Family Days and Racing Staff Week – Blog Friday 14th June 2024

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

Next week sees a really busy week in the Racing Calendar and the Ponte season.

As we start the countdown to the first of our Sunday Family Day meetings, the UK racing scene also celebrates Racing Staff Week – a celebration of Racing Staff throughout the industry which has been organised by Racing Welfare.

This year sees the eighth running of Racing Staff Week and the week will bring the racing industry and its followers together to showcase the passion, skill and dedication of all the staff, across the breadth of the industry, whose hard work makes our great sport possible. Racing Staff Week recognises the contribution of the industry’s entire workforce, from stud and stable staff to breeders, trainers, racecourse staff and administrators and everything in between. The campaign is is generously supported by Betfair.

85,000 people are either in direct, indirect or associated employment of British Racing and 2,468 people directly employed in the British racing industry were supported by Racing Welfare in 2023

Closer to home, we’ll be celebrating the Racing Staff who are helping us prepare for racing on Sunday 23rd June. A huge amount of works goes in behind the scenes at the Racecourse, as well as a training yards up and down the country and trainers, stable staff and jockeys prepare their horses for a trip to Ponte.

Our groundsteam having been preparing the track after the first five race meetings of the season which have been run on ground softer than what might be expected. Since racing on Monday evening, the track has been put back, ‘filled in’, mown, spiked to assist with drainage and been sprayed for weed. On top of all that, they’ve also installed new running rail from the 6f start to the 2f marker. This not only means that horses running at Ponte on the 23rd will have fresh ground, it also allows the ground on the inside running rail to have a rest and repair. This ‘false’ rail is likely to be in place until the end of July.  

The office team have also been busy making preparations for all the additional attractions that we will have on the site. Not only do we have 7 horse races, we also have 10 whippet races before the equine stars take to the track. There’s a funfair to sort out, a chance to meet some ex racehorses, bus trips to the start, a sensory room, a brass band and, of course, Yorkshire Pudding throwing. Add in putting together 500 packs for kids, it promises to be a busy week ahead.

Let’s hope that the weather starts to look a little more like Summer by the time we get to raceday and we can then enjoy a proper Ponte day out.