This is a relatively new encounter, that was introduced in 2003. Red Bloom (2005) is probably the best known former champion. Sir Michael Stoute’s inmate also won the Fillies’ Mile, the Strensall Stakes and the Blandford Stakes. James Fanshawe’s Spirit Raiser was the victor, in 2016.
Roger Varian’s Dawn Of Hope is likely to go-off as favourite. The Mastercraftsman-sired filly hasn’t won for well over a year, but she ran well enough in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes to suggest that she has the beating of her rivals today.
Pirouette, who is trained by Hughie Morrison, looks the main danger. She was runner-up in the Listed Fillies’ Stakes at Musselburgh and the horse that beat her (Unforgetable Filly) is highly regarded.
Permission, Summer Icon, Home Cummins and Lincoln Rocks all appear to have a good chance of at least placing, although David O’Meara’s Coillte Cailin does look held in this sort of company.
Racing At Pontefract
Pontefract Racecourse is in West Yorkshire. It has a left-handed track which is notable for the very tight bend that the runners must navigate when approaching the home straight.
It was a one and a half mile horseshoe-shaped course until the mid-1980s. A radical redesign converted the track into a complete circuit of two and a half miles. At the time, this decision raised a great deal of eyebrows, as it instantly made Pontefract the longest flat-racing circuit in the whole of Europe!
This distinction was held until York Racecourse produced an even longer circuit, in time for the Royal Ascot Festival that was held there in the mid-1990s (a time when Ascot was undergoing major reconstruction work also). However, while the York circuit is still in place, no fixtures are held around the new link. Pontefract houses the largest circuit that is currently in use.
Pontefract’s Racing Heritage
The first Pontefract races took place in the middle part of the Seventeenth-Century, shortly before Cromwell’s army took over the castle. Back then, there was no official course and the races took place on fields. By 1769, the action at Pontefract had petered out and it wasn’t until the start of the 19th Century that horse racing returned here.
Pontefract is regarded as a fairly minor racing venue, even within the bounds of Yorkshire. However, it does still hold some fairly important races, including the Silver Tankard Stakes, the Pipalong Stakes, the Pomfret Stakes and the Pontefract Castle Stakes.
The Flying Fillies Stakes is a relatively new addition, having only been launched in 1998. The event is for runners aged three years and above.
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