Situated in Yorkshire, Pontefract is a very popular Flat-only turf track.
A left-handed course, this is an undulated track which sends runners downhill round the back but has a long uphill run around a turn towards the finish line.
The track is a wide one too, being over two miles in length.
Pontefract Course Draw Bias Overview
There are few myths surrounding races at Pontefract. One is that it is all about stamina. It seems to make sense, given that this is a track featuring many hills and ridges and has a long, turning, stiff uphill finish.
The fact is that, unless you’re going over longer trips, it is NOT all about stamina at Pontefract.
True, in staying races a jockey may kick for home on the downhill run before the final bend and that can be a mistake. The rest of the way is all uphill and the complexion of races can change in that time.
Over shorter distances, from 1m2f down to five furlongs, pace is key just like at nearly all tracks around the country. You must remember this and factor it in along with any draw biases when you bet at Pontefract.
5 Furlongs at Pontefract
Statistically, there is no strong draw bias over five furlongs. Logic dictates however that in certain scenarios, a low number would be best.
The runners go up and over from the off, facing a small downhill run. This allows the quicker horses from the gate the chance to get into position first. Pace is more important than the draw, but a quick horse drawn low on the inner can get around the bend in good order before aiming for the line.
6 Furlongs at Pontefract
Like over five furlongs, remember pace and remember that the stalls position counts for a lot.
There is just the one bend to take and there is a furlong more for runners to get sorted out going straight, yet there is a little more evidence that low-drawn runners take an advantage over six furlongs especially when the ground is soft. In wet conditions, the better ground is on the inside rail.
1 Mile at Pontefract
When the rain does come, we are often in the lap of the jockey gods as we don’t know where they will decide to go.
What the stats tell us is that over a mile, low numbers are best at Pontefract. A low draw keeps runners on the inside, facing a left turn pretty soon after the start and a downhill run during which the quicker horses can keep track advantage without skipping a beat.
This all allows them to retain energy for the uphill finish meaning low draws and pace are key, much more than stamina which is a common myth.
Longer Distances at Pontefract
There are 1m 2f and 1m 4f starts at Pontefract which each task horses with a turn soon after the start. With that in mind, larger field races may see an advantage given to those drawn low but it’s not as pronounced as over the shorter trips.
The longer you go at Pontefract, the less that pace and draw advantages are seen. Pontefract host races over 2m, 2m 2f and even 2m 5f. These events allow stamina to come into play a little more, obviously, with the draw being of little consequence in all truth.