The Ultimate Guide to Sedgefield Racecourse

SedgefieldSedgefield Racecourse is situated close to the village of the same name in the county of Durham, North East England, approximately 14 miles south of the city of Durham. The first written records of race meetings at Sedgefield date from 1846 and by the turn of the 20th century the course was being praised for the quality of its turf and fences. Racing was abandoned for World War I and didn't resume until 1920. The Sedgefield Racecourse Company was formed in 1927 and the number of fixtures staged annually started to increase. Under the auspices of Frank Scotto, who became chairman in 1977, the racecourse and its facilities underwent significant modernisation, including the opening of the Sedgefield Pavilion in 1991 and the Theakston Suite in 1995. More recently, Northern Racing has continued to improve the racecourse and its facilities, including a refurbished parade ring, a new betting ring and a new weighing room complex. Nowadays, Sedgefield Racecourse stages 18 National Hunt fixtures between March and December.

For racegoers, Sedgefield Racecourse offers a choice of two enclosures, the Grandstand Enclosure and the Course Enclosure. Admission prices are £16 and £4, respectively, although concessions are available for senior citizens in the Grandstand Enclosure and admission is free for accompanied children in both enclosures.

For corporate events, including conferences, exhibitions, meetings and seminars, Sedgefield Racecourse offers a range of rooms equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment. Free breakout rooms are available, together with free Wi-Fi access, free parking and even free breakfast. Outdoors, Sedgefield Racecourse offers 50 acres of grass and hard standing, bound by a secure perimeter with gate entry points, suitable for a wide variety of outdoor events.

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Getting there

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What's unique about the course at Sedgefield?

Sedgefield course
The Sedgefield course consists of a left-handed, sharp oval, about a mile and a quarter in extent, with a run-in of less than a furlong. The course features undulations throughout and some of the uphill sections, particularly the last half furlong or so, are quite demanding. There are eight, fairly forgiving fences per circuit.

Notable Races and Events

KealigolaneThe most valuable race of the season at Sedgefield is the John Wade Novices' Hurdle Series Final, run over 2 miles 2½ furlongs in April and worth just over £10,000 in prize money. The race is sponsored by the leading owner at Sedgefield, John Wade and, in 2012, was won by Barry Murtagh's 8-year-old Kealigolane, who made all to win by 14 lengths under regular rider Lucy Alexander.

One of the other highlights of the Sedgefield calendar is the Durham National, a handicap chase run over 3 miles 6 furlongs in April. The race is currently sponsored by another Sedgefield enthusiast, horseracing journalist Sean Magee, who has raised the prize money by 50% to £15,000 and agreed to continue his sponsorship until 2014. In 2012, the race was won by Donald McCain's 9-year-old Chamirey, who came clear on the bridle from the third last to win comfortably by 18 lengths.

In November 2011, local bookmaker Fred Done offered a £500 reward for the safe capture of “Dwain the Dog”, a stray collie who had been at large on Sedgefield Racecourse for four months and was quickly gaining cult status in the North East.

Top Owners, Jockeys anBrian Hughesd Trainers

Brian Hughes is the leading jockey at Sedgefield over the last five seasons with 31 winners from 222 rides, although Jason Maguire, with 29 winners from 97 rides isn't far behind and has a significantly better strike rate.

Indeed, Jason Maguire's boss, Donald McCain is far and away the leading trainer at Sedgefield over the last five seasons with 39 winners from 125 runners. Fittingly, John Wade, who sponsors one of the major races on the Sedgefield calendar, is the leading owner with 17 winners from 181 runners.

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