The first recorded races at Pontefract are mentioned in despatches written by the parliamentary troops of Oliver Cromwell at the time of there first siege of Pontefract Castle in 1642.
Horse racing is also known to have taken place around Pontefract during the eighteenth century, but the first grandstand on the current course is recorded as being built in 1801.
To a greater or lesser extent, since that latter date, racing on the current course has been continuous.
After the formation of the current racecourse company in 1916, the quantity and quality of race meetings gradually improved, and in recent years, Pontefract has muscled its way up the list of Yorkshire racecourses. This can be attributed to three positive actions. The Race Company have spent the last fifteen years continually improving spectator facilities. The development of the motorway system around Pontefract makes it easier and quicker to visit the racecourse. Finally, the quality of racing has been improved. In fact, during each flat season, Pontefract now stages five Listed races, two in June, and one each in the months of July, August, and October.
In all, the course now stages 16 flat race meetings between April and October of each calendar year. Amongst the total, there are usually three evening meetings, and three Sunday meetings.
In the early months of the flat season, Pontefract is often used by leading stables to provide valuable experience of racing to their novice two and three year old horses.
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Pontefract stages flat racing.
The course is run left handed over an undulating circuit two miles in circumference, with a two furlong home straight.
The last six furlongs of the course are essentially run up hill. This means in longer races, particularly on soft or heavy going, stamina is very important.
Low drawn horses are favoured in sprints up to six furlongs.
Enclosures and hospitality:
Apart from a brief mention of one corporate facility, the listings below do not include the facilities available to Annual Members, Owners and Trainers, and Corporate Guests. These can be obtained by contacting the racecourse.
Ticket holders have access to the Club Grandstand. This provides the best views of the home straight and winning post. Ticket holders can also visit all the other public areas of the racecourse, including, the parade ring, and the winners enclosure.
On the first floor of the Grandstand, the air conditioned Park Suite Restaurant provides an all day package of fine dining. This restaurant has to be pre booked, and is available to corporate parties, and general race goers alike. Also on the first floor, the Club Dining Room offers an a la carte menu, on a first come first served basis. Both restaurants offer great views of the racing action, and have balcony viewing areas.
The Champagne Bar is among four bars situated in the Club Enclosure.
The Grandstand in this enclosure is close to the Club Grandstand, so race goers obtain good views of the whole racecourse including the winning post.
This enclosure has a self service restaurant, and five bars.
Silver Ring Ticket.
Due to its sloping lawns, this enclosure still provides good views of the racing action.
There is a bar and restaurant, plus three other bars.
Third Enclosure Ticket
This is mainly a parking and picnic area with a large play area for children.
There is a bar which serves some snacks.
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The sloping lawns in front of the grandstands at Pontefract provide excellent viewing, but the race company realised they were a problem for wheelchair patrons. As a result, major improvements were made to accessibility. Now, a step free path runs around the back of the grandstands, and offers a link to all enclosures. There are also tarmac paths leading to the viewing lawns.
Access to the paddock area can be made through a gate which is constantly manned.
A lift is available in the Club Grandstand, and another lift gives access to the private facilities in the Dalby Grandstand.
There are reserved viewing areas next to the running rails in all enclosures, plus reserved viewing on the first floor in both the Club and Paddock Enclosures.
There are unisex disabled toilets on the ground floor in all enclosures.
For additional information, or assistance with your visit to Pontefract, telephone 0197778 13 07.
Pontefract only stages flat racing.
Sunday 16 August.
Thursday 17 September.
Thursday 24 September.
Monday 05 October.
Monday 19 October.
Pontefract is only nine miles from Leeds, and is positioned very close to several major routes.
The entrances to Pontefract racecourse are situated just a half mile from junction 32 of the M62. The M62 actually skirts the northern edge of the racecourse, and the motorway then links up with the M1, M18, and A1M, all within a ten mile radius of the racecourse.
Car parking at the racecourse is free of charge.
Pontefract is served by three railway stations.
The nearest is Pontefract Baghill, which is only a third of a mile from the racecourse. This particular station is on the York to Sheffield line.
Pontefract Tanshelf railway station is also within walking distance of the racecourse, whereas Pontefract Monkhill is a short taxi drive. Both stations are on the Leeds to Knottingley rail line.
National Express coaches travel from many destinations to Leeds and Wakefield.
The newly redeveloped bus station at Pontefract is well served by bus services from all over West Yorkshire.
Leeds Bradford international airport is around 19 miles from Pontefract. Apart from taxis, a regular bus service operates into central Leeds. It is then possible to catch onwards bus or rail journeys to Pontefract.
Subject to Race Company permission, helicopters may land on the racecourse.
Pontefract Park Race Company Ltd,
Tel No: 01977 78 13 07.
Fax No: 01977 78 13 33.
Great Phones, Great Deals only at:
Holiday Inn Leeds Garforth.
Tel No: 0113 286 6556.
Located in a rural setting on the east side of the cosmopolitan City of Leeds, the Holiday Inn Leeds Garforth is in close proximity to the A1M, and is just a short drive from both Pontefract and Wetherby racecourses. The hotel is the ideal base for race goers who either want to kick back and relax, or who would prefer to combine their trip to the races with a visit to the excellent shopping and historic facilities of the City of Leeds.
The hotel has a floodlit car park with full CCTV coverage, and offers 144 air conditioned en suite guest rooms which were all completely refurbished in 2006. Visitors to the hotel can choose from a wide range of accommodation, including; well appointed standard rooms, executive rooms and suites, family facilities, and there are two rooms set aside for guests with low mobility. All rooms provide; remote controlled colour television with cable\satellite channels, wi-fi internet access, mini bar, and the usual high specification room amenities guests expect from a quality hotel. The hotel also provides 24 hour Room Service, and a same day dry cleaning service.
The modern and contemporary Aiolis Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. All of our meals are sourced from the freshest local ingredients, and our dinner menu, with its choice of carvery, or a la carte cuisine is very popular with all our guests. Lighter meals, pre dinner drinks, cocktails, and a wide range of all day beverages can be enjoyed in the Aiolis Bar and Lounge. For guests who like to keep in trim, the Triangle Health and Fitness Centre offers a fully equipped gymnasium, swimming pool, steam room and sauna.
For more information on the Holiday Inn Leeds Garforth, or to book directly, click on the link below.
Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse.
Tel no: 0870 400 90 13.
First opened in 1989, the Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse has undergone regular refurbishment to produce a modern hotel with a traditional Yorkshire stone façade. The hotel possesses ample complimentary car parking, and is just off junction 25 of the M62. There is direct motorway access to both Pontefract and Wetherby Racecourses, while Leeds City Centre and most of the major attractions of West Yorkshire are just a shor trip from the hotel.
The Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse offers 94 air conditioned en suite guest rooms, with each of the rooms being comfortable and well appointed. Room facilities include; remote controlled colour television with satellite channels,
wi-fi internet access, mini bar, and the standard room amenities discerning guests expect from a quality hotel. For guests who desire some extra luxury during their stay, the hotel also offers executive rooms with enhanced facilities, and two bedroom suites with separate lounges. There are also two specially adapted rooms for guests withaccessible needs. Naturally, there is 24 hour room service throughout the hotel, and a same day dry cleaning service is available on request.
Our professional and helpful restaurant staff serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus in the comtemporary and relaxing surroundings of the Junction Restaurant, with the evening meal providing a choice of delicious
a la carte or set menu options. The Junction Bar and Lounge offers a relaxing atmosphere in which guests can enjoy light meals plus a comprehensive range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and beverages. While in the better weather, the pretty flower filled courtyard , with feature fountain, is the perfect place for al fresco dining.
For guests who like to keep in trim, the hotel’s Spirit Health and Fitness Club offers an indoor swimming pool, air conditioned gymnasium, sauna, spa pool, and steam room.
To obtain further information on the Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse, or to book directly, use the link below.