Pontefract Racecourse looks to future on National Horseracing College Charity Day

Pontefract Racecourse staged their 33rd National Horseracing College Charity Day this week when they traditionally look to the future stars of racing, both human and equine.

By Tony Harber
Friday, 29th April 2022, 12:05 pm

The National Horseracing 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 and provides the ideal opportunity to nurture the grass roots and future of the sport, writes Richard Hammill.

The apprentices kicked proceedings off with the third round of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Future Stars series. King of Tonga was a well backed favourite to follow up his course win earlier in April and he travelled well and scored cosily in the hands of Zak Wheatley for trainer Declan Carroll.

Zak’s win moves him into second place in the series, just one point behind Ryan Sexton who finished well down the field on Birkenhead.

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King Of Tonga, ridden by Zak Wheatley, wins the opening race at Pontefract's latest meeting. Picture: Alan Wright

There looked to be a couple of smart novices on display during the day.

Yahsat got the ball rolling for the combination of Karl Burke and Clifford Lee. She had made her debut in a hot race at Newmarket, failing by just a head to repel a well regarded filly from the Hannon yard but she made no mistake on this occasion, quickening nicely to win by an easy five lengths.

She is held in high esteem by the trainer and a trip to Royal Ascot could be on the cards.

Missed The Cut had also made his debut at Newmarket earlier in the month, finishing fourth behind a couple of Godolphin Derby entrants. Despite dropping in trip, he did not meet any rivals of the same calibre and won in impressive fashion by 11 lengths for the George Boughey yard.

Global Spirit, under Jason Hart's ride, wins the Sportrack Synthetic Surfaces Supports The NHC Handicap. Picture: Alan Wright

Tim Easterby has his string in fine form at the moment and his Carrigillihy maintained his unbeaten record at Pontefract when taking the 1m2f handicap under Jason Hart.

The imposing grey son of New Bay was never far off the pace and, with his proven stamina, was not for passing once he had taken up the running at the furlong marker. He may still have room for manoeuvre in his handicap mark and could be one to keep an eye on.

Jason Hart made it a double on the day when he steered Global Spirit to victory in the best finish of the day. Three horses flashed passed the post in a line but it was Roger Fell’s gelding who had his head down at the right time.

Paul and Oliver Cole sent one runner on the long journey from Whatcombe to Pontefract but Leap Abroad made the journey home much quicker having easily won the 6f handicap.

The Middleham Park Racing owned three-year-old was quickly into his stride under 7lb claimer Mohammed Tabti and was never in danger of being reeled in. The official margin of 4¼ lengths does not really do justice to his superiority.

The biggest field of the day assembled for the 1m handicap finale and it was a day that trainer Craig Lidster will never forget as he recorded his first ever success when his Divine Connection bravely repelled all her challengers in the final furlong. Sam James teamed up with the mare for the Newgen Racing Group who celebrated in style after the win.

The next meeting at Pontefract is Disco Night on Friday, May27 when the incredible Sister Sledge will perform after racing. Tickets are still available and are currently on sale via the website (pontefract-races.co.uk).