The feature race on a valuable racing programme was the £50,000 Weatherbys Pipalong Stakes run over a mile, writes Richard Hammill.
A field of eight fillies and mares lined up in a race named after one of the sprinting stars of the north in the 90s, Pipalong, who won a number of Group races and big handicaps during her career for trainer Tim Easterby.
While the Easterby team were not represented in the 2022 renewal, there was a classy looking line-up with many Royal Ascot form lines well represented. Rising Star had won the Kensington Stakes at the Royal meeting while Thunder Beauty had finished runner-up in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes. To add spice to the mix, Dubai Love had won the UAE 1,000 Guineas as a three-year-old and Let’s was brought over from the Ken Condon yard in Ireland.
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There was a hugely impressive winner, though, with David O’Meara’s Thunder Beauty appreciating the drop-in grade and skipping clear of her field to win by a superb five lengths.
The winner has been improving rapidly since joining the North Yorkshire trainer and Danny Tudhope was thrilled to get a win into the four-year-old. She is likely to take a step back up in class and can make her mark in decent races.
The runner-up spot went to the Irish raider, Let’s, who is likely to have run her last race before leaving to become a broodmare - she is currently in foal to Kodi Bear!
The £20k Northern Commercials Handicap was the chief supporting race on the card and the Easterbys were on the scoresheet on Pipalong Stakes raceday when Lampang ran out a tidy winner of the 6f handicap.
The winner had finished sixth in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and was always travelling ominously well. William Easterby reported that the winner is a strong travelling sort who would appreciate an easier track. He is likely to go for the Stewards Cup at Goodwood next and could well be one of the leading fancies.
There was a strong favourite for the Ben and Mary Hibbert Memorial Maiden as Sir Michael Stoute sent the Juddmonte owned Chimed to the track. With William Buick booked to ride, big things were expected but the 4-11 favourite, a son of Frankel, finished weakly and was well held in fifth. Ed Bethell and Kevin Stott teamed up to win the race with Chillingham, who showed marked improvement on his debut to run out a comfortable winner.
One of the most impressive winners on the card was the Richard Fahey trained Solar Joe who scooted clear to register a five- length victory. He has clearly had some training problems but he appreciated the fast pace and stayed on strongly to draw clear of his toiling rivals.
Wor Willie registered the biggest winning margin on the day when quickening well clear for the Mulrennan / Dods team to score by 7 ½ lengths.
Nick Bradley racing unearthed another two-year-old winner when their Riverside Girl took the opening two-year-old handicap for Clifford Lee and Karl Burke. In a protracted battle up the home straight, the winner put her nose in front on the line to deny Glendown.
The runner-up was improving markedly for running in his first handicap and it will not be long before he is on the scoresheet for the Easterby team.
The final race on the card was the Atlas Handicap and Nigel Tinkler saddled three of the eight runners including the well backed favourite, Vaunted. The betting market indicated a bold showing was expected and he did not disappoint his supporters with Lewis Edmunds simply having to do the steering on the market leader.
The next race meeting at Pontefract is the final evening meeting of the season on Friday eve 15th July. After 6 races, the fantastic Re-Take That will take to the stage to entertain the crowds. For those who prefer to listen from the sidelines, there are local breweries displaying their wares in the Beer Festival area. Further information can be found on the website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk