Belinda rocks Pontefract at first evening meeting of 2018

Ninetythreetwenty is clear on the run-in to win the third race on the card at Pontefract's eighties night meeting. Picture: Alan Wright
Ninetythreetwenty is clear on the run-in to win the third race on the card at Pontefract's eighties night meeting. Picture: Alan Wright

The first evening fixture of the Pontefract 2018 calendar took place last Friday night and proved a big success.

Despite some poor weather, around 8,000 hardy racegoers came out in force to do West Yorkshire proud, enjoying some fantastic racing and seeing eighties icon Belinda Carlisle perform after the last race.

Once the horses had safely left the course after the last race, racegoers flooded the Parade Ring in anticipation of Belinda Carlisle’s performance to round off the latest eighties night at the Pontefract course.

The atmosphere was incredible and the people of Yorkshire showed their true party spirit, enjoying a fantastic evening.

With judges from Heart radio station handing out spot prizes to the best eighties fancy dress, there was a fantastic array of colour as many a blow-up microphone and a wig were seen in the crowd during the concert.

The stage, the lights, the music and, most of all, the people had an evening to remember.

There was some fantastic racing to kick off proceedings. Trinity Star, who was having his 15th start at Pontefract, got his head in front for the sixth time in his career.

Jamie Gormley, who claimed a valuable 5lb off the gelding’s back, gave the horse a cracking ride and, travelling strongly, was ridden to challenge one furlong out, delivering the goods in fine style and winning by an impressive 3 ¾ lengths.

New Society took the mile-and-a-half handicap exactly a month after winning over the same distance at Catterick.

Being raised 5lb in the weights did not hamper the little horse who was the easiest winner of the evening, taking the contest by 10 lengths.

Having had a 225 day break from the track, 2018 could turn into a very good one for this horse.

Pontefract’s Champion Trainer Richard Fahey unlocked the course’s new It’s Champion Promotion for the second time this year after Ninetythreetwenty took the feature EBF Stallions Youngsters Conditions Stakes.

He won in fine style, retaining his unbeaten status in two starts. With winning owners Middleham Park Racing tweeting “Get your hats for Royal Ascot” this could be a horse to follow for the future.

Fahey also trained the winner of the fifth race, Sempre Presto.

The victory completed a double for jockey Paul Hanagan too and again unlocked the It’s Champion Promotion.

The promotion was unlocked for a third time in the last race when Pontefract’s Champion Jockey of 2017 Danny Tudhope piloted Angels to victory.

For half an hour after each of the three races, racegoers flooded into the raceday office to claim the offer of half price in the Park Suite Restaurant for the next meeting for Rugby League Evening.

The Ponte Faithful promotion was in full swing during the evening too.

Designed to give racegoers the incentive to come racing again, the course offer a drinks, betting, and discount turnstile voucher as a thank you to the lead booker for coming back to the track after booking in both 2017 and 2018.

The next race meeting at the Yorkshire track is another evening fixture. The Rugby League Evening, held on Monday, June 11 sees local Rugby League teams Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity come to the track. For this special meeting season ticket holders will get into the course for just £5 through the Grandstand & Paddock Gates if they bring their season ticket along with them.

Full details are available at the racecourse website