Racing: Runaway filly bolts to victory

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The Independent Online
A FILLY threw her jockey near the starting stalls and bolted for nearly half a mile before the first race at Pontefract yesterday. But, after eventually being caught and ridden back to the start, Alustar finished the freshest of all to win by half-a-length.

The race was delayed by 15 minutes after Gyles Parkin was unseated by Alustar. When the June Maiden Auction Stakes got under way, the 8-1 shot was held up in touch off a good pace. Once in line for home, Alustar was brought with a well-timed challenge to lead close home.

Robin O'Ryan, representing the filly's trainer, Mick Easterby, said: "She's never done anything like that before but she is by Emarati and they tend to be a bit like that. We held her up today and she did it well. Gyles deserves a lot of credit for this - he rides her every day."

Easterby won the final race, too, with Dee Pee Tee Cee who took the Pontefract Apprentice Series in style under an enterprising ride from Stan Finnamore. The 11-4 favourite won by seven lengths from May Queen Megan.

"Stan drove the box here, led the first winner up and rode the last winner. He's a very good lad," the trainer said. The young Irish jockey was registering his seventh winner in all and his second this term.

In the same apprentices' race, Carl Rafter was banned for six days under the whip guidelines for his riding of the fourth-placed horse, Marske Machine.

Rafter was deemed to have used his whip with excessive force and frequency and above shoulder height. The suspension takes effect on 16-19 June and 21-22 inclusive.

The jockey was also involved in another incident on the home turn with Dr Woodstock, ridden by Darren Williams, and Nicola Wright's mount Cee- N-K. But because Williams had left the track the inquiry was postponed until the next meeting on 14 June.

Heavy rain caused a drastic change in the anticipated going at Pontefract, and Rum Lad showed his appreciation for the mud when opening his account for the season in the Tote Stakes.

The sprinter was well handled by Chris Cogan to lead inside the final furlong and hold Peter's Imp by a length.