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Flat Cap & Whippet Family Day

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 23rd June.

There are 7 fantastic horse races but there are tonnes of exciting things to do before the horses take centre stage.

The gates open at 11.30am and we’ve got a thrilling day 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 Racecourse will be asking Racegoers to form the outline of a whippet!

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

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 Racecourse 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’s 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 spot light 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’ve ever wondered what happens down at the start of races – in the calm before the race explodes in to action – then you’ll be able to pick up our free minibus which will take you down to the starting stalls where you’ll see the horses and jockeys in the moments before the race starts. The minibus will bring you straight back after the race. Available for any race over 5f or 6f, it provides a fascinating insight into what goes on in the open space of the Parkland.

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’s 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 4 is the Stephane Osborne Pontefract Cup. Micky Hammond normally has a strong hand in these races and his ‘Becky The Thatcher’ took the championship last season despite just being touched off in this race.

As always Family Tickets (£25) are available in advance for 2 adults and their children along with a range of alternative packages. Please view the course website (www.pontefract-races.co.uk) or give them a call on 01977 781307. Racing gets underway at 2.20pm, and the gates open at 11.30am!

ORNATE ADDS DASH OF CLASS TO BEVERLEY CARD

Ornate bids to claim a significant double when he lines up in the £14,000 Tecknodev British EBF Conditions Stakes at Beverley on Tuesday evening.

Trained in Bawtry, South Yorkshire, by David Griffiths, the six-year-old gelding was sent off a largely unconsidered 33-1 chance for the Investec Dash on Derby Day at Epsom.

Yet despite his inflated odds, Ornate blitzed out of stall five and never saw another rival en route to a neck defeat of Dark Shot.

The classy sprinter has recovered well from those exertions and is now ready for his next big test in the valuable five-furlong sprint at Beverley.

Griffiths said: “He won well at Epsom and has come out of the race in great order.

“He wasn’t right all last year. He was wrong in his coat and if you looked a picture of him last season you wouldn’t think it was the same horse.

“He’s grown and filled out and is a lot stronger horse. I think he’s finally showing his true ability for me.

“He’s about where he should be at the weights and he should go really go well on Tuesday.

“Potentially, he’s still a Group horse. I’m really happy with where Ornate is and I’d be quietly confident of a big run.”

Crack sprinter Judicial has won the Tecknodev British EBF Conditions Stakes for the last two seasons, with 2017 Beverley Bullet runner-up Final Venture the highest-rated horse in this year’s renewal.

Lightly-raced filly Fairy Falcon has also been given the chance to shine by North Yorkshire trainer Bryan Smart.

She is a half-sister to Beverley heroes Tangerine Trees and Alpha Delphini and was, like her esteemed siblings, bred locally by Marie Matthews.

Gates open for the Great Big Beverley Charity Racenight – the first evening meeting of the season – at 4pm.

The first of seven races starts at 6pm, with the official going reported as being good to soft, soft in places.

The forecast for Beverley on Tuesday evening is for warm, dry weather and a high of 20C.

YORKSHIRE JOCKEY MULRENNAN REACHES LANDMARK 1,000TH WINNER AT DONCASTER

Yorkshire-based jockey Paul Mulrennan secured his 1,000th UK career victory with Camacho Chief at Doncaster Racecourse this afternoon. He joins an illustrious list of jockeys to have reached the landmark, including Frankie Dettori and three-time Champion Flat Jockey, Silvestre De Sousa.

The win marked his 26th success at the racecourse, with Mulrennan’s highest performing tracks being Ayr (79), Southwell (75), and Wolverhampton (72).

On reaching the milestone, The 37-year-old, said: “It’s a massive achievement, especially when you consider I grew up in Ealing, West London and didn’t sit on a horse until I was 16. On top of that, I’ve been slightly unlucky with injuries and having to maintain my weight, so that makes it even more of a proud moment for me. There’s some fantastic jockeys who have reached 1,000 wins, and to join them is an amazing feeling.”

Camacho Chief is trained by Michael Dods and Mulrennan has enjoyed a total of 152 wins with the Durham-based trainer. It is also within that partnership that Mulrennan achieved his biggest wins to date.

In 2015 and 2016, Mulrennan secured back to back wins with the Dods-trained Mecca’s Angel in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York Racecourse, which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The duo have also enjoyed great success with Mabs Cross who they have had six wins with, most recently in the 2019 Zoustar Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. The pair are set to renew their partnership on the opening day of Royal Ascot next week (18th June) in the King’s Stand Stakes, the first sprint race in this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series and are currently third favourites at 6-1.

Talking of his partnership with Dods, Mulrennan said: “There has been some brilliant days amongst the 1,000 wins. I have a great relationship with Michael Dods and we’ve enjoyed many good days together especially with Meccas’s Angel.

The jockey, now based in York, added, “Riding my first win at Royal Ascot with Dandino for James Given in 2010 was a dream come true. Mick Easterby has always been good to me, as has Brian Meehan who I started off with and Patrick Haslam who I rode my first winner for back in 2001. I also need to thank my agent Richard Hale who I’ve been with for 17 years, and of course my wife Adele for putting up with me!

“Reaching 1,000 winners is great advert for racing and any young jockey. It proves you just have to keep working hard and never give up.”