Category Archives: Pontefract

totepool Flat Cap & Whippet Family Day

The first Family Day of the season at Pontefract is just around the corner on Sunday 24th June. A hugely popular event, it’s the annual totepool Flat Cap & Whippet Family Day.

Not only do we have Pontefract Races, but there is an England World Cup game on Sunday 24th June as well. But the Racecourse are all geared up for it and are providing live coverage in between races on the big screens and have also got a dedicated World Cup Marquee providing uninterrupted coverage of the game throughout the afternoon.

There’s an action packed day ahead with activities getting underway when the gates open at 11.30am. Whippets from the Yorkshire Pedigree Whippet Racing Club will take to the Racecourse between 12.30pm and 1.30pm 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!

It’s worth dusting off that old Flat Cap from the back of the wardrobe as well. The first 500 people through the turnstiles wearing a flat cap will win a spot prize of either a tote voucher, a drinks voucher or a racecard!

As has become tradition on Sundays at Pontefract, there are lots of things going on for young racegoers in the Picnic Enclosure. With kids rides, a circus, face painting and free activity books and racecards, there’s plenty to keep the little ones occupied while mum and dad enjoy some top class racing. 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’s also free Pony rides as well – plenty to keep even the most active little ones occupied!

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 and bring you 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, totepool sponsor all 7 races with the highlight being the £50,000 Listed totepool Pontefract Castle Fillies’ Stakes. The race was won last year by Abingdon who stormed home by an impressive 10 lengths for Ryan Moore and Sir Michael Stoute. She then went on to finish 3rd in a Group 2 in France and Group 3 in Ireland later in the year. Where will the 2018 winner be campaigned?

The 2018 Pontefract Stayers Championship is shaping up to be a really competitive affair and Round 4 is the totetrifecta Pontefract Cup. Micky Hammonds Tuscan Gold won the overall championship last year and the trainer has the current leader in this year’s competition with Becky The Thatcher who looks to have a great season ahead of her!

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 ( or give them a call on 01977 781307. Racing gets underway at 2.00pm, and the gates open at 11.30am!


Evening meetings are always extremely popular at Pontefract and the first of three this season is 80s Night on Friday Evening 25th May. It’s the first of two Music Nights (the other being on Friday Evening 20th July) and with one of the worlds biggest international female soloists from the 80s, Belinda Carlisle playing after the last race, it promises to be the best 80’s Night yet!
Over the last three decades Belinda Carlisle has made the journey from Hollywood-based teen punk with the Go-Gos to the ultimate global pop icon with a series of sophisticated, but instantly memorable pop-rock singles. It was ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ that Belinda achieved international success. It was a number one on both sides of the Atlantic and launched the start of an incredible solo career. With huge hits such as ‘Circle In The Sand’, ‘Live Your Life Be Free’ and ‘Do You Feel Like I Feel’, this years 80s Night is going to be a brilliant evening of good fun and nostalgia and lots of laughs!
With a tour of America planned over the Summer of 2018, Pontefract Racecourse will be one of the only chances to catch Belinda Carlisle in the UK this year.
On track, the highlight is the 6 furlong £25,000 EBF Youngsters Conditions Stakes. With an impressive list of previous runners (including last year’s winner, Rufus King, who went on to win at Ascot and Newmarket) it always attracts some interesting and 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 this card. Mutadaffeq won one of these races last year for trainer David O’Meara, and then came back to win on Ladies Day three months later.
Napoleons Casino Bradford sponsor the Fillies Handicap over 1m2f. It was won last year by the Mark Johnston trained Bonnie Arlene who went on to win at Sandown and Musselburgh in 2017. Get Up And Dance was the appropriately named winner in 2016 and there’ll be plenty of racegoers doing that in 2018 when Belinda Carlisle takes to the stage.
If you’re bringing a car to this meeting, don’t forget to pick up your voucher for two free bottles of water. Keep an eye out for the Ponte team handing out vouchers in the car parks. You’ll be able to redeem these at any of the ‘Designated Driver’ points around the Racecourse.
It’s going to be a fantastic night of racing, laughter, music and 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 still discounted tickets available. The Premier Enclosure badges are currently £23 while Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure tickets are £15 – both prices include the concert after racing. Entrance tickets bought on the night will be full price (£25 and £17 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.


Wednesday 2nd May is a day when Pontefract traditionally looks to the future stars of racing, both human and equine. It’s the 29th Annual Northern Racing College Charity Day!

The entire race meeting is unique in the fact that the majority of the card sees races sponsored by William Hill, Sky Bet, Coral and Ladbrokes. All these bookmakers traditionally set aside their commercial rivalry on this day in order to encourage the grass roots and future of the sport.

The Northern Racing College, based just outside Doncaster, was set up in 1984 and provides a range of courses at all levels for people who are looking at the horseracing industry as a future career. It also offers those currently in the business the chance to develop their qualifications and skills.

The racing on the day casts an eye to future stars. The opening 2yo Novice Stakes, sponsored by EBF and William Hill is historically an informative event. The race was won a few years ago by the subsequent globetrotting superstar, Peniaphobia, who won another Group 2 in Hong Kong last year.  Tony Coyle took the contest in 2017 with Brandy Station who maybe didn’t have the same pedigree as Peniaphobia but has been in the frame a couple of times since and is now trained by Lisa Williamson.

The 3yo Sky Bet Maiden also has a rich history – John Gosden’s Royal Ascot winner ‘Remote’ made his debut in this a few years ago while last year, Mudaarab trained by Sir Michael Stoute won by a length and then went onto win at Goodwood under the same margin. We’ll be on the lookout for another superstar to hit the Ponte turf this year.

Coral sponsor the 1m Handicap again this year. With last year’s winner Melodic Motion going on to be 2nd in a Group 2 at Doncaster, there could be some exciting horses to follow this time round.

Again, looking ahead to the stars of tomorrow, the card concludes with the 3rd Round of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Future Stars Apprentice Handicap. Last year’s winner Oriental Relation was ridden by Callum Rodriguez. The jockey had a cracking season last year which was topped off by ridding Nakeeta to victory in the Ebor at York.

The 6f Ladbrokes Handicap Stakes was won last year by our Champion Trainer Richard Fahey when Gin In The Inn, a real Ponte favourite, took the honours. If Fahey can win this race again this year he will unlock our “It’s Champion” Promotion, where for half an hour after the winner has been announced a special offer will be available to all racegoers on course. This promotion also applies if Danny Tudhope (Pontefract 2017 Champion Jockey) rides a winner at the course in 2018.

The Racecourse Postcode Lottery gives the opportunity for anyone based in Sheffield to come racing for free. By sending a Stamped Addressed envelope to the Racecourse, residents can get a ticket to the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure (Only 100 tickets available).

The Racecourse will once again be offering discounted tickets to those who book in advance – see for more information.