Pontefract Racecourse

Pontefract Park, Park Road, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF8 4QD - Map & Directions
01977 703224
Pontefract Racecourse
Pontefract Racecourse (Richard Webb / geograph.org.uk)

Racing has been taking place in the West Yorkshire town of Pontefract since as early as 1648, before the forces of Oliver Cromwell took the local castle. Until they were stopped in 1769, horse races used to take place in local meadows before racing was finally brought back to the area permanently in 1801. Racing has taken place in Pontefract ever since and the site was used for a lot of races during WWII when many other courses were out of action. In 1952, staff installed a photo finish and Pontefract prides itself on the fact that it was the first British racetrack to be the home of a testing facility for doping.

Pontefract Baghill station is located just down the road, less than half a mile from the course, and is conveniently on the York to Sheffield line. Alternatively, Pontefract Tanshelf railway station is also within walking distance of the course and is located on the Leeds to Knottingley line. Pontefract racecourse is situated just half a mile from J32 of the M62, so it is extremely accessible for those travelling by car. The M62 links to the M1, M18 and A1(M) so can be easily accessed from all directions.

Ticket Prices

There are four separate price bands at Pontefract racecourse – premier entry is priced at £21, whilst grandstand and paddock entry and access to the silver enclosure are available for £14 and £7 respectively. Entry to the picnic enclosure is available for as little as £5.

A discount of £4 is available for OAPs and full time students, although some identification may be required. Customers under the age of 18 are allowed free entry when accompanied by a full paying adult, whilst free entry is also offered to disability carers who are accompanying disabled visitors.

The Course

Pontefract Track
Pontefract Track (derek dye / geograph.org.uk)

The flat course at Pontefract was initially a horseshoe measuring 1½ miles but in 1983 it was refurbished and developed into a full circuit measuring 2½ miles in circumference. This made it the longest continuous flat racing circuit in Europe and allowed it to stage one of the longest flat races in the calendar at two miles.

Pontefract held this distinction until 2005 when York completed its circuit in order to host Royal Ascot. The course is left-handed and run over an undulating circuit, which features a home straight measuring 2f. Stamina is extremely important in order to succeed at Pontefract, with the final 6f essentially entirely uphill. In sprint races up to 6f low drawn horses traditionally have a statistical advantage.

Major Meetings at Pontefract

Meeting at Pontefract Racecouse
Meeting at Pontefract Racecouse (derek dye / geograph.org.uk)

With 16 racing fixtures taking place each year, one of the most prestigious races at Pontefract is undoubtedly the Flying Fillies’ Stakes. The Stakes was first run in 1993 and takes place each August over a distance of 6f. Another important race is the Silver Tankard Stakes, which was established in 1993 and is contested over 1m4yds each October. The most successful trainer of all time is Richard Fahey, who won 28 of his 213 races between 2007 and 2011.

Dining and Hospitality

Pontefract racecourse hospitality restaurants start from just £52 per person. In terms of private boxes, a buffet option starts from £71 + VAT per person, whilst a sit down dining option is slightly more expensive at £78 + VAT per person but all of these are relatively affordable compared to similar options at other racetracks.


Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches