Pontefract Racecourse

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Pontefract
Pontefract Racecourse seen from Park Hill, Pontefract - geograph.org.uk - 250564.jpg
Racecourse as seen from Park Hill, Pontefract
Location Pontefract, West Yorkshire
Coordinates 53°42′04″N 1°20′17″W / 53.701°N 1.338°W / 53.701; -1.338Coordinates: 53°42′04″N 1°20′17″W / 53.701°N 1.338°W / 53.701; -1.338
Owned by Pontefract Park Race Company Ltd.
Screened on Racing UK
Course type Flat
Official website

Pontefract Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England.

Layout[edit]

The track is left-handed with a sharp bend into the home straight. Horses drawn low (i.e. on the inside of the track) usually have the advantage. The final 3 furlongs of the track are uphill, making it quite testing.

The course was originally a horseshoe of 1 1/2 miles, but in 1983, it was converted into a full circuit of 2 1/2 miles. This made it the longest continuous flat racing circuit in Europe and allowed it to stage one of the longest races in the calendar at 2 miles 5 furlongs.[1] Pontefract retained this distinction until York Racecourse completed its circuit for the holding of the Royal Ascot festival in 2005. However, whilst York remains a 'circuit', there are no races held around the new link; it is therefore open to debate whether Pontefract has retained its status in this regard.

History[edit]

The racecourse grandstand

Racing is recorded as having taken place in Pontefract as early as 1648, just before the local Castle was taken by the forces of Oliver Cromwell. Races were held in the meadows near the town but these were discontinued by 1769.[2] The townsfolk restarted the sport in 1801 and it has continued ever since.[3] In 1827 the races were held in September and reported as being very fashionably attended.[2]

While it cannot "claim to be one of Yorkshire's major courses"[3] it was used for some major races during World War II when other courses were out of action. These included the war substitute Lincoln and November Handicaps.

Pontefract installed a photo finish in 1952 and was also the first English course to have a dope testing facility.[3]

Facts and figures[edit]

Flat[edit]

  • Number of fixtures (2012) - 15[4]
  • Prize money (2012) - £731,810[4]
  • Top trainer (2007 - 2011 inc.) - Richard Fahey, 28 wins from 213 races[5]

Notable races[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wright 1986, p. 225.
  2. ^ a b Fox 1827, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c Mortimer, Onslow & Willett 1978, p. 468.
  4. ^ a b "Racecourse League Tables". Racehorse Owners Association. 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Timeform. Racecourse Maps Flat (Report). Portman Press. p. 11. http://www.timeform.com.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]