The second of three evening meetings took place at a wet and windy Pontefract on Monday when they held their Sports Night.
Summer may have been on hold, but top jockey Silvestre De Sousa lit up the evening with an excellent treble, yet again showing how well he rides the West Yorkshire track.
The first of his three wins came aboard Ian Williams’ talented dual purpose horse, Michael’s Mount.
The six-year-old gelding has won twice over hurdles and, on his most recent flat run, performed remarkably well to finish fourth at Chester after his jockey had ridden a finish a circuit too early. There was no mistake this time as De Sousa set out to make all the running and his partner bravely prevailed from the fast finishing True Destiny.
The jockey’s second winner came in the feature race – the £20,000 Pontefract Squash & Leisure Club Handicap – when Caliburn won on just his second start for the Andrew Balding yard.
The son of Derby winner Camelot had gone into many notebooks when finishing fifth at York on his seasonal debut behind the smart First Eleven.
He travelled supremely well once again at Pontefract and quickened up nicely in the conditions to win handsomely.
De Sousa’s final winner on the night came on board the well punted Captain Dion for the Ivan Furtado yard. The gelding had won over course and distance earlier in his career when trained by Kevin Ryan. Quickly away, his rivals were never able to get close to the runaway winner who scored by an impressive five lengths in the first division of the Castleford Tigers Handicap.
Another well backed winner came in the shape of Roger Fell’s Tricky Dicky who was making a quick reappearance having run at Haydock just three days earlier. The six-year-old has been really consistent this season and was winning for the third time since March. He clearly relishes the rain softened conditions.
The Mr Wolf Sprint remembers one of the all-time Ponte greats, Mr Wolf, who is currently enjoying a happy retirement, aged 18. He would have been proud of the winner of his race in 2019 as Roulston Scar made every yard of the running in true ‘Wolfie’ style.
The Kevin Ryan trained three year old had finished a close 3rd at York last time out but made no mistake this time round and looked in complete control of things as the field turned for home. Tom Eaves could take things relatively easily in the closing stages and it will be interesting to see if the winner takes up his entry in a similar race at Chester at the weekend.
Rarely does a Ponte race meeting go by without a winner for the course’s champion trainer, Richard Fahey, and he introduced a nice looking two-year-old in the shape of Oti Ma Boati to take the opening Leeds Rhinos EBF Fillies Novice.
She was very inexperienced during the early part of the race, but the penny began to drop as they entered the home straight and she quickened up really well to beat another promising newcomer, Hidden Spell, with something to spare.
The final race on the card, The Bradford Bulls Handicap, saw a rare winner on the night coming from off the pace. Paul Midgley’s Lathom was given a superb ride by Graham Lee who put the six-year-old’s head in front right on the line.
Lathom is not short of talent but has found winning quite tricky and can hopefully pick up some confidence from this win.
Pontefract’s next meeting is the first Family Day of the season – Flat Cap & Whippet Day. There’s loads going on, including a Guinness World Records attempt to form the largest human image of a dog! Details at www.pontefract-races.co.uk