The Ultimate Guide to Wetherby Racecourse

Wetherby Racecourse is set in 300 acres of parkland on the outskirts of the market town of Wetherby in West Yorkshire in the Humber region of England. The first meeting on the course was staged in 1891, but it wasn't until 1906 that the first grandstand was erected. Following the closure of the course for the duration of World War I, the Wetherby Race Company was formed in 1920.

In 1924, a railway line was completed close to the course and its popularity started to increase. The railway line closed in 1959, but the popularity of the racecourse endured. The racecourse buildings were rebuilt following a fire in 1958, a new Club Stand was opened in 1967 and, more recently, the Millennium Stand was opened in 2000. Nowadays, Wetherby Racecourse stages 18 National Hunt fixtures all year round.

General admission prices at Wetherby are £23 in the Premier Enclosure, £15 in the Paddock Enclosure and £5 in the Centre of Course Enclosure for “feature” fixtures, falling to £21, £14 and £5 respectively for “standard” features. Admission is free for accompanied children.

For conferences, exhibitions and other corporate events, Wetherby Racecourse offers a purpose built conference centre with a range of flexible conferencing and banqueting suites and smaller syndicate rooms. The Millennium Stand, opened in 2000 at a cost of £4 million, offers suites spread across four floors and capable of accommodating up to 200 people. Outdoors, Wetherby offers a 25-acre showground and plenty more outdoor space, on grass and hard-standing, suitable for outdoor exhibitions and team-building exercises.

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Getting there

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What's the Wetherby course like?

The course at Wetherby consists of a left-handed, galloping oval, approximately a mile and a half around. There are nine, stiff fences per circuit, four of which are in the home straight and the run-in is short and slightly uphill.

The bends are easy and the course is considered a fair test for any horse, although jumping ability is at a premium.

Notable Races and Events

The most valuable and prestigious race on the Wetherby calendar is the Charlie Hall Chase, a Grade 2 contest run over 3 miles 1 furlong in November. In 2012, the race was won, impressively, by Paul Nicholls' Silviniaco Conti, who went on to win the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the Denman Chase at Newbury and was travelling well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when falling at the third last.

Paul Nicholls' also won the other notable race of the season at Wetherby, the Grade 2 John Smith's Hurdle, on the same card as the Charlie Hall Chase, with Tidal Bay. After winning the 3 mile 1 furlong contest, Tidal Bay reverted to the larger obstacles, finishing second in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and winning the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. The Flemensfirth gelding was also well fancied for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National, but missed both races after suffering a stress fracture of his hind leg.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

Tony McCoy and Jason Maguire, who finished first and second in the 2013 British Jump Jockeys' Championship, are also the top jockeys at Wetherby over the last five seasons. Both of them have ridden 24 winners in that period, but Maguire has achieved that total from 86 rides, while McCoy has required just 62 rides.

Jason Maguire's boss, Donald McCain Jnr, who trains in Cholmondeley, Cheshire, is the leading trainer with 23 winners from 99 runners over the last five seasons, while Andrea and Graham Wylie are the leading owners with 15 winners from 19 runners in the same period.

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