Big crowd see ‘Cassie’ win Pontefract’s richest prize

Castle Hill Cassie gets up to win a close finish to the feature race at Pontefract. Picture: Alan Wright
Castle Hill Cassie gets up to win a close finish to the feature race at Pontefract. Picture: Alan Wright

A big crowd assembled to see the track’s richest race of the season on Sunday when Pontefract held their final family day of 2018.

As well as the top class racing on the course, the In The Zone Family Sunday offered the racing public a chance to engage and learn a little more about the racing industry with a number of ‘Zones’ set up around the enclosures.

With free sweets for the kids, circus, fairground rides and pony rides, it truly was a great day out for the whole family.

The £60,000 EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies Stakes saw some of the country’s top class fillies and mares battle it out for their chance to get that well deserved ‘black type’. With two of the runners making the trip from Ireland, the race had a strong look to it.

Twelve went to post for the six furlong contest and despite a little trouble in running Castle Hill Cassie added her name to the honours list at a price of 20/1. The daughter of Casamento put in a gutsy performance to weave her way through the pack and take hold of the bridle once again when she hit the front.

It was trainer Ben Haslam’s first win at Listed level and yet another win for popular syndicate owners Ontoawinner, who owned Royal Ascot winner Quiet Reflection.

Castle Hill Cassie has another entry this week at the popular Ebor Festival at York.

The course’s champion jockey Daniel Tudhope was back to winning ways when partnering one of the two doubles on the card. World Order, trained by Tudhope’s former boss Declan Carroll, was sent off the short priced favourite after putting in some tough performances earlier in the year.

Breaking his duck at the West Yorkshire track, the colt made all of the running to take the contest by 4½ lengths. Carroll has big hopes for this little horse with entries at Doncaster in the £300,000 Weatherbys Racing Bank Stakes and also at the Curragh in September.

Tudhope completed his double when Cray, trained by James Bethell in Middleham, made all the running over the 2m1f trip.

Trainer Kevin Ryan was also in the winners’ enclosure twice during the day.

Armandihan got the ball rolling when taking the 1m4f handicap in fair style. Making all of the running, jockey Kevin Stott asked his mount to quicken in the home straight and went clear of his rivals by six lengths, denying trainer Mark Johnston a record breaking 4914th victory in the process.

Ryan completed his double when Knighted took the one mile handicap with Andrew Mullen aboard. Despite being challenged by his rivals from the home bend, the gelding really stuck his neck out to pull clear by 2 ¼ lengths.

Sir Michael Stoute does not send a horse to Pontefract for no reason and Hareeq did not disappoint. Having his first appearance on a racecourse, the colt by Derby winning sire New Approach, cost an incredible 420,000 guineas as a yearling.

He was a little green in the early stages, but showed the racing public his game and professional attitude when push came to shove by leading close home under Richard Kingscote.

Local trainer Richard Whitaker took the last race with Round The Island. Held up by jockey Phil Dennis, the gelding flew home when he saw daylight in the final furlong to win by 1 ½ lengths. Round The Island was securing his third victory at the track and clearly loves the challenges that the course provides. The next meeting at Pontefract is the ‘All About The Racing Raceday’ on Thursday, September 20. With a Punters Panel, a Parade Ring Pundit and Guest Racecard analysists, it is a good chance to get some inside knowledge ahead of the day’s racing! Full details can be found at www.pontefract-races.co.uk