Pontefract (West Yorkshire)
Flat (2miles, tough track requiring stamina as last 6f are uphill.)
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (3 hrs – two changes)
Bus from (Metro line buses stop outside the park)
Railway station to Racecourse : Pontefract Tanshelf is close to the entrance to the Park. The other two stations Monkhill and Baghill are in Pontefract and 2 - 3 miles away
Taxis – Excellent work from Action Cars to get us there and back. All interactions tracked by text, which was appreciated in the rain.
Two main grandstands plus the Dalby stand. There are standard and premier areas enclosures, multiple bars, restaurants and several tote offices including stand alone and in bars.
We stayed at the WentBridge house hotel. As they say in the adverts, other hotels are available, but honestly, don’t bother, this place rocks; #ServiceToDieFor
Standard and premier tickets, discount in advance, but also a picnic area alongside the track, student and concessions on the day.
(2) Return before challenge complete
19th June 2016 – UK Tracks Visited (13)
It’s a funny thing, but now having been to a number of family days, it is one of those things that can fill the Hoofs with terror. Junior, the Princess and the tiny academic are all a barrel of fun, but we try to avoid other children. Quite often, a family day means the racing takes a back seat while the “yuff” are encouraged to follow the noble art through face-painting, bouncy castles and hobby horses (sounds a bit like AP in the saddle to be honest). In the case of Pontefract, they got a family day spot on. At the far end of the site (well away from Madam Hoof and the champagne bar, her chest is improving, thank you for asking) was the fun fair. This meant that the children could be introduced to racing without it getting in the way of the racing.
The layout is a lovely one, which although as the paddock at the rear do the stand, it does provide the opportunity to see the horses taken down to the track through the middle of the premier enclosure. A fabulous opportunity for Sir Hoof to take photos and Madam Hoof to shout at Andrea Atzeni and Franny Norton (two days running and Franny probably thinks he is being stalked by a mad woman).
There is a wonderful champagne bar (yes I know, superfluous adjectives for this form of establishment) and they lovingly looked after our treasure in between races. The face is that the bar is in a rather opportune position. If you walk out the side, you will see the track and the finish from a particularly good vantage point.
The paddock and in fact the general history of the place should receive some form of recognition. Pontefract races Is not a new track; far older than the M62 which appears to pass it by just over a mile away. The architecture of the older buildings is stunning, including the remarkable layout of the paddock and parade rings, which is unusually on a hill. The really funky part is the fact the horses are stored across the road and brought down their own private track to the back of the course.
Everyone was friendly, but maybe this was not as dressy as some courses. I was surprised to see Jeans in the premier enclosure; come on guys, you can go better than that, when the ladies made every effort to look good.
This is in closing our ideal course. Friendly, fun and full of people with a passion for horses. More importantly a course steeped in history, tradition and a town close by that loves to support it on high days like today.