Pontefract Racecourse Guide

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!

Pontefract Racecourse Guide

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Historical documents record racing taking place in the Pontefract area as early as 1648 – but not much later than this, the local Castle was seized by Oliver Cromwell’s forces.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

Pontefract Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races

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

Pontefract Racecourse
Pontefract Park
Park Road
West Yorkshire

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.

Recommended 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:

  • bet365 Racing

    Bet365 Horse Racing

    New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Racing

    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Racing

    Coral Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Racing

    Ladbrokes Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Racing

    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Racing

    Unibet Horse Racing Logo

    New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply

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.

Pontefract Races

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 October 2020 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:

Popular Questions

🏇 How far is it around Pontefract Racecourse?

Two miles and one hundred and twenty-five yards!

🏇 When was Pontefract racecourse built?

Historical documents record racing taking place in the Pontefract area as early as 1648 but the first official documented race is thought to be 5th October 1790.

🏇 How old is Pontefract Racecourse?

It is thought racing was taking place in the area from 1648 – so nearly 400 years!

🏇 What is the address of Pontefract Racecourse?

Pontefract Racecourse
Pontefract Park
Park Road
West Yorkshire