The finale of the 2019 racing season took place at Pontefract on a damp autumnal afternoon.
A huge Monday crowd of over 4,000 people celebrated the end of another fantastic year at the West Yorkshire track and were treated to some excellent racing and nailbiting finishes.
The feature on the card was the 27th running of the Listed ebfstallions.com Silver Tankard Stakes. As usual, there was a decent field assembled with a strong contingent from Newmarket. Wyclif was backed into favouritism for last year’s winning trainer/jockey combo of Ralph Beckett and Harry Bentley while Grand Rock had won an automatic entry to the 2020 Epsom Derby when winning his most recent start for William Haggas. However, hard as they both tried, neither could reel in the gutsy King Carney for the Charlie Fellowes team.
After a brave front running performance winning jockey Danny Tudhope was clearly impressed and expects King Carney to progress over the winter, predicting a bright future for the son of Australia.
Tudhope gave up his remaining rides on the card due to illness and missed a winner in the main supporting race, The Phil Bull Trophy Conditions Stakes, when Fun Mac returned to the Winner’s Enclosure for trainer Hughie Morrison.
Fun Mac has been seen in some of the best staying races throughout his career, but his last win was in a Listed Race at Maisons-Laffittes back in 2017.
Relishing the testing going, he was one of three horses in a line across the track with a furlong to run but battled on well to get the better of Arrowtown by half-a-length.
Rubenesque ran a brilliant race to finish just behind the leaders in third place and this run meant that she leapfrogged to the top of the Stayers Championship table and became the Course’s leading stayer in 2019.
There was a double in the first two races for the Karl Burke/ Ben Curtis team, courtesy of Guipure and Hidden Spell.
Both horses were winning for the first time following a string of consistent efforts. Guipure was making her handicap debut and drew readily clear close home on her first try over 1m.
Hidden Spell has an affinity with Ponte and her best three runs have all been at the course. She led home a 1-2 for owner Clipper Logistics, beating her better fancied rival, Spygate, by 1¾ lengths.
Record breaking Mark Johnston went a step closer to setting yet another record when Bo Samraan’s victory equalled the record for total number of winners trained in a calendar year.
The daughter of Derby winner, Sea The Stars, refused to give in and produced the finish of the day when rallying bravely to deny Sod’s Law by a head.
This win also meant Johnston was the leading trainer at Pontefract in the 2019 season.
The Leslie Burton (Fisher) Maiden saw a strong representation from Newmarket with Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden, James Fanshawe and Andrew Balding all having runners. However, none of them could live with the Tim Easterby trained Lady Scatterley.
Jockey David Allan set out to make it a searching test of stamina over the 1m4f trip and she soon had the field well strung out. Her rivals could never quite get on terms and she won bravely by over two lengths, with a further six lengths back to the third horse.
The curtain came down on the 2019 season when Our Little Pony took the final race for Lawrence Mullaney under a great ride from Faye McManoman.
The 2020 season starts up on April 7 and there are some exciting developments planned ahead of the new season. Keep up to date with all the latest news and information from the racecourse on their social media channels and on their website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk