Three of those wins came at the West Yorkshire track and the race always throws up a useful juvenile, writes Richard Hammill.
Despite some inclement weather, there was a decent crowd at the course to cheer on their winners – with current leading jockey, William Buick, collecting a hat trick of wins.
With the champion jockey elect Buick making a rare visit to Pontefract, punters were quick to latch on to his five rides.
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He was aboard the odds on favourite, Changing Colours, in the feature race for trainer Charlie Appleby and things looked to be going to plan as he hit the front inside the final furlong but he had no answer to the final push of Roger Fell’s Shandy Star, who won, going away, by 1¾ lengths.
The winner had established a good level of form in Listed races and showed her class. The runner-up has subsequently been gelded, suggesting that connections were not happy that his full concentration was on the job in hand!
There was better luck to come for Buick, though, as he won the next three races on Wagga Wagga, Western Stars and Commandment.
The hat-trick kicked off when Hughie Morrison’s Wagga Wagga was a decisive and impressive winner of the 1m4f Handicap. The three-year-old had started his career against subsequent Derby winner Desert Crown! He’s been steadily improving and this 7½ length win earmarked him as a colt to follow.
Hughie Morrison has few runners at Ponte but has a fantastic strike rate and this son of Australia went into many notebooks with the jockey suitably impressed.
Trainer Ed Dunlop provided Buick with his next two wins. Western Stars had been running against some decent handicappers of late and showed that he was a strong stayer at the trip when drawing away in the closing stages despite looking as though he was momentarily in trouble. It was, however, plain sailing for Commandment who was never really seriously pressed and drew away to score by 1 ¾ lengths.
The 5f sprint had looked a competitive affair on paper and so it proved as all six runners were only separated by a length with a furlong to run. It was, however, Richard Fahey’s daughter of Mayson, Lady Celia, who showed the best turn of foot to win going away by 1½ lengths for Oisin McSweeney, winner of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Future Stars Apprentice Series.
Runner-up Havagomecca meant that William Buick left the track with three wins and two seconds.
The card was bookended by two winners for trainer David and Mick Easterby as Bavardages and Late Arrival took the spoils. Serena Brotherton continued her superb record in races for female amateur jockeys as Bavardages was always travelling conspicuously well and sprinted clear to win by five lengths in the opener. Joanna Mason, who had partnered Bavardages last time out, won the finale on board Late Arrival, who was winning on turf for the first time.
Pontefract's next meeting is The Pipalong Stakes Raceday on Tuesday. Gates open at 12 noon with the first race due off at 2:15pm. The feature is the Listed Pipalong Stakes – always a fiercely competitive affair offering fillies and mares a final chance to get that all important ‘Black Type’ on their racing career.
For more details about upcoming events visit the course’s website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk or call 01977 781307.