Category Archives: Pontefract


Evening meetings are always extremely popular at Pontefract and the first of three this season is 80s Night on Friday Evening 24th May. It’s the first of two Music Nights (the other being on Friday Evening 19th July) and with one of the world’s biggest international male soloists from the 80s, Billy Ocean, playing after the last race, it promises to be the best 80’s Night yet!

Billy Ocean has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime to date. With number one hits in the UK, USA, Australia, Germany and Holland, he’s achieved extraordinary success as both an artist and songwriter.

Born in Trinidad, Billy settled in London’s East End when he was just seven and was quickly inspired by the likes of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
His first big break came when ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ reached No. 2 in the UK charts and No. 12 in the US. Other huge hits, including ‘Red Light Spells Danger’, followed on, before the million selling, Grammy Award winning, US Number 1 ‘Caribbean Queen’, ‘Loverboy’ and ‘Suddenly’.

There were even more huge hits with ‘When The Going Gets Tough (the tough get going)’ and ‘There’ll Be Sad Songs (to make you cry)’ before the now classic ‘Get Outta My Dreams; Get Into My Car’ gave Billy his third US No. 1.

With a back catalogue like this, the 24th May promises to be one of the best music nights that Pontefract has ever seen! With tickets limited, Racegoers are encouraged to secure their place early.

On the track, the highlight is the 6 furlong £25,000 EBF VW Van Centre [Leeds] Ltd Youngsters Conditions Stakes. There is an impressive list of previous winners and last year’s victor, Ninetythreetwenty, went on to finish 6th to Calyx at Royal Ascot and has now been sold to continue his racing career in Hong Kong. The race always attracts some interesting and precocious juveniles looking to stake their claim for Royal Ascot glory the following month.

The Racecourse welcome back Alamo Business Systems, Constant Security and Napoleons Casino Bradford who are all continuing their generous sponsorship of races at the West Yorkshire track.

There’s also a special mention for Virginia Beardsley who will be celebrating a very special birthday at the Course on this day!

If you’re bringing a car to this meeting, don’t forget to pick up your voucher for two free bottles of Harrogate Spa Spring Water 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 1st May is a day when Pontefract traditionally looks to the future stars of racing, both human and equine. It’s the 30th Annual Northern Racing College Charity Day!

The race meeting is unique in the fact that the majority of the card sees races sponsored by different bookmakers who 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, a regular in Group 1 races in Hong Kong in recent years. Kevin Ryan took the race with Celebrity Dancer last year who himself looks to be pretty smart and went on to be placed in the valuable Goffs yearling sales race at York. In fact, Kevin Ryan could be a trainer to keep an eye out for on this day – he trained three winners on this day last year with Kings Full and Savannah Moon adding to his tally!

The 3yo Maiden on the card also has a rich history – John Gosden’s Royal Ascot winner ‘Remote’ made his debut in this a few years ago while last year, Mark Johnston’s Making Miracles was just touched off before continuing rapid improvement throughout the season running in some of the most competitive long distance handicaps around at Royal Ascot and York. We’ll be on the lookout for another superstar to hit the Ponte turf this year.

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 Foxtrot Knight was ridden by Sebastian Woods. The jockey now rides for the yard of champion Pontefract trainer, Richard Fahey.

As always seems to be the case, Fahey himself had a winner on the card last year and if he can win again this year he will unlock the “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 2018 Champion Jockey) rides a winner at the course in 2019.

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.


There’s a quick turnaround in the race meetings at Pontefract with the second meeting of the season taking place on Monday 15th April when the equine equivalent of the London Marathon, the Pontefract Marathon, is one of the highlights on a 7 race card.

The first two year race of the season at Pontefract is The Farmer Copleys GFF Farm Shop of the Year 2019 EBF Novice Stakes. The race title celebrates the new partnership between the Racecourse and award winning local Farm Shop Farmer Copleys, who will be supplying a luxury Yorkshire hamper to the winning connections in every race at Pontefract in 2019. The race went the way of John Quinn’s ‘Carey Street’ in 2018. Trainer John Quinn will be hosting Pontefract Annual Badge Holders on the yearly stable visit later in the season.

There’s £25k up for grabs in the RIU Hotels and Resorts Handicap. The race was fought out by Foolaad and El Astronaute last year with the former just getting the better of the argument. It’s a race that always throws up future winners and is one to keep an eye on. RIU Hotels and Resorts will be back at Pontefract later in the year when they sponsor the Best Dressed Lady competition in August. This year, the winning lady will win an all inclusive holiday to Jamaica!

The ‘Into The Sky’ Pontefract Marathon Handicap – run over 2m5½ furlongs – is the longest flat race handicap run in the country and forms the second leg of the Stayers Championship. Micky Hammond has been farming the series in recent years and he has several horses in mind for the 2019 Championship. The ‘Into The Sky’ Company are a group of young adults with learning difficulties who currently use the Racecourse every Friday for their music and drama rehearsals.

The 6f Maiden has thrown up some decent winners in the past and David O’Meara has won divisions of the race in the last two years with Black Isle Boy in 2017 and Three Saints Bay in 2018. Trainers love to target races that they’ve been successful in in the past and any representative from the O’Meara yard should be noted. This race is run in honour of long standing member of staff, Richard Pemberton, who has worked at the track for 30 years, including a spell as Head Groundsman. We hope that he has a very long and happy retirement.

Napoleons Casino Bradford return to Pontefract for the third year with a programme of another 5 sponsored races at the track in 2019. While the Golden Horseracing Club sponsor two races on the card promoting racehorse ownership with their fantastic club.

The Racecourse are continuing their Postcode Lottery promotion in 2019 and those living in York can pick up a free ticket for this meeting if they register before the day. All postcodes throughout Yorkshire will be able to get tickets to specific meetings throughout the year.

There’s never been a better reason to go racing more often!