Doubles all round at Pontefract's latest race meeting
There was an autumnal feel to proceedings at Pontefract’s second September race meeting with a much cooler and breezier feel to the weather to compliment some fantastic racing and exciting finishes, including individual doubles for two trainers and two jockeys.
The day got off to a cracking start for favourite backers when Eldrickjones took the Northern Commercials EBF Maiden Stakes for Roger Fell, Mark Crehan and owners Nick Bradley Racing.
The winner has been running in some of the top two-year-old races this season, including finishing runner-up in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but had yet to get his head in front in six starts.
Dropped back to a maiden, the short priced favourite was made to work hard, but now that he’s got his head in front he could develop into a high class three-year-old next year.
Trainer Roger Fell went on to complete a double when his Oso Rapido flew from the back of the field to get up close home in the six furlong Atlas Leisure Homes Handicap.
The winner looked to be struggling as they came into the final two furlongs, but produced a stunning turn of foot to deny Bossipop and Cottam Lane in a fantastic finish.
Feature race on the card was the £12,000 Simon Scrope Dalby Screw Driver Handicap, run in memory of the former chairman of Pontefract Racecourse.
The Scrope family have lived in Middleham for many years and it was therefore fitting that the prize went to Mark Johnston who has his training base there. Living Legend certainly lived up to his name in making all the running for a superb success under Joe Fanning.
Living Legend had been a promising horse as a two and three-year-old and had contested races such as the Dee Stakes – a recognised Derby trial – at Chester in 2019.
He missed 2020 but has been working his way back to form in three starts this season and was hugely impressive.
There was a double for the Johnston/Fanning combination when their Approachability made a stunning racecourse debut in the Charles Stewart Novice Stakes.
The son of New Approach was never far from the pace and readily saw off his opponents with an eyecatching success.
The Johnston team were only narrowly denied a treble by the shortest of margins as their Turn Back Time failed by a nose to overhaul My Silent Song in the EBF Nursery.
The runner-up looked as though she had stolen an unassailable lead when kicking clear off the bend, but Paul Mulrennan brought Ed Dunlop’s My Silent Song out of the pack to lead close home and battled hard to fend off the renewed efforts of the battling Johnston filly.
Paul Mulrennan rode his second winner of the day when Saluti won the Racing TV handicap over the flying five furlongs.
Winning trainer Paul Midgley also saddled the favourite in the race, Indian Sounds, who went on to finish third.
The winner drifted across the track in the last furlong, hampering a number of his opponents in the process and the stewards held a long deliberation before confirming the result.
The final race on the card was the Malcolm Willstrop Memorial Apprentice and, as the runners turned for home, John Wainwright’s Muatadel could be seen going really easily under Zak Wheatley. He readily quickened clear to win by 1½ lengths to register his second success in 2021.
The next meeting at Pontefract is the penultimate race meeting of the season and takes place next Monday (October 4). Full details can be found at www.pontefract-races.co.uk