Catterick Bridge Racecourse, as Yorkshire natives refer to this venue, is a fascinating amalgamation of traditional and modern. Located in North Yorkshire, the always-bustling Catterick offers meets in every month of the year. Both flat and National Hunt courses are represented, depending on the season.
Catterick is the busiest racecourse in Yorkshire thanks to a year-round program. Under 18s are invited to attend racedays for free, and the venue offers a wide range of themed race meets throughout the year.
The first thing you’ll notice at Catterick is the respect for tradition. The main grandstand has retained the same framework and structure since 1906. This doesn’t make the venue old and rickety, though. Essential improvements and modernisations have been made to ensure safety and comfort. You’ll just be able to take a glimpse into the venue’s past.
Catterick has a shorter track than some, stretching to a little over one mile and nine furlongs. The running ground is flat and well-maintained, but it does have some sharp bends. This means that experienced horses and jockeys tend to flourish more than novices, who are often caught out by unexpected twists. This applies to both flat and National Hunt races. If placing a bet, it’s advisable to look out for past winners and regular riders.
Catterick is a very relaxed racecourse, with less focus on pomp and ceremony than some may expect. This is reflected in the dress code. Smart casual is the official policy, though it’s unlikely that you’ll be questioned as long as you are not clad in anything potentially offensive.
This leads some equestrian devotees to sniff at Catterick as, “unglamorous”, though it is also referred to as, “the friendly racecourse.” Overall, Catterick Bridge offers a great day out for families and casual race attendees.
Horse racing and North Yorkshire have long been bedfellows. Catterick hosted events in the mid-17th Century in an unofficial capacity, with the first sanctioned meet taking place in 1783. A permanent track was laid down in 1813, and the course has been a mainstay of the Yorkshire racing scene since.
The grandstand of the venue was built in 1906, and as discussed, the framework still exists – with all necessary improvements in the intervening years. Interest in the venue steadily grew in the early 20th Century, and by the early 1920s it was a staple of the area. This led to the formation of the Catterick Racecourse Company, who still manage the venue to this day.
Improvements continue to be made at Catterick Racecourse, and while the events it hosts lack the prestige of some competing venues, it has made a contribution to racing history. Perhaps the most notable is the emergence of Collier Hill, a horse that went on to win the Hong Kong Vase, Irish St. Leger and Canadian International Stakes – all after first making his mark with victory at Catterick.
Main Races and Meetings
Catterick Bridge is one of the busiest courses in the country and is certainly at the heart of Yorkshire horse racing. Open all year around, the venue hosts 17 flat race meets a year, alongside 10 National Hunt events.
A typical fixture list for Catterick Racecourse will entail:
- January – Four National Hunt race meets (including the North Yorkshire Grand National)
- February – Two National Hunt race meets
- March – One National Hunt race meet
- April – Two flat race meets
- May – Three flat race meets (one of which takes place during the evening)
- June – One flat race meet
- July – Three flat race meets
- August – Three flat race meets (two Family Days and Ladies Day)
- September – Two flat race meets
- October – Three flat race meets (including The Catterick Dish, the most prestigious race of the track, and The Flat Finale)
- November – One National Hunt race meet
- December – Two National Hunt race meets (both festive-themed)
As always, be sure to investigate that a racing event is going ahead before making arrangements and check an official fixture list released by Catterick Racecourse directly. All race meets are subject to change due to a wide array of external circumstances.
The official correspondence address of Catterick Racecourse is:
How to Get There
Private transport is the easiest way to get to Catterick Racecourse, if this is an option for you. The venue is located just off the A1. Exit the A1 at Junction 52, regardless of whether travelling from North or South, and follow the brown signposts that populate the roads.
If using public transport, the best rail station is Darlington – Catterick no longer has its own railway station. Darlington is about 15 miles from the racecourse, so take a bus into the market town of Richmond upon arrival. Once you get to Richmond, you can take a free shuttle from the town centre to the racecourse.
Booking accommodation to attend Catterick Racecourse can be something of a balancing act. On the downside, you’re unlikely to find anything within walking distance of the track. Some degree of travel is unavoidable. To temper this, however, are numerous reasonably-priced options – in addition to a couple of luxury selections if you’re keen to push the boat out.
Budget chains Travelodge and Premier Inn both have a presence within three miles of the racecourse. If you’re prepared to spend a little bigger, The Frenchgate and The King’s Head are luxurious standalone options in neighbouring Richmond. There are also a range of local B&Bs with varying levels of availability.
Further afield, investigate Darlington. There is a sizable Holiday Inn on the A1 here, bordering Yorkshire and Durham. You’ll have to make more effort to get to Catterick from here though, so aim closer if you can.
Other Events at the Course
Catterick Racecourse can be hired for private functions throughout the year, with the obvious exception of racedays. The venue welcomes booking requests and frequently doubles up as a party reception venue or corporate retreat.
One note of caution – do not venture to the racetrack on a Sunday looking for some retail therapy. For years, Catterick Racecourse hosted the biggest Sunday market in the North of England. This has now been discontinued, despite advertisements continuing to run online.
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