A SUNNY, warm day greeted racegoers for the Art of Racing meeting at Pontefract on Monday.
With trips to see the start of races and a beginners commentary booth for would be commentators, there was plenty going on at the track.
The racecourse had also chosen guest judges for the best turned out horse awards and engaged seven guest tipsters for those who love their racing.
Due to the popularity of these slots, a further Art of Racing raceday will be held at Pontefract next Tuesday.
The feature race last Monday, the EBF Spindrifter Conditions Stakes is named after Sir Mark Prescott’s prolific two year old who won 13 races in his first season in 1980 including three victories at Pontefract.
While two year olds do not often run 13 times in their first season anymore, the eventual winner Zaman was making a quick reappearance following his run in the group two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Winning trainer Charlie Appleby stated after Ascot that the colt looked like he needed further and that opinion was borne out as the son of Dutch Art looked to be the first beaten but stayed on resolutely to collar Unfortunately and Izzy Bizu in the shadows of the post.
The main supporting race was the £15,000 ebfstallions.com Fillies’ Handicap.
This hotly contested race saw Sir Michael Stoute send Partitia north in a bid to follow up the trainer’s double at the last meeting.
She was sent off a well backed favourite but could not repel the late challenge of Richard Whitaker’s Avon Breeze. The eight year old mare is currently in foal to Equiano and looked an absolute picture in the parade ring beforehand despite her absence of 259 days. She squeezed through a wall of runners to win by half a length to continue the scintillating form of her trainer.
The Lifetime in Racing series honours the achievements of staff with a longstanding history in the Industry. This year’s race was held in honour of Roy Fowler - a valet at a number of racecourses.
Oriental Splendour was bidding to follow up his victory in the race in 2016, as well as a win at Pontefract earlier in the season, and was well backed to do so. While he ran well to be fourth, the finish was fought out by the favourite Boundsy and 16-1 shot Mininggold and it was the big priced Dods runner that prevailed under promising apprentice Callum Rodriguez.
Tim Easterby and David Allan both brought up their fourth winners of the season at Pontefract in 2017 when Breakwater Bay took the Wayne Conway Memorial.
Easterby’s gelding won this in the style of an improving stayer who ran on strongly to win by two and a half lengths, easily reversing previous form with Dyna Might who was back in fourth place.
Danny Tudhope and David O’Meara were also winning their fourth race of the 2017 season at Pontefract when Don Valentino made every yard of the running to follow up his recent victory at Ripon.
Racing Staff Week is taking place at racecourses across the country this week and the race celebrating the hard work done by all staff in the industry was taken by Tom Tate’s Destroyer who rallied bravely to touch off Richard Fahey’s Full of Promise.
The final race on the card, the JP Memorial Handicap for Ladies Amateur Riders, was taken in superb fashion by 33-1 shot Exclusive Waters. The winning jockey, Paige Fuller, was crowned the champion female amateur jumps rider last month but was riding her first winner on the flat. She rode an astute race, ignoring the frenetic early pace and biding her time.