What's On

Tue 07 Apr 2020

Season Opener

Featured Event

The 2020 racing season at Pontefract kicks off on Tuesday 7th April.

On the track it’s the first leg of the 2020 Stayers Championship – Rubenesque won the championship in 2019 for trainer Tristan Davidson. Will she be back to defend her title? Or will Micky Hammond have another contender having won the Championship in 3 of the previous 4 seasons?

Don’t miss the EBF High-Rise Maiden either! With smart early horses from big yards often targeting it, it’s the first date to put in the diary! The race is named after Luca Cumani’s 1998 Derby winner who took this race on his way to glory at Epsom.

Mon 20 Apr 2020

Pensioner Free Day

Featured Event

On the track the 2nd meeting of the season features the equine equivalent of the London Marathon!

The Pontefract Marathon is the longest flat handicap race run in Britain! Did you know that Pontefract is also the longest continuous racing circuit in Europe? At 2m 136yds all round, you need a brave, staying horse to get home up the famous ‘Ponte’ hill!

This race meeting offers FREE admission to OAPs (those aged 60 or over) in the Grandstand & Paddock or Picnic Enclosure. If you're over 60 and would like to try racing for free on this day, just turn up on the day. If you are lucky enough to look younger than your years, then you may be asked for proof of age on entry.

There are 7 exciting races to get your heart racing and it’s well worth booking the day off work!

Wed 29 Apr 2020

National Horseracing College Charity Day

Featured Event

It’s the 31st Annual National Horseracing College Charity Day.

This is a unique day in the racing calendar when bookmakers come together to offer their support to the National Horseracing College by sponsoring some of the races on the card.

Based in Doncaster, we’re proud to continue our association and support of the college who offer a range of courses at all levels for people who are looking at horseracing as a future career, and for those who are currently working in the industry wishing to develop their qualifications and skills.

If you know of anyone interested in a career in racing, tell them to come along and have a chat to the National Horseracing College Staff AND enjoy a day out at the races – there are 7 fantastic races to enjoy!

If you're an Annual Badge Holder at Pontefract, don't forget to apply for the visit and tour of the College on the morning of this race meeting.

Fri 22 May 2020

Disco Night

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Following on from Bananarama, Belinda Carlisle and Billy Ocean, Pontefract will be announcing their 2020 performer(s) soon.

Mon 08 Jun 2020

Rugby League Takeover

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There’ll be 6 unforgettable races, featuring the Mr Wolf Sprint which commemorates one of the all time Ponte greats. Runners in this race have a real mountain to climb to emulate ‘Wolfie’ who ran at Pontefract an incredible 36 times. He won here 8 times in total!

He was a true Ponte legend and his brave front running style used to have his rivals in trouble from early on in the race. His final race at Pontefract was on 29th July 2012 and he’s currently enjoying retirement on his owner’s farm.

He comes and visits though and will be back this season to parade before racing.

Sun 21 Jun 2020

Father's Day and Flat Cap & Whippet Family Day

Featured Event

Sunday racedays have always been extra special for Pontefract Racegoers.

The renowned Sunday fixtures not only feature the best racing of the year at Pontefract with over £100,000 worth of Prize Money available at each meeting, but they are also the 3 fixtures each season dedicated to families.

As well as special events on each Sunday raceday, there will also be a funfair, facepainting, circus, free sweets, activity packs and racecards for kids, pony rides, trips to the starts of races and a ‘Hunt The Golden Horseshoe’ competition on every Family Day!

The first of the Sundays is on Father's Day and is the celebrated Flat Cap & Whippet Family Day. If you came to this race meeting in 2019, you may have been one of the amazing group of racegoers who helped us to set a new record with Guinness World Records by forming the largest human image of a dog!

Mon 29 Jun 2020

The Art of Racing Raceday (part 1)

Featured Event

The first of two Art of Racing Racedays in 2020!

There’ll be trips to the start of selected races so enthusiasts can see what happens in the calm of the open parkland down at the Start.

They'll also be running a commentary booth for people to have a go at commentating ‘behind the scenes’.

Two days truly dedicated to The Art of Racing.

There is some brilliant action on the track on both days too!

On Monday 29th June the EBF Spindrifter Conditions Stakes takes centre stage. In 2019, the race was won by Tim Easterby's Hurstwood who went on to run in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket.

Tue 07 Jul 2020

A Very Yorkshire Raceday

Featured Event

A new theme at Pontefract for 2020 is the Very Yorkshire Raceday which will celebrate all things Yorkshire!

There is some brilliant action on the track on both days too!

The action on Tuesday 7th July features the Listed Weatherbys Pipalong Stakes! Exhort took the race in 2019 under a fantastic Paul Hanagan ride and she just got up in the shadows of the post to deny former 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook who went on to Group 1 success later in the season.

Fri 17 Jul 2020

'Queen' Night and Beer Festival

Featured Event

If you're after a fantastic night out with great racing, a fabulous atmosphere, award winning beers and lagers and one of the UK's best Queen bands, then this is the night for you.

Magic Queen re-enacts the glorious days of legendary rock band Queen, including the glam of the '70s and the magic of the '80s, proving themselves to be one the most dynamic and exciting Queen Tribute Bands in Europe.

Magic Queen's high-energy shows showcase the main greatest hits and assure the audience the maximum entertainment with dancing from the very first second of the show! Concentrating in sounding like the original artists, Magic Queen delivers a blast entertainment in every single show, interacting with the audience to make them live an unforgettable experience.

They'll be playing the greatest Queen hits in their brilliant live set straight after the last race.

There will also be the Pennine Brewery, Revolutions Brewing Co, Ossett Brewery and Bier Huis joining for the annual Beer Festival.

There are 6 fantastic races to keep you entertained throughout the evening too!

Sun 26 Jul 2020

Tribute Bands Family Day

Featured Event

Sunday racedays have always been extra special for Pontefract Racegoers.

The renowned Sunday fixtures not only feature the best racing of the year at Pontefract with over £100,000 worth of Prize Money available at each meeting, but they are also the 3 fixtures each season dedicated to families.

As well as special events on each Sunday raceday, there will also be a funfair, facepainting, circus, free sweets, activity packs and racecards for kids, pony rides, trips to the starts of races and a ‘Hunt The Golden Horseshoe’ competition on every Family Day!

The second Family Sunday is the Tribute Bands Family Day and they'll have 3 fantastic acts performing throughout the afternoon. There'll be a really fun, family atmosphere!

It's also the 13th Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival which kicks off at Ripon on Saturday 18th July and concludes with this Ponte Family Day on Sunday 26th July. With racing throughout the White Rose county all week, it’s a Festival to remember for racing enthusiasts.

There’s some stunning action on the track as well with the Listed Pomfret Stakes being the feature. Mark Johnston's brilliant Marie's Diamond took the race in 2019. Who’ll take the honours in 2020?

Wed 05 Aug 2020

Ladies Day

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If you’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a new outfit, then look no further. The glitz and glamour hits Ponte Carlo on the 5th August.

With an array of hats, fascinators and stilettos, the ladies of Yorkshire truly do ‘dress to impress’ in an effort to win the coveted Best Dressed Lady Competition. And once again in 2020, they'll have a Best Dressed Gents competition too!

The Gents Competition will take place first as a warm up for the much coveted Best Dressed Lady Competition!

Sun 16 Aug 2020

The In The Zone Family Day

Featured Event

Sunday racedays have always been extra special for Pontefract Racegoers.

The renowned Sunday fixtures not only feature the best racing of the year at Pontefract with over £100,000 worth of Prize Money available at each meeting, but they are also the 3 fixtures each season dedicated to families.

As well as special events on each Sunday raceday, there will also be a funfair, facepainting, circus, free sweets, activity packs and racecards for kids, pony rides, trips to the starts of races and a ‘Hunt The Golden Horseshoe’ competition on every Family Day!

The final Family Day of 2020 will be run once again as The In The Zone Raceday!

Thu 17 Sep 2020

The Art Of Racing Raceday (part 2)

Featured Event

The second of two Art of Racing Racedays in 2020!

There’ll be trips to the start of selected races so enthusiasts can see what happens in the calm of the open parkland down at the Start.

They'll also be running a commentary booth for people to have a go at commentating ‘behind the scenes’.

Two days truly dedicated to The Art of Racing.

There is some brilliant action on the track on both days too!

There are 7 races on this card with the highlight the £30,000 EBF Fillies’ Handicap over 6f.

Thu 24 Sep 2020

All About The Racing

Featured Event

The highlight of the second September meeting is the Dalby Screw Driver Handicap. In the early 19th century, 'Screw Driver' set the Pontefract pulses racing. He won at least 2 ‘Cup’ races! These consisted of four heats over 2 miles on the same day: the winner being the horse with the best aggregate score over the 8 miles! He is the earliest Pontefract course specialist on record!

This race is one of 7 exciting races on the card which gets under way just after 2pm!

Mon 05 Oct 2020

All About The Racing

Featured Event

The penultimate meeting as the season begins to draw to a close. As the nights draw in, Mondays in October can seem a bit dismal but Pontefract have something to brighten even the darkest of Autumnal days!

There’s some really good racing on this day as many trainers try to get their horses to the track for one final run.

Mon 19 Oct 2020

Closing Ceremony and National Hunt Handover

Featured Event

The last day of the 2020 season sees the final Listed Race where the 2yos take to the stage in the EBF Silver Tankard Stakes.

It’s always a popular and well attended race meeting as it’s time to have a final catch up with the friends that you’ve made at Pontefract through the season.

Enclosures

Where to be for the best views

Premier Enclosure

A Premier Enclosure Badge gives access to each of the areas listed below:
- Covered seating
- The Parade Ring/Pre-Parade Ring
- Champagne Bar
- Lounge Bar
- Premier Dining Room
- Park Suite
- Premier Sports Cafe Bar
- Annual Badge Facilities
- Owners & Trainers Facilities
- With a Premier Enclosure Badge, you also have access to all other Enclosures.

Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure

A little further away from the Winning Post but still with excellent viewing, you'll also have access to:
- Terraced viewing stands
- The Parade Ring/Pre-parade Ring
- Furlong Bar
- Paddock Bar
- Balcony Bar
- Self Service Dining Room
- Riders' Bar
- The Grandstand & Paddock ticket also gives you access to the Silver & Picnic Enclosures.

Silver Enclosure

The next Enclosure down, approximately 100 yards from the Winning Post offers:
- Silver Lounge Bar
- Tea Bar & Servery
- Bar
- Fast Food Units

Picnic Enclosure

The most cost effective Enclosure is the Picnic Enclosure!

With a large expanse of grass, this area is normally packed out on Sunday race meetings with families enjoying a picnic, children's rides, bouncy castles and the like!

It's open on every day and is especially popular with racegoers who like to bring their car in to the Course and park up next to the rails! There's a tea bar and fast food units in this area!

Pontefract Park, Park Road, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF8 4QD
Larger map

Travel Information

How to find us

Pontefract Racecourse is brilliantly situated just half a mile from Junction 32 of the M62. Links with the A1, M1 and M18 are all within 10 miles of the Racecourse. Leaving J32 of the M62 (the Xscape junction), follow the signs for the Racecourse towards Pontefract town centre. The Racecourse is situated on the right hand side in Pontefract Park. For those of you who like to follow Sat Nav directions, our postcode is WF8 4QD.

Directions

By Train

There are 3 stations in Pontefract - Monkhill, Baghill and Tanshelf.

There is a fourth station at Glasshoughton which is by the Xscape complex which is a couple of miles from the Racecourse.

Pontefract Tanshelf is more or less opposite the entrance to the Park, whereas Monkhill and Baghill are fairly centrally located in Pontefract and would be 2 to 3 miles from the course.

By Bus

There is a bus stop just outside Pontefract Park.

To check on bus timetables, please contact Metroline on 0113 245 7676.

By Car

Leave M62 at jct 32 Racecourse is 0.5 miles from jct 32.

By Taxi

We would recommend the following local taxi companies should you require a taxi to the Racecourse:

Data Cars (01977) 600680 Action Cars (01977) 703333 Slatters Taxis (01977) 705674 Ponty Cars (01977) 609999

Parking

All car parking is free of charge and is in the Park itself.

Parking is available in the Picnic Enclosure at a cost of £15 per car with a maximum of 4 adult occupants. This price includes a racecard and your entry in to the Picnic Enclosure.

Dress Codes

What to wear

Dress Code in the Premier Enclosure only – smart casual, no scruffy jeans, shorts or tshirts

Racecourse Information

The History

Racing is recorded as having taken place in Pontefract as early as 1648, just before the local Castle was taken by the forces of Oliver Cromwell. Races were held in the meadows near the town but these were discontinued by 1769. The townsfolk restarted the sport in 1801 and it has continued ever since. In 1827 the races were held in September and reported as being very fashionably attended. While it cannot "claim to be one of Yorkshire's major courses” it was used for some major races during World War II when other courses were out of action. Pontefract installed a photo finish in 1952 and was also the first English course to have a dope testing facility. The course traditionally began its afternoon race meetings at 2.45 pm - later than most other courses - so that miners at the adjacent colliery could finish the morning shift in time to go racing. This remained the case until the colliery closed in 2002. Today the racecourse is left-handed undulating course with a sharp bend into the home straight. Horses drawn low usually have the advantage. The final 3 furlongs of the track are uphill, making it quite testing. The course was originally a horseshoe of 1 1/2 miles, but in 1983, it was converted into a full circuit of about 2 miles. This made it one of the longest continuous flat racing circuits in Europe and allowed it to stage one of the longest races in the calendar at 2 miles 5 furlongs 133 yards.