Apprentice jockey Rachel Richardson gained the biggest win of her fledgling career when she partnered the aptly-named Fast Shot (7-1) to victory in Pontefract’s feature race on Monday (writes Graham Orange).
Fast Shot was produced to lead inside the final furlong by Richardson to win by half a length from Annunciation in the RIU Palace Meloneras Handicap Stakes, a £20,000 contest for sprinters over six furlongs.
Fast Shot is trained at Great Habton by Tim Easterby and he also took the afternoon’s opening race - a contest for maiden two-year-old fillies - with the debutant, Don’t Tell Annie (4/1), the mount of David Allan.
The daughter of Royal Applause cruised to a two-length victory over Horsforth, who had run creditably in the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster. Don’t Tell Annie certainly knew her job and she looks one to follow.
The Pontefract Marathon Handicap Stakes - Britain’s longest handicap race on the flat - went the way of the evens favourite New Youmzain, as he just edged out Longshadow by a neck right on the line in a terrific finish to this race for stayers. Monday’s contest was supported by the Reek family to mark Peter Reek’s 70th birthday celebrations, and New Youmzain – having his first outing for Nottinghamshire-based trainer, Michael Appleby and ridden by Andrew Mullen - stayed on well to defeat 33-1 chance, Longshadow. The first two were well clear of the rest.
At the end of last month, Silvestre de Sousa partnered African Story to victory in the richest race in the world, the Dubai World Cup, and the leading rider last season at Pontefract made his mark with a couple of winners. The first was Ansaab (5-2 favourite) for Nottinghamshire trainer, Alan McCabe in the handicap contest over one mile. Ansaab had finished sixth in the Spring Mile at Doncaster (on the same day African Story won in Dubai) and the six-year-old just held on by a nose from Stellar Express. The form looks solid, as the fourth horse in the Spring Mile, Farlow, won at Thirsk last Saturday.
De Sousa’s double was completed on Active Spirit (5-1), who burst clear to land the contest for maiden sprinters by five lengths for Newmarket trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
There was a close finish to the afternoon’s concluding race when Shillito (8-1) just got up on the line to defeat Dancing Freddy by a neck in this Handicap contest for sprinters over five furlongs. Owned and trained at Malton by Tony Coyle, Shillito - ridden by P.J. McDonald - was making his seasonal debut.
Pontefract’s next meeting is the annual Northern Racing College Charity Day on Wednesday, April 30. The seven-race programme is scheduled to begin at 2.10 pm.