The Ultimate Guide to Catterick Bridge Racecourse

catterick racecourseCatterick Bridge Racecourse is situated in the hamlet of the same name, just over a mile to the northwest of Catterick Village, in the Richmond district of North Yorkshire. The history of racing at Catterick Bridge can be traced back to 1783, although it wasn't until 1906 that the first grandstand was built, after cottages in the vicinity were demolished to make way for it. The Catterick Racecourse Company, which still exists, was formed in 1923 to oversee the growth and development of the racecourse. Today, evidence of the original grandstand still remains, but the racecourse has undergone significant alterations and improvements over the years. Nowadays, Catterick Bridge Racecourse stages 27 Flat and National Hunt fixtures throughout the year.

Catterick Bridge Racecourse offers racegoers the choice of two enclosures, the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure, which provides access to the grandstands, parade ring and winners' enclosure and the Course Enclosure, which is situated in the centre of the track. General admission prices are £15 for the Grandstand & Paddock, with concessions for senior citizens and students and £5 for the Course. Admission is free for accompanied children in both enclosures.

For corporate events, such as conferences and meetings, Catterick Bridge Racecourse offers a relaxed, rural setting and, although it has smaller capacities than some of its larger, urban competitors, it nevertheless has a less formal feel. A number of corporate suites, capable of accommodating up to 72 people, are available and the centre of the course provides a wide open space suitable for outdoor events. Marquees, capable of accommodating up to 50 people, are also available.

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Getting there

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What's unique about the course at Catterick?

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The round course at Catterick is a left-handed oval, approximately nine furlongs around, with a three furlong straight. The round course runs downhill all the way from the 7-furlong marker to the winning post, including a sharp turn into the straight.

The five furlong course is downhill all the way, particularly at the start. The pronounced undulations and sharp turns mean that Catterick suits handy, nimble types rather than big, long-striding horses.[/column][end_columns]

Notable Races and Events

Chac Du CadranThe most valuable National Hunt race run at Catterick, the North Yorkshire Grand National, worth £12,512 to the winner, is also the longest. The 3 mile 6 furlong contest presents a severe test of stamina, especially on the soft or heavy going that invariably prevails in January, such that horses carrying 11 stone or more often struggle to concede weight to their rivals. Indeed, that was the case in the 2013 renewal, when Chris Bealby's 7-year-old Chac Du Cadran, carrying 10st 7lb, beat Tom George's 13-year-old Desperate Dex, carrying 10st 5lb, by 8 lengths.

By contrast, the most valuable Flat race run at Catterick, the Catterick Dash, worth £12,938 to the winner, is also one of the shortest. The 5-furlong contest is fast and furious and often produces an exciting finish, but favourites have a very poor strike rate. In 2012, Ed de Giles' 5-year-old Kingsgate Choice beat Michael Easterby's 8-year-old Ancient Cross and Scott Dixon's 4-year-old Even Stevens by a nose and half a length in a driving finish; the favourite, Tim Easterby's 3-year-old Ponty Acclaim, finished last of the 15 runners.

Willie Carson, who went on to ride almost 4,000 winners and won the British Flat Jockeys' Championship five times between 1972 and 1983, rode his first winner on Pinker's Pond in a 7-furlong apprentice handicap at Catterick in 1962.

Tim EasterbyRidley Lamb, a popular and successful National Hunt jockey in the north of England, probably best remembered for winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on The Thinker in 1987, also rode his first winner, at the tender age of 15, on White Speck in a hurdle race at Catterick in 1971. Ridley Lamb rode 547 winners during his career and, following his retirement from the saddle in 1987, was a successful trainer as well as a steward at Carlisle, Hexham and Sedgefield. Unfortunately, he died at the age of just 39 when the car in which he was travelling left the quayside near his stables in Seahouses, Northumberland and plunged into 10 feet or water.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

On the Flat at Catterick, Silvestre De Sousa is far and away the leading jockey during the last five seasons with 41 winners from 190 rides. Tim Easterby tops the trainers' table with 27 winners from 200 runners in the same period, although he's only just ahead of David Nicholls with 25 winners from 164 runners. Sheik Mohammed is the leading owner with 10 winners from 45 runners.

Over Jumps, James Reveley is the leading jockey with 18 winners from 103 runners and his father, Keith, is the leading trainer with 21 winners from 105 runners. John Wade, with 8 winners from 64 runners, heads the owners' table, just ahead of Andrea and Graham Wylie with 7 winners from 45 runners.

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