Pontefract Racecourse

Pontefract Racecourse was established in Pontefract, West Yorkshire in 1790. The first grandstand was built in 1802 and rebuilt shortly after World War I, but the course has undergone major redevelopment over the years, including the introduction of a watering system in 1980, the opening of the Dalby Stand in 1995 and the refurbishment of the Silver Stand in 1999. Notwithstanding the modifications to York racecourse for the Royal Meeting in 2005, Pontefract has the distinction of being the longest continuous circuit in the country. The course hosts 16 Flat meetings throughout the season.


Course Characteristics

The round course – in fact, the only course – at Pontefract is a left-handed, undulating oval, with a home straight just two furlongs long. The undulations, short home straight and the sharp turn into the home straight make Pontefract fairly sharp in character, but the up the uphill climb for the last three furlongs places an emphasis on stamina. There appears to be very little draw bias in sprint races at Pontefract, despite those races being run around a bend.


Track Facts

Along with Stockton Racecourse, Pontefract Racecourse was just one of two racecourses in the north of England that was allowed to operate during World War II.

The mile start at Pontefract was moved in 1971, during construction of the M62 motorway.

The course at Pontefract was originally horseshoe-shaped, but was extended to a complete circuit, two miles and a furlong around, in 1983.

The most valuable race of the year at Pontefract is the Flying Fillies’ Stakes’, run over 6 furlongs in August.

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