Welcome to our official guide to Pontefract Racecourse. We explore this West Yorkshire racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, the major races, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview of Pontefract Racecourse
- 2 Pontefract Racecourse History
- 3 Main Races and Events at Pontefract Racecourse
- 4 Pontefract Racecourse Map
- 5 Pontefract Racecourse Address
- 6 How To Get To Pontefract Racecourse
- 7 Hotels near Pontefract Racecourse
- 8 What Are The Best Online Pontefract Betting Sites?
- 9 Betting Shops Local to Pontefract Racecourse
- 10 Pontefract Racecourse Weather Forecast
- 11 Other Events Held at The Track
- 12 Summary of Pontefract Racecourse
- 13 Other Racecourses in The UK and Ireland
Overview of Pontefract Racecourse
Pontefract Racecourse is an independently-owned flat, left handed racecourse in West Yorkshire, just a kilometre out of the historic market town of Pontefract.
Pontefract Racecourse hosts flat racing throughout the summer months. Next to Wetherby, Pontefract Racecourse is one of just two horseracing courses in the county of West Yorkshire. Despite its small stature, Pontefract has sport running through its community veins. The town is home to the Featherstone Rovers, a professional rugby club, the Pontefract Collieries, a non-league football club, a well-patronised swimming pool, Pontefract Rugby Union Club; and previously, two local cricket clubs.
Pontefract Racecourse is truly the jewel in the sporting crown of the town, boasting the title of the ‘longest continuous horseracing circuit in Europe’.
The beautiful West Yorkshire circuit that has earned it the title of “the longest”, measures two miles and one hundred and twenty-five yards, and is raced left handed with considerable gradients and a stiff uphill finish. Racing on the inside is a huge advantage, and those on the outside rarely race well unless the going is very soft.
Pontefract Racecourse is still owned by an independent company; Pontefract Park Race Company Ltd. The firm have invested heavily into the development of the course and as a result have brought it up to speed in terms of dining and hospitality options, accessibility, and facilities for jockeys and trainers. Pontefract Racecourse isn’t the best known of racecourses in the UK, but it’s technically solid and showcases some outstanding talent.
Pontefract Racecourse History
Historical documents record racing taking place in the Pontefract area as early as 1648 – but not much later than this, the local Castle was seized by Oliver Cromwell’s forces. Races continue to be held through changes in power in the meadows just outside the town but these seemed to have ended around 1769. Records show that horseracing then restarted in 1801 and by 1827, are described as ‘fashionably attended’ by townsfolk as well as though further afield.
Unlike most courses in the UK, Pontefract Racecourse remained open during World War II and hosted several substitute races that were unable to be raced elsewhere.
Pontefract Racecourse continued to go from strength to strength and in 1952 installed a photo finish, hitting headlines alongside its introduction of the first dope testing facility in the country. Pontefract’s course was originally a mile and a half horseshoe but closed briefly in 1983 to convert to a full circuit.
It was a long-term tradition for the course to start its afternoon races at 14:25 (later than most other courses in the country) to allow for miners at the colliery adjacent to finish their morning shift; but this tradition ended in 2002 when the colliery closed its doors for the final time.
Main Races and Events at Pontefract Racecourse
The Pontefract Castle Stakes is arguably the most prominent race held at the West Yorkshire course, held on a Sunday in June annually. The Stakes is open to fillies and mares aged four years or over and run over one mile, four furlongs and five yards. It’s still a fairly new race, having started to be run in 2005, and was originally open to horses of both genders before it was later restricted. It’s not uncommon for The Pontefract Castle Stakes to take place in front of a sell-out crowd. The most successful jockey at the Stakes thus far has been Harry Bentley, with two wins, and the most successful horse, Brown Panther, with two wins.
Pontefract Racecourse Map
The course is left handed, hilly and has a stiff finish. The emphasis is more on stamina than speed. On testing going, runners often come wide in the straight in search of better ground and race towards the stand side.
Pontefract Racecourse Address
How To Get To Pontefract Racecourse
- By road – car parking at Pontefract Racecourse is free, with some spaces available to book in the Picnic Enclosure for £20 per vehicle. The course is situated just half a mile from Junction 32 of the M62, although connections from the A1, M1 and M18 are all within ten miles. Follow signs from Pontefract Park and turn left once there.
- Bus – local Metroline buses run to a stop just outside the course.
- By train – rail connections can be made to one of Pontefract’s three local stations – Monkhill, Baghill and Tanshelf. A further few miles away is the station at Glasshoughton, next to the Xscape Yorkshire complex. All are easily accessible by taxi from the course and run across several different mainlines.
Hotels near Pontefract Racecourse
Pontefract itself isn’t a large town but there are plenty of accommodation options locally for those looking to stay in the area. Closest to the course are The Barley Mow Hotel, The Kings Croft Hotel, The Premier Inn Castleford and The Tower House Executive Guest House. For those looking for more chain name hotels, these can be found in nearby Wakefield, Barnsley, Leeds and Bradford. For great availability and rates check out Booking.com:
What Are The Best Online Pontefract Betting Sites?
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:
Betting Shops Local to Pontefract Racecourse
Pontefract Racecourse has Tote kiosks throughout the venue, as well as several designated areas for independent bookmakers. Mobile signal is fine throughout the racecourse, so betting can be done online as required if preferred. Betting shops in Pontefract town itself are perhaps surprisingly prevalent (and popular!) and include branches of William Hill, Betfred, Megabet and the independent Stan James Bookmakers.
Pontefract Racecourse Weather Forecast
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, especially for Royal Ascot, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Pontefract:
Other Events Held at The Track
Pontefract Racecourse, despite being considered a tough and technical course, knows a thing or two about putting on a big show to attract a large crowd. Themed events catering for the community and those visiting the area include a Pensioners Pay Nothing Day, Disco Nights, Rugby League Takeovers, Family Days and a Beer Festival.
Summary of Pontefract Racecourse
Another fab track located in West Yorkshire, Pontefract Racecourse is a great left handed course with a long history of racing. Whilst maybe not as fashionable as some of its neighbours – such as York – this should not diminish from either the quality of racing, the great customer service and lots of Yorkshire charm that it certainly has. Stamina is required in racing and the track is admired by locals and also those in the industry. If you are looking for a charming, fun and relaxed day at the races, Pontefract is a superb option. It’s a bit of a hidden gem.
Other Racecourses in The UK and Ireland
Our team as of April 2021 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse
- Ascot Racecourse
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse Guide
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse Guide
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Racecourse