Pontefract winner Gis A Sub in line for crack at Gimcrack
The Feature race at Pontefract's latest meeting on Monday celebrated the remarkable career of Spindrifter, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, who won a remarkable 13 races as a two-year-old in 1980.
Three of those wins came at the West Yorkshire track and the race always throws up a useful juvenile.
With restrictions remaining in place, the crowd was limited in capacity, but there was a fantastic atmosphere as racegoers took their places on the lawns and cheered on their winners.
It is always worth taking note when Kevin Ryan introduces an unraced two-year-old at York and his Gis A Sub had been fancied to make a winning debut at the celebrated course earlier in the month. He was touched off on that occasion, but was well backed to make amends in the Class 2 Spindrifter Conditions Stakes and made no mistake this time, scoring by half-a-length from a promising looking field headed by Hellomydarlin, who had run a cracking race at Royal Ascot last time.
The winner received glowing reports from trainer Kevin Ryan who suggested that his next race would see him return to York for the Gimcrack.
William Haggas has sent a few horses to Pontefract this season and he bagged another winner when Pagan took the Wilfred Underwood Classified Stakes under Ceiren Fallon.
He is improving quickly and is likely to be well placed by his handler and could be one to keep an eye on in handicaps.
Al Simmo has been a revelation this season and maintained her unbeaten run when registering her third success of the year for Steph Hollinshead. As in her other victories this year, she made every yard of the running and battled on gamely to see off all challengers.
It was a memorable win for the handler who was registering her first victory at Pontefract.
Some popular faces lined up in the opening Northern Commercials Handicap with Round the Island and Mr Orange renewing rivalry once again.
However, neither had an answer to the younger hooves of Vanitas who scored in the colours of Geoff and Sandra Turnbull for David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope.
The filly had lost her mum when she was just two weeks old and been raised by a foster mare at Elwick Stud. She showed guts in abundance and had to battle hard to repel the late challenge of Impeller.
Touched off in the first race, David Allan enjoyed an armchair ride on Carrigillihy in the Wayne Conway Memorial for trainer Tim Easterby. The imposing three-year-old grey looked like a horse going places and strode clear to beat Mark Johnston’s Tropical Cyclone by two-and-a-half lengths.
Trainer Alan King is better known for his exploits in National Hunt racing but sent two horses to Pontefract. While Lunar Shadow was well beaten in the second race, his Lord Neidin struck late in the Graham Clough Memorial when reeling in leader and favourite Delgrey Boy.
The winner was having his first run since wind surgery and shrugged off the welter burden of 10 stone to win.
The concluding race on the card was a handicap for female amateur riders and there was a cracking ride by Becky Smith who got Dragons Will Rise up in the shadows of the post to score at Ponte for the second time this season for trainer Micky Hammond.
The winner took his record to six wins from his last nine starts. He never wins by far and he could be tricky for the handicapper to keep up with.
With the easing of restrictions delayed to July 19, the next race meeting at Pontefract, next Tuesday, will be held with a limited number of spectators.
Guidelines by the British Horseracing Authority and the DCMS mean that numbers will continue to be severely restricted and certain areas will be inaccessible to the public.
Tickets for the race meeting on Tuesday, July 6 are on sale at www.pontefract-races.co.uk
The Racecourse has now released a limited number of tickets for the remaining meetings in July and August with a second batch of tickets hopefully becoming available after the easing of restrictions.