The second of two ‘Art of Racing’ Racedays took place at Pontefract on Tuesday and with guest tipsters, guest best turned out judges and a commentary booth, it was a day truly dedicated to everything we know and love about the Sport of Kings.
Add in a beautiful afternoon and it was a glorious day to come racing!
The feature race was the £50,000 ‘Weatherbys General Stud Book Pipalong Stakes’ – a Listed race for fillies and mares of four-year-old and upwards.
Ten trainers from all corners of the country brought their horses to the West Yorkshire venue in order to get some trusty ‘Black Type’ next to their horse’s name.
Clon Coulis, trained by David Barron, returned to form when appearing to thrive for the step up in trip to take the race in good style by 2¾ lengths.
After an awkward start left the daughter of Vale of York behind, she soon took a firm hold with jockey Ben Curtis.
Cutting through the pack as the field turned for home, she stayed on strongly to the line to get home in front.
Unraced at two, the filly won two of her three starts last year and looked to have a very bright future.
Barron said: “She’s been slow to come to hand this year, but we’ve always thought an awful lot about her.
“We didn’t think she’d get a mile because she has an awful lot of pace, but after a couple of runs this season I felt we had to change things.
“There should be more to come and now she gets the mile, she’s got more options.”
Another stepping up in trip was Roger Charlton’s Herculean, who was made to work harder than odds of 1-6 suggested in the Ben and Mary Hibbert Memorial Novice Stakes.
Having lost his unbeaten record last time out, the giant Frankel colt still looked very green.
Charlton’s son and assistant, Tom said “Its been frustrating with him with the ground.
“We thought Pontefract would be a track which would suit him with an uphill finish and they’ve watered well.”
He looks an immature and backward type, but with big horses, time is on their side and he looks to have a fine future ahead of him.
PJ McDonald always rides Pontefract well and won the opening race with the Mark Johnston trained Octave who battled out the finish with Red Hut Red to score by ½ a length.
Octave, who was sent off favourite, found life a little easier than she had done at Royal Ascot in the Albany Stakes.
McDonald then went on to complete his double on the day when partnering Ruth Carr’s Ower Fly to victory in The King Richard lll Handicap Stakes. Despite unshipping his jockey going down to post, he took the contest by three lengths from the David O’Meara trained Watchable.
The course’s champion jockey, Danny Tudhope, continued his run of success when winning on Zumurud over the flying five furlongs.
The 2-1 favourite was held up in rear throughout and was produced into the race in the final furlong to win comfortably for local trainer Rebecca Bastiman.
Graham Lee, who was followed by the JETS (Jockeys Educational Training Scheme) cameras for a feature about jockeys careers and future, finished his day off in style, winning on Mick Channon’s Chikoko Trail.
The lucky last went to recent Quoteline Direct who followed up his victory at Pontefract last week.
Micky Hammond has a great strike rate with his horses at the West Yorkshire track and this was his fourth win at the course so far this season.
For more details about upcoming events visit the course’s website www.pontefract-races.co.uk