totepool SEASON FINALE

After a great Summer of racing, the 2017 season comes to a close at Pontefract on Monday 23rd October. The final meeting ends what has been a fantastic year at the West Yorkshire track with some memorable racing. And the final raceday is no different with a top class Listed 2 year old race on the card.
The 25th running of the Listed totepool EBF Silver Tankard Stakes has an impressive roll of honour with past winners including Comic Strip, who won the 2004 renewal for Sir Mark Prescott before being sold to race in Hong Kong and becoming one of the most successful horses in their history. D’Bai took the honours in 2016 for Charlie Appleby and the Godolphin team – who’ll add their name to the trophy in 2017?
The main supporting race is the totepool Phil Bull Trophy Conditions Stakes. The race has a rich history of producing high class stayers – last year’s contest was taken by Mark Johnston’s Oriental Fox who won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the year. This race also marks the final leg of the 2017 Pontefract Stayers’ Championship. There are still 3 horses in with a chance of winning – previous winner, Tuscan Gold, heads the way from La Fritillaire and Madam Lilibet who have both been in excellent form at recent meetings.
A mile is a long way for youngsters to run and the opening race – a 1m nursery handicap for 2yos – often highlights a horse with stamina abundance. Mount Moriah took the contest last season and he’s been a revelation this year with thirds in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and the Irish St Leger.
There are still a few places available on the totepool Punters Package on Monday. For just £42, punters will be able to secure a place in the VIP totepool Suite in the Dalby Stand boxes with hot buffet, guest speaker and use of the private viewing balconies! To book, go online to www.pontefract-races.co.uk or give us a call on 01977 781307.
The Racecourse continues to run the Yorkshire Postcode Lottery. The scheme gives racegoers from Yorkshire the chance to come racing in the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure for free. The last meeting of the season is again part of the promotion, and punters with postcodes from Bradford will be eligible for cheap entry on the last day.
There’ll also be a chance to buy some early Christmas presents too as the Injured Jockeys Fund will have their stand on course. You’ll also be able to purchase your 2018 Annual Badge at the 2017 price!
The action gets underway for the final time in 2017 at 2.20pm with gates opening at midday.

SPRING’ HAS AUTUMN TARGET AT YORK

SPRING Loaded is ready to be unleashed once more with his trainer Paul D’Arcy’s sights set on the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy handicap at York on Saturday.

The five-year-old gelding delivered a power-packed performance in securing a three-and-half length win in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last month.

It was a victory that suggested D’Arcy’s charge is every bit as good on the turf as he is on the all-weather.

Newmarket-based D’Arcy said: “He’s rated 105 on the all-weather so he’s a good horse. But people have pigeon-holed him as an all-weather horse and he’s not. I know he’s just as good on turf as he is on the all-weather.

“Things went right for him (at Doncaster). The draw was right and the ground dried out – just on the soft side of ‘good’, probably.

“Everything went right for him, which happens with sprinters. Sometimes you have to be patient.

“He came out of that race well and I always had this race at York in mind for him. I think the track will suit him.

“I ride him every day – we’ve had this partnership for four years. Like a lot of sprinters, the older they get, the better they get. I think there’s still some improvement in him.”

The race sponsors, Coral, have Spring Loaded as 7/1 favourite

Offering each way value at 16/1 would be the Ruth Carr-trained Pipers Note, who was fifth on Town Moor last month.

The leading Yorkshire-trained contender could well be Flying Pursuit. Tim Easterby’s charge won over course and distance in the Sky Bet Dash in late July, though the handicapper has had his say after this and a further success at Ripon.

Saturday’s seven-race card also includes the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes – a six-furlong Listed race for two-year-olds offering £50,000 in prize money.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk

HAGGAS TARGETS YORK’S TOP TRAINER CROWN

WILLIAM Haggas is aiming to fulfil a career ambition on Saturday by becoming top trainer at York for the season.

The Skipton-born, if Newmarket-based trainer has recorded 12 winners on the Knavesmire in 2017 – three more than his fellow Yorkshireman and nearest rival, Tim Easterby.

Both stables will be well represented at York’s season-concluding two-day meeting – worth £465,000 – which gets underway on Friday. Haggas, 57, said: “I always wanted to, one day, be leading trainer at York one season. We nearly did it a couple of years ago and got done on the last day when David O’Meara had four winners in the last two meetings. This year, it looks as though – with a bit of luck – it’s only Tim that’s the danger.”

Haggas expects to run “three or four each day”, including The Grand Visir in the £100,000 Unibet Handicap on Friday and, the following afternoon, Raucous in the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy. He is also planning on being double-handed in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes – a six-furlong Listed race for two-year-olds, worth £50,000.

He said: “In the past, we’ve not really had a plethora of runners – we’ve just been very lucky. But this time, we’re going to run a few, primarily because we’d obviously like to try and win. I think we’ll have three or four each day. But it’s quite late in the day.”

Tulip Fever, who won at Yarmouth last time, is declared in Friday’s opener – the TSG Paul Beioley Memorial Nursery Handicap. Zwayan, successful at Ascot last Friday, is turned out quickly again for the second race on the card – the unibet.co.uk Handicap.

In Friday’s feature, the mile and three-quarters Unibet Handicap, The Grand Visir returns to York after finishing fifth over course and distance in the Betfred Melrose Handicap during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. Haggas said: “The Grand Visir ran a very good race in the Melrose. He hasn’t run since but he’s in good form and we’ve had this race in mind for a while.”

Saturday’s Coral Sprint Trophy is the plan for Raucous who has run well in a series of high-profile races this summer without getting his head in front. His last success was back in April on the all-weather at Chelmsford.
Haggas said: “He has got plenty of talent – it just hasn’t fallen his way. We’ll just see how he goes but he could easily surprise – he’s one of those. He’s in really good form and looks great, too.”

Barton Mills, winner of a Kempton novices’ race in late September will come back in trip for the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes. Stable-mate Island Drive – beaten favourite at Nottingham two months ago on her last start – is set to join him in the race. Haggas said: “Barton Mills has run twice and run well over seven furlongs. The jockey (Martin Harley) is very keen to try him at six, so we’re giving it a go in a Listed race.”

Haggas has been in contention to land the Charles Clinkard backed top trainer crown for 2017 since the Dante Festival where he landed a big-race triumph with Tasleet. The sprint ace was successful in the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. “He was marvellous,” said Haggas, nominating Tasleet’s win as his favourite from his dozen so far at York this season.

The trainer summed up: “York means a lot to a lot of people. It’s a great track, always packed and just a very good atmosphere. It’s a very fair racecourse; very few hard luck stories and very often the best horse wins. Now they’ve got the track drained properly, it has made it so much better. We race on lovely ground. They do a great job – it’s first class.”

Full coverage of every race in the conclusion of the season long championship is available on Racing UK.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk