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.
Until comparatively recently, Wetherby was the last holdout in Yorkshire that only hosted National Hunt racing. Since 2015 it was also run a small handful of Flat events, though these are vastly outnumbered by jump meet counterparts.
When betting on a horse at Wetherby, seek out an aggressive jumper with great acceleration. This isn’t a course for catching up, and it will not reward methodical thinking. Instead, the straight sprint track and sharp turns greatly reward a runner that takes the initiative.
When it comes to racing at Wetherby, fortune favours the brave.
Wetherby is a relaxed racecourse, with no fixed dress code. In fact, many of the racing meets at this course are themed. This means that tasteful fancy dress is often welcomed.
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, while the 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.
Main Races and Meetings
Wetherby boasts a full calendar 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 until June, before embarking on a three month break ahead of the recommencement of the jumps. A typical fixture list will be:
- October – October is the start of the Wetherby season, marked by an Opening Meeting on a midweek afternoon. Toward the end of the month, Wetherby 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.
- 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.
- 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 Wetherby host 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 Wetherby Racecourse directly. All race meets are subject to change due to a wide array of external circumstances.
The official correspondence address of Wetherby Racecourse is:
How to Get There
- If driving to Wetherby, you can punch the post code above into your Sat Nav. It’s a simple venue to find, as Wetherby Racecourse 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.
- 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.
- You could take a bus into Wetherby 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. If you’re keen to fly, land at Leeds Bradford Airport and take a taxi.
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.
Other Events at the Course
As Wetherby Racecourse is surrounded by rolling hills and occupies many acres of greenery, it frequently hosts external outdoor events. Dog shows, Sunday markets, antique fayres and outdoor cinema screenings are all frequent occurrences at Wetherby.
Naturally, the venue is also available for private hire. Wetherby is a popular destination for weddings an events thanks to its picturesque settings and state-of-the-art catering facilities.
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:
Our team as of August 2020 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
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