
Owned by Michael Tabor, the gelding has an entry for the 1m4f Old Rowley Cup Heritage Handicap at Newmarket.
After 13 days on the sidelines following a dislocated shoulder from a fall at Newcastle on September 7, Ben Curtis made a winning return to the track. With three rides on the card, he was back in the Winners Enclosure when Daawy took the 1m2f handicap. Trainer Roger Fell supplied the first two home in this race and they scrapped out a thrilling finish to the line with four lengths back to the third.
Newmarket-based Michael Wigham trained the winner of the Median Auction run over five furlongs when Red Saree won on her third racecourse appearance.
Improving dramatically after finishing down the field on both previous starts, the penny seemed to drop with her late on in the race winning by 2¼ lengths.
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Detachment lived up to his name when he detached himself from the field under 3lb apprentice Jane Elliott. Having finished second in the Leger Legends race at Doncaster for ex-National Hunt jockey Andrew Thornton, he arrived here in great form. Elliott produced the gelding late and fast, swooping around the field in the closing stages.
Round The Island won his third race at Pontefract this season after winning the finale of the afternoon.
For apprentices who have not ridden more 25 winners, Robbie Fitzpatrick took one step closer to being a professional jockey.
There were a few hard luck stories with some scrimmaging on the bend, but Fitzpatrick gave his mount plenty of daylight and hit the line a neck in front. Richard Whitaker also took this contest last year with stablemate Penny Pot Lane.
The next meeting at Pontefract is today and will be the second of the four All About The Racing midweek fixtures.
With a Punters Panel, a Parade Ring Pundit and Guest Racecard analysist it’s a good chance to get some inside knowledge ahead of the days racing.
Full details can be found at www.pontefract-races.co.uk