Pontefract Racecourse

It was in March 1648 that racing first took place near Pontefract Castle. Regular meetings took place over the next century and a half, on numerous courses, including Pontefract Park. It wasn’t until Tuesday 5th October 1790 that racing took part in a park close to where the current day racecourse is located. In 1803 the Pontefract Cup first took place, and out of the first five races, four were won by Lord Darlington.
There was a break from racing during the war years. Pontefract was one of only two northern courses to hold race meetings during the second world war, the other being Stockton. This enabled the York Ebor to be transferred to Pontefract from York in 1943.
Pontefract holds the record as having the longest flat racing circuit in Britain. This came about after the transformation of the old horseshoe course when it was turned into an oval in 1983. This allowed races up to 2 miles to be contested. Pontefract continues to thrive to the current day.
The racecourse holds flat race meetings between April up until late October. Major races contested at the course include four listed contests, the highlight being The Pontefract Castle Stakes, along with, the Pipalong Stakes, Pomfret Stakes, and the Silver Tankard Stakes.
There are three enclosures to choose from when visiting Pontefract Racecourse. Firstly, there’s the Premier Enclosure, which offers access to the pre-parade and parade ring. With premier dining and the choice of the champagne and terrace bar as well as the lounge bar and sports café bar, this is usually the first choice for that extra special day at the races.
The Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure is the most popular. Not so close to the winning post, but still giving great views. Access to pre-parade ring, parade ring, and terrace viewed stands. The Balcony Bar, Furlong Bar, and Paddock Bar are available, as well as self- service dining.
If you want to do the races on a budget with the family, then the Picnic Enclosure is ideal. Great for picnics with its vast expanse of grass. Bouncy castles and children’s rides, tearoom, and new in 2020, The Pavilion Café. There are a range of hot and cold food and drinks, as well as plenty of toilet and betting facilities.
There is step-free access to all enclosures, lifts available in the Main Stand, and Dalby Stand. Accessible toilets available in all enclosures and raised viewing ramps in all areas.

Where is Pontefract Racecourse?

The racecourse is in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, situated just half a mile from junction 32 of the M62. There are links with the A1, M1, and M18, all within 10 miles of the course.
The nearest major city to Pontefract is Leeds, which is a short 15 miles away. Expect a journey of around three and a half hours for the 180-mile trip from London, roughly 2 hours for the 100-mile journey from Birmingham and about an hour for the 50-mile trip from Manchester.
Pontefract has three train stations, Pontefract Tanshelf being the closest, which is opposite the entrance to the park.

What is the Highest Attendance at Pontefract Racecourse?

On the 23rd June 2019, Pontefract Racecourse made it into the Guinness Book of World Records by creating the most significant human image of a dog, which took part in The Whippet Flat Cap and Fun Day.
A total of 691 people took part in creating the image of a dog on the course, which was a new world record. A very impressive crowd of nearly 7000 were in attendance, up almost 30% on the previous year.

How Do I Bet on Horses at Pontefract?

Betting facilities are available in all three enclosures, which include bookmakers and Tote windows. Betting on the Tote is a popular choice as it as a minimum stake of £2.00. Some bookmakers on course will have a minimum bet, which could be anything from £2-10.00.
Betting online is a popular method, where you can choose from a variety of betting options, from the simple win only bet, or each-way bet, to the more complex but exciting bets such as forecasts/reverse forecasts, betting on favorites or 2nd favorites, even betting on the distance of the between the winner and the 2nd placed horse. This is just a small example of the vast amount of opportunities available.

Other racecourses

Our team as of May 2020 have reviewed these racecourses that you can also bet on: