Catterick Bridge Racecourse

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Published: 11/08/2013

Just off the A1, the hamlet of Catterick Bridge is located about a mile north of Catterick Village in North Yorkshire, England, where it serves as the home of Catterick Bridge Racecourse. The track is a left-handed oval track covering a little over a mile in length, and it serves both jumps and flat racing with 27 fixtures scheduled throughout the year, making the dual-purpose course one of the busiest in North Yorkshire. Major races here include the Totepool Catterick Dash and the Weatherby’s Bloodstock Insurance Handicap Chase.

History

Although racing at Catterick Bridge began as early as the mid-17th century, the first recorded meeting in the area did not take place until 22 April 1783. The creation of a permanent track took place in 1813 in the grounds of what was then the estate of Brough Hall, and Catterick Bridge Racecourse has been considered one of the true homes of the Northern racing scene ever since.

Key events in the early history of the course included the erection of a large stand in 1906 and the formation of the Catterick Race Company in 1923. The framework of the old stand is still evident in the present Grandstand, despite many alterations and improvements over the years. Indeed, although it has been said that Catterick is “not one of the North’s most glamorous fixtures,” the region’s owners, trainers and racing public appreciate the care that has been take to maintain an informal atmosphere steeped in tradition and offering “a charming blend of old and new.”

This is where the international flat racing champion Collier Hill won his first race, covering a two-mile distance faster than the entire field as a four-year-old in March 2002. The horse would go on to 15 successes in both steeplechase and flat racing, including victory in the Irish St. Leger in 2005.

For the ten National Hunt meetings conducted here each year, the racecourse offers a ten-furlong circuit with eight easy fences. The 17 flat racing fixtures favour high numbers for five-furlong sprints on soft ground, but low numbers do best when the going is good or firmer and for longer distance. Mark Johnston, who is based in nearby Middleham Moor, has become one of the leading trainers on the Catterick course. Among the top flat jockeys at this ground are Greg Fairley and Silvestre De Sousa.

Apart from its racedays, Catterick Bridge Racecourse has also become noteworthy for its Sunday Market. With over 200 stalls for traders on hand, it is not only the largest outdoor Sunday market in the North of England but by most accounts also by far the most fun. Highlights include live lunchtime music, refreshments inside the Big Top Venue, hog roasts, street entertainers, sponsorship of local charities, and much more.

Racing at Catterick Bridge Today

The Yorkshire Racing Year kicks off with Catterick’s popular New Year’s Day meeting and runs straight through the April-October flat season to the final National Hunt fixture in late December. Among featured days here are North Yorkshire Grand National Day in January, the Richmond Conditions Stakes in April, Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival Day in July, Family Days and Ladies Evening in August, and the much anticipated Catterick Dash Day in October.

Adult tickets for the Course Enclosure cost just £5, while admission to the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure is priced at £15. Under 16s are admitted free to all enclosures when accompanied by an adult. There are formal hospitality packages, too, such as the £21 “Punters Package,” which includes entry into the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure, a refreshment voucher for a Hot Baguette/Daily Special at the Champions Bar & Buffet or the Self Service Cafeteria, a drinks voucher worth £3.00, a racecard and a £2.00 Totepool betting voucher.

A wide variety of bars and catering establishments are provided within each enclosure along with on-course bookmakers and Totepool betting facilities. Picnics are allowed in the car parks as well as in the Course Enclosure, but no alcohol may be brought within the grounds. Dogs on leads are permitted into the Course Enclosure only, not the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure. Note that although Catterick does not operate a formal dress code, racegoers are advised to wear smart casual clothing and dress for the weather.

Published on: 11/08/2013

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