Blog – Friday 25th August 2023

Welcome to another blog from the team at Pontefract Racecourse.

Every fortnight, someone from the team will share their thoughts for your entertainment (or otherwise!):

  • Managing Director, Norman Gundill with his trusty PA, Caroline who also looks after the hospitality,
  • Accounts Manager, Nicola,
  • Admin manager, Carol,
  • Marketing exec, Alexia, and,
  • Chief Operating Officer, Richard who is writing this blog.

Pontefract aside, one of the best Racecourses in the country, and possibly the world, is York Racecourse.

While the National Hunt purists have the Cheltenham Festival, the Ebor Festival is often regarded as one of the best festivals in the flat racing calendar with both avid racegoers and socialites mixing on the Knavesmire.

York is quite rightly put on a pedestal with some wonderful facilities and excellent service. If you have not visited the area before, it is well worth adding to the bucket list as not only does the course put on a fantastic spectacle, but the beautiful city comes alive with racegoers continuing their days out well into the evening.

With a small break in the racing schedule at Pontefract, the office team were able to take a well deserved break and have a day out on Wednesday to see some of the greatest thoroughbreds in training battle on the York turf. A day at the races is something of a ‘busman’s holiday’ but it’s hugely important for us to visit other places, see what’s happening elsewhere and pick up examples of best practice that we might be able to bring back to Pontefract. We had a brilliant day out and it was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the sport and all that it offers.

The racing itself was brilliant as always but, as the industry continues to face it’s own battles, we, like many others in the industry, were disappointed to see small fields for the Group races. With one million pounds worth of prize money on offer, it was particularly sad to see a field of just 4 horses line up for the Juddmonte International. Despite a wonderful initial entry, opposition to the new wonderhorse, Paddington, began to drop out one by one and it was left to John and Thady Gosden’s Mostahdaf to provide the sternest test. And, under the inimitable Frankie Dettori, he saw off the young pretender in scintillating fashion. It begs the question as to how good the Japanese horse, Equinox , must be as he had the subsequent Juddmonte winner 7 lengths behind him without being asked for maximum effort.

It was good to see the team from New Beginnings also out in force at the track with their wonderful team of Racehorse Ambassadors (including our own Nico – Nearly Caught) on hand to greet the racegoers.  If you’re going to York on Friday, keep an eye out for our very own Alexia, who will be helping out on the New Beginnings stand and will happily sell you some raffle tickets or Christmas cards!