Category Archives: Pontefract


We’re lucky enough to have some fantastic sporting action right on our doorstep in West Yorkshire with Rugby League and Horseracing being two of the biggest spectator sports in both the region and nationally. And on Monday 12th June – our Rugby League Evening – some of our fantastic Rugby League teams (Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity) will be taking over Pontefract Races for one night only!

There are some fantastic offers about – season ticket holders with any of the clubs will be able to come along on the night and pay just £5 to get in to the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure – just don’t forget to bring your season ticket along with you!

Those wanting to make a night of it can meet their teams’ heroes with the VIP Package. For just £42, fans will have the opportunity to meet, greet and mingle with their favourite players in the luxury of the private Rugby League Hospitality Box. With private viewing balconies overlooking the Parade Ring and Winning Post, as well as a fantastic hot buffet and a table for the evening, it’s a fantastic opportunity to really make it a night to remember.

The feature on the track is the Mr Wolf Sprint Handicap. This £15,000 race over 6f remembers one of the all-time Ponte greats. Runners in this race have a huge mountain to climb to emulate the great Mr Wolf – he ran at Pontefract an incredible 36 times throughout his career, winning here on 8 occasions. He ran is last race at the course back in July 2012 but will be back on the night to parade before racing starts.

The race itself is always a fiercely competitive event and last year, the first 5 horses were separated by just ¾ length with Dutch Mist just getting her nose ahead in the final stride for the Kevin Ryan team.

At the other end of the scale, The Tony Bethell Memorial forms the 3rd round of the 2017 Stayers Championship. The evergreen course favourite, Tuscan Gold, is the current leader and he’ll be back to try and regain his 2015 crown.  There’ll no doubt be a few familiar names lining up and another grandstand finish is on the cards!

The Racecourse’s ‘Postcode Lottery’ promotion gives those with a DN postcode the chance to pick up a free ticket. There are 100 tickets available! For full information, please view the Racecourse website at

Racing gets underway at 6.40pm and the gates open at 4.30pm.

Contact:           Richard Hammill (Assistant Manager/Clerk of the Course) 01977 781307


Evening meetings are always extremely popular at Pontefract and the first of three this season is 80s Night on Friday Evening 26th May. It’s the first of two Music Nights (the other being on Friday Eve 21st July) and with legends of pop, Bananarama, playing straight after the last race, it promises to be the best 80s Night yet!

Bananarama have been big news in recent weeks after it was announced that the original line up would be reforming in November. While Siobhan Fahey will rejoin the band in November, the remaining duo will take to the stage after the last race.

Bananarama are celebrating their 35th Anniversary this year and their achievements speak for themselves. They have an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful female band world wide with the most charting singles, all of which were international hits, four hitting the US Billboard Top 10 including a No 1 with Venus. They also performed on two of the Band Aid singles.

To date, they have had 32 Top 40 UK hits. They have released 10 albums and sold 30 million records. They became internationally hot property with hits such as ‘I Heard a Rumour’, ‘Robert De Niro’s Waiting’ and ‘Love in the First Degree’ and, on Friday Eve 26th May, they’ll be hot property in Pontefract as they play the 2017 80s Night!

On the track, the highlight is the 6 furlong £20,000 EBF Youngsters Conditions Stakes. With an impressive list of previous runners (including last years winner, Yalta) it always attracts some precocious juveniles looking to stake their claim for Royal Ascot glory the following month.

Constant Security Services provide the uniformed officers on duty on racedays at Pontefract and they sponsor 2 races on the card. Alpha Delphini ran in one of their races last year (finishing a close 3rd) and went on to be just touched off in a Group 3 at Newbury at the end of the season.

The final race on the card is a Maiden race for 3 year olds, run in honour of Ken Sutton’s 70th birthday. His friends and family will be out in force to raise a glass for his special day and cheer home a winner. Get Up And Dance was the appropriately named winner of this race last year and there’ll be plenty of racegoers doing just that in 2017 when Bananarama take to the stage.

If you’re bringing the car to this meeting, don’t forget to pick up your voucher for two free bottles of Harrogate Spa Spring Water. Keep an eye out for the Ponte team handing out vouchers in the car parks. You’ll be able to redeem your vouchers at any of the ‘Designated Driver’ points around the Racecourse.

It’s going to be a fantastic night of great racing, laughter, music and 80s nostalgia and many racegoers will be taking advantage of the fact that the dress code is relaxed on this night when they pick out their best fancy dress outfit and hope to pick up one of the spot prizes provided by!

There are just a few discounted tickets still available. The Premier Enclosure badges are currently £22 while the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure tickets are £10 – both prices include the concert after racing. Entrance tickets bought on the night will be full price (£24 and £16 respectively) so make sure you get your tickets before the night! Advance tickets can be purchased via the racecourse website at or over the phone on 01977 781307.


With Spring here and Summer just around the corner, the flat season roars back in to action at Pontefract with a quality race meeting on Tuesday 11th April. With 74,000 worth of prize money on offer, the card often throws up some impressive early season types.

The Racecourse has been busy over the Winter and will take the wraps off their new Parade Ring for the first time. The Paddock has been regraded and has brand new terracing for enhanced viewing for racegoers. The modern, state of the art Parade Ring has cost just under £½ million and is an exciting upgrade for the West Yorkshire track. The Dalby Stand and Premier Enclosure entrance has also had a facelift and racegoers will be welcomed by a bright, modern reception area.

The highlight of the racing programme is the £25,000 Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap over 1m 2f. A classy field assembled for the 2016 renewal with strong representatives from the Newmarket yards. The prize stayed in the North though as Master of Finance won the race for the second year running!

The £15,000 1m4f EBF Maiden on this day has a rich roll of honour. Luca Cumani’s ‘High–Rise’ won this race on his way to victory in the Epsom Derby and lends his name to this race. Du Moto won the 2016 contest for Sir Michael Stoute. While he didn’t head to Epsom, he remained unbeaten for the rest of the season. Will 2017 unleash a potential superstar?

Of all the races run over the years at Pontefract, the Stayers races evoke the strongest memories among the race going public. With course favourites like Dan Buoy, Jamaican Flight and Bluff Cove all laden with stamina, the Stayers Championship has proved a popular addition to the racing programme in recent seasons. Round 1 of the 2017 championship gets underway with The Jamaican Flight Handicap over 2m2f. The 2016 series champion, Riptide is due to return to his beloved Pontefract in order to defend his title – one he’s already won on two occasions!

Tuesday 11th April marks the start of the new ‘Wall of Fame’ promotion at the course. Racegoers who visited in 2016 may already have spotted their face on the website dedicated to the promotion ( ) but the new life size artwork will be unveiled in the Paddock Bar at the opening race meeting of the year. Anyone spotting themselves will be able to claim a prize from the Office on any raceday during the season. With 462 faces on show, there are plenty of great prizes to be won!

Those with a Harrogate postcode can pick up a free ticket for this meeting if they register for the Racecourse Postcode Lottery scheme before the day – all postcodes throughout Yorkshire will be able to get tickets to specific meetings throughout the year. Full details are available on the website at .

Contact:           Richard Hammill (Assistant Manager/Clerk of the Course) 01977 781307