Pontefract’s opening meeting of 2006 – the first of the course’s 16-day campaign on the Flat this year – takes place on Tuesday (April 4) with a seven-race programme starting at 2-20 p.m.
The feature races are The Pontefract Park Handicap Stakes, a contest over one mile offering prize money of £18,000 and won last year by Nero’s Return, trained at Middleham by Mark Johnston, who was Pontefract’s leading trainer last season, while The High-Rise Handicap Stakes over one mile and a quarter (prize money of £15,000) is named after the 1998 Derby winner, High-Rise, who was successful in this equivalent race that year prior to winning at Epsom.
The third Pontefract Stayers’ Championship is launched with The Jamaican Flight Handicap Stakes, a contest over two and a quarter miles. Named after one of the most consistent stayers seen at Pontefract in recent years, Jamaican Flight is trained in Lincolnshire by Sue Lamyman and owned by her husband, Peter. Somewhat appropriately, Mrs. Lamyman has won both of the Pontefract Stayers’ Championships to date, courtesy of her popular mare, Vicars Destiny, in this competition which incorporates all eight races for stayers during Pontefract’s season.
For the fifth year, The Yorkshire Racing Club sponsor a contest for maiden three-year-olds at the opening meeting to complement their continued support for the leading trainer and jockey awards of the season at Pontefract.
Tuesday’s card also includes Round One of The betfair.com Apprentice Series for 2006. This competition, sponsored for the fifth year by the leading sports betting exchange company, Betfair, consists of five races held exclusively at Pontefract for apprentice jockeys who at the start of the British turf Flat season (which began on March 22), had not ridden more than ten winners.
Now in its 20th year, this popular series for young riders is based on a points system, with the leading jockey at the end of the competition in September receiving a prize of a fortnight’s working holiday at Gulfstream Park, Miami next winter with a top United States trainer. Last year’s series winner, Tolley Dean was based in Florida with trainer, Carl Nafzger.
The giant totesport screen situated opposite the main grandstands, will assist racegoers in following all of the action.