Welcome to our official guide to Wetherby Racecourse. In this section we explore this charming Yorkshire racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview of Wetherby Races
- 2 History of Racing at Wetherby
- 3 Racecourse Map
- 4 Main Races and Wetherby Racing Fixtures
- 5 Racecourse Address
- 6 How to Get To Wetherby Races
- 7 Recommended Hotels Near The Racecourse
- 8 Other Events Held at the Course Throughout The Year
- 9 Current Wetherby Weather
- 10 Summary of Wetherby Races
- 11 Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland
Overview of Wetherby Races
Based a mere twelve miles from Leeds city centre, Wetherby is a focal point of equestrianism in West Yorkshire. A fun course that boasts events through most of the year – primarily National Hunt racing – Wetherby is a grand day out for any Yorkshire native or visitor.
It is a popular and lively course, praised for its atmosphere, competitive racing and good old Yorkshire charm!
Until comparatively recently, it was the last holdout in Yorkshire that only hosted jumps racing, however, since 2015 it has also now runs a handful of flat meetings throughout the year, though these are vastly outnumbered by the jump which is more famous for. The main jumps event of the season is the Charlie Hall Chase, one of the first main chase races of the entire UK jumps season.
When backing a horse at Wetherby, often good jumpers and front runners fare well. This isn’t a course for making up much ground, even though it is fairly galloping in nature. Basically it will not reward methodical thinking or getting too far back. Instead, the straight sprint track on the flat and sharp turning jumps course greatly reward a runner that takes the initiative and is bold. Essentially when it comes to racing at Wetherby, fortune favours the brave.
Wetherby is essentially a relaxed and vibrant racecourse, with no fixed dress code. In fact, many of the racing meet at this course are themed. This means that tasteful fancy dress is often welcomed which is not the case at many racecourses across the UK and Ireland. This relaxed and informal atmosphere makes it a great day out for family, friends and racing fans.
History of Racing at Wetherby
It’s no secret that Yorkshire has a long history with horse racing. Wetherby initially hosted equestrian events at the King George V playing fields in the 19th Century, also known as Scaur Bank. In the year 1891 Wetherby racing moved to a new site just off York Road, however, the main racecourse as we know it was built in the 1930s. The course has naturally been improved over time, with the Millennium stand the latest addition, built-in 1999.
Other local courses include Ripon, York and Thirsk which we have also reviewed.
The flat course is left-handed. It is the same course used for hurdle races. It is approximately 12 furlongs, or a mile and a half per circuit. There is no straight sprint track on the flat course as the run-in is short, in light of this 5 furlong races start on a chute and there is a tight bend into the home-straight.
The jumps course is similarly left-handed and it is known as being galloping in nature. It features 9 fences per circuit, 4 of which are in the home straight. The fences are stiff and a good jumper is essential as mistakes. It is generally considered a fair track although tends to suit galloping horses who are able to sit close to the pace.
Main Races and Wetherby Racing Fixtures
The course boasts a full calendar of events and racing meetings throughout the year. Officially, the National Hunt season commences in October and runs through to early April. The course than hosts a handful of flat races in June, before embarking on a three month break (to let the grass grow back) ahead of the recommencement of the jumps seaons. A typical fixture list will be:
- October – October is the start of the Wetherby season and the main NH season in earnest, marked by an Opening Meeting on a midweek afternoon. Toward the end of the month, it hosts a two-day event, currently sponsored by Bet365. This festival of jump racing will play host to a range of popular races, including The Charlie Hall Chase, the Towton Novices Hurdle, the Wetherby Mares’ Hurdle and the West Yorkshire Hurdle – all of which are top class races and have been won by famous jockey & trainer combinations over the years.
- November – November sees the National Hunt party continue at Wetherby. The Peaked Cap & Pearls Raceday is followed up later in the month by a traditional, midweek National Hunt raceday.
- December – December is filled with festive cheer at Wetherby. Christmas Cracker Saturday is an exciting event at the start of the month, while Boxing Day and December 27th play host to The Yorkshire Christmas Meeting. These meets are headlined by the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase and Castleford Chase respectively – again two of the main chases held anywhere in the UK season.
- January – Don’t pack away your festive attire on January 5th, as you’ll need it for Wetherby’s Christmas Jumper Raceday in mid-January. There is also a midweek raceday later in the month.
- February – The beginning of February sees the themed Medieval Day, which is headlined by the Towton Novices’ Chase. A midweek raceday follows later in the month – we are still firmly in the National Hunt season at this point of the year.
- March – March is another bumper month at Wetherby. The months begins in low-key fashion with a traditional raceday, but this is followed by Irish Day – which, naturally, is a celebration of St. Patrick. Wear a Hat Day follows later in the month.
- April – If Easter falls in April, the opening of the school holidays will be marked with a Family Fun Day. This is also traditionally the final National Hunt meet of the Wetherby season. Another Family Day follows later in the month, but this one is focused on Flat racing – headlined by the Mascot Gold Cup.
- May – This is a lower-key month for Wetherby, with a solitary Flat race meet mid-month.
- June – Wetherby concludes its season with Ladies Night in mid-June, another Flat race meet that celebrates everything we love about this sport.
Always be sure to investigate that a racing event is going ahead before making arrangements and check an official fixture list released by the course directly. All race meets are subject to change due to a wide array of external circumstances.
The official correspondence address for the racecourse is as below:
How to Get To Wetherby Races
There are lots of options to consider when travelling to the races:
- By car – if driving to Wetherby, you can punch the post code into your Sat Nav. It’s a simple venue to find, as it is central between Leeds, York and Harrogate, with the former being the closest major city. Just leave the A1(M) at Junction 46 and you’ll find the venue a few minutes later, along the B1224.
- By train – if you’re using public transport, head to the aforementioned Leeds, York or Harrogate stations – Wetherby has not had its own rail station since the 1950s. All these stations are served by major routes and are a short taxi ride from the racecourse.
- By foot – you could take a bus into the town centre, but you’re still almost two miles from the racecourse here. That’s a 40-minute walk that you’d prefer to avoid in bad weather (check our weather guide below).
- By air – if you’re keen to fly or are visiting from overseas, Leeds and Bradford Airport is not far and you can take a taxi when landing.
Recommended Hotels Near The Racecourse
You won’t struggle for accommodation when making an overnight trip to Wetherby races. With three cities nearby, there will be countless chains and boutique hotels vying for your business. If you’re keen to get even closer, however, there are a handful of options.
The Bridge Hotel and Spa is around three miles from the venue but is widely regarded as the finest hotel in the area (albeit with a price tag to match.) If you’d prefer something a little less luxurious but even closer to the racecourse, you’ll find a Days Inn and Mercure within a mile of the venue. At BRC we recommend booking via Booking.com who have lots of great options to suit various budgets. Check out their best deals today:
Other Events Held at the Course Throughout The Year
Surrounded by rolling hills and occupies many acres of greenery, it frequently hosts external outdoor events including dog shows, Sunday markets, antique fayres and outdoor cinema screenings – they are all frequent occurrences.
Naturally, the venue is also available for private hire. Wetherby is a popular destination for weddings events thanks to its picturesque settings and state-of-the-art catering facilities. For more information simply contact the venue who will be more than willing to help and supply any literature or info that you need.
Current Wetherby Weather
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Wetherby:
Summary of Wetherby Races
A great track which has a packed calendar of both jumping and flat racing. It balances a quality racing programme with a great inclusive and relaxed atmosphere. It has masses of Yorkshire charm and style. Something of an understated Yorkshire course we love it and can see why it is so popular with locals and those coming from further afield. Definitely worth a visit – especially the Boxing Day meeting which is superb.
Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland
Our team as of October 2020 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse Guide
- Ascot Races
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse Guide
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Curragh Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Downpatrick Racecourse Guide
- Dundalk Stadium Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse Guide
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Galway Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Leopardstown Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Naas Racecourse Guide
- Navan Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Races