Wednesda is when Pontefract traditionally looks to the future stars of racing, both human and equine – it is the 29th Annual Northern Racing College Charity Day.
The entire race meeting is unique as the majority 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 grass roots 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 future career. It also offers those currently in the business the chance to develop their qualifications and skills.
The racing on the day casts an eye to future stars. The opening two-year-old Novice Stakes, sponsored by EBF and William Hill, is historically an informative event. The race was won a few years ago by the subsequent globetrotting superstar, Peniaphobia. Tony Coyle took the contest in 2017 with Brandy Station who maybe did not have the same pedigree as Peniaphobia but has been in the frame a couple of times since and is now trained by Lisa Williamson.
The three-year-old Sky Bet Maiden also has a rich history – John Gosden’s Royal Ascot winner Remote made his debut in this a few years ago while last year Mudaarab, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, won by a length and then went onto win at Goodwood.
Again, looking ahead to the stars of tomorrow, the card concludes with the third round of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Future Stars Apprentice Handicap. Last year’s winner Oriental Relation was ridden by Callum Rodriguez. The jockey had a cracking season last year, topped off by ridding Nakeeta to victory in the Ebor at York.
The 6f Ladbrokes Handicap Stakes was won last year by Pontefract’s champion trainer Richard Fahey when Gin In The Inn, a real Ponte favourite, took the honours. If Fahey can win this race again this year he will unlock the “It’s Champion” Promotion, where for half an hour after the winner has been announced a special offer will be available to all racegoers on course. This promotion also applies if Danny Tudhope (Pontefract 2017 champion jockey) rides a winner at the course in 2018.
The Racecourse Postcode Lottery gives the opportunity for anyone based in Sheffield to come racing for free. By sending a Stamped Addressed envelope to the Racecourse, residents can get a ticket to the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure (only 100 tickets available).
The Racecourse will once again be offering discounted tickets to those who book in advance – see www.pontefract-races.co.uk for more information.