Pontefract Racecourse season is under way with first meeting of 2022

The racing year at Pontefract got under way on Tuesday with racegoers out in force as they were able to attend the season opener for the first time since 2019.

By Tony Harber
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 11:37 am
Updated Thursday, 7th April 2022, 11:38 am
Chiellini, ridden by Connor Beasley, was an impressive winner at Pontefract's first meeting of the year. Picture: Alan Wright
Chiellini, ridden by Connor Beasley, was an impressive winner at Pontefract's first meeting of the year. Picture: Alan Wright

The feature race was the Yorkshire Wonder Horse Search is On Handicap and the race went the way of the father and daughter team of David and Nicola Barron whose Baryshnikov took the £25,000 race in great style, beating some well fancied raiders from Newmarket in the process, writes Richard Hammill.

John Gosden had won the race in 2021 with subsequent Group 3 winner Waldkonig and his Peter The Great was fancied to win again for the yard. Similarly, Charlie Fellowes is reported to be expecting great things this season from Injazati, but neither could cope with the finishing kick of the locally trained winner who came from last to first under an ice cool ride from Connor Beasley.

The win gave the jockey a double on the day following a debut success for Michael Dods’ Chiellini who looked like the ultimate professional on his first run.

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Savvy Victory, ridden by Tom Marquand, strode away in eyecatching style at Pontefract and looks one to follow in 2022. Picture: Alan Wright

The winner is a half brother to the speedy Que Amoro and had been working well with Dods’ Listed winner, Brunch, before his first racecourse appearance. He looks like a horse to follow and picked up the well fancied and experienced Fast and Loose to win by a neck.

There was very nearly a treble for jockey Connor Beasley when Little Jo was touched off in the last race by Shaun Lycett’s Stately Home for jockey Josephine Gordon.

The winner had fitness on his side having been running on the all weather and powered up the straight to get the better of the runner up who was the first runner for former jockey Gemma Tutty.

The EBF High-Rise Maiden has a rich history with Derby winner High-Rise taking this race on route to Epsom. When he was in training with Luca Cumani, there was a fire in the yard and High-Rise escaped but was, thankfully, caught by Sean Woods and it was Sean who sent out the hugely impressive Savvy Victory to win the 2022 renewal.

The three-year-old was Tom Marquand’s only ride of the day and the winner strode away in eyecatching style. Savvy Victory is entered in both the Dante and the Derby and a trip to York could be on the cards.

The first round of the 2022 Stayers Championship remembered course favourite Jamaican Flight, who won four times at the track at the turn of the century. The handicap race over 2m2f was won this year by Tony Carroll’s Be My Sea who made every yard of the running and gamely fought off all his rivals, very much in the same style as the horse who the race was named after.

One of the most impressive performances on the day came from Pocket The Profit for George Boughey and Ben Curtis. The winner had won four times as a two-year-old and has clearly improved for his three-year-old career as he sprinted clear to win by an easy 4¾ lengths. The Stewards Cup is reportedly the target for a little later in the season.

The opening race on the card went the way of Magna Moralia for trainer John Quinn and winning owners The Desperados. The winner came from last to first under a confident ride from apprentice Rhys Clutterbuck.

The next meeting is on Monday and features the Pontefract Marathon over 2m5f – making it the longest handicap race run on the flat in this country, Tickets are available from pontefract-races.co.uk