Great family day out in store at Pontefract Racecourse’s Flat Cap and Whippet Day

Pontefract racecourse scene.
Pontefract racecourse scene.

The first of three popular Family Day race meetings at Pontefract in 2019 is just around the corner with Flat Cap and Whippet Day on Sunday.

There are seven fantastic horse races, but there are tons of exciting things to do before the horses take centre stage.

Gates open at 11.30am and a thrilling day is lined up, including an official Guinness World Records attempt to form the largest human image of a dog.

The attempt will take place at 1.15pm and the course will be asking racegoers to form the outline of a whippet.

In keeping with the day, if you would like to take part in this record-breaking attempt, you will need to be wearing a flat cap, arrive early and meet at the back of the Second Stand at around 1pm where further instruction will be given by safety marshals.

There’s an added incentive to wear your flat cap too – the first 500 people sporting theirs will pick up either a free drinks voucher, a free bet or a free racecard!

Before then, whippets from the Yorkshire Pedigree Whippet Racing Club will take to the course from 12.30pm as they set the scene for their equine counterparts later in the afternoon.

With around 30 whippets racing over a series of races, it is going to be a fast and furious way to start proceedings.

Whippets and horses are not the only races taking place – a team of ferrets will also be stepping into the spotlight with racing in the Picnic Enclosure throughout the afternoon. As has become tradition on Sundays at Pontefract, young racegoers will be well looked after throughout the day, especially in the Picnic Enclosure where there are kids rides, a circus, face painting and free activity books and racecards.

Eagle eyed kids need to look out for the Golden Horseshoe too – there’s a hamper of sweets to be won for the first person to find it.

There are also free pony rides as well – plenty to keep even the most active little ones occupied while mum and dad enjoy some top class racing.

If you have ever wondered what happens down at the start of races – in the calm before the race explodes into action – then you will be able to pick up the free minibus, which will take you down to the starting stalls to see the horses and jockeys moments before the race starts.

On the track, the £50,000 listed Pontefract Castle Fillies’ Stakes is the highlight. The race was won last year by Ralph Beckett’s Isabel De Urbina who got up in the shadows of the post to deny Alwaysandforever. It is always a competitive affair with some of the toughest middle distance fillies in training.

The 2019 Pontefract Stayers Championship is also shaping up to be a really competitive affair and round four is the Stephane Osborne Pontefract Cup.

As always family tickets (£25) are available in advance for two adults and their children along with a range of alternative packages. Racing gets under way at 2.20pm and the gates open at 11.30am.