Flat and Jump
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2 hours, 22 minutes to Darlington, 15 miles from track)
Railway station to Racecourse (Arriva buses operate a regular service from the railway station to Richmond, and the racecourse provides a free shuttle bus from Richmond Town Centre on race days)
Catterick is in the middle of major refurbishments and if how it looks already is anything to go by, it should be quite spectacular when finished. At the current time, there are several bars and two main stands, once of which is very picturesque. The Theakston’s bar by the parade ring is particularly good.
The closest hotels would appear to be in Richmond, but on the day, we arrived by car and so stayed over at Wetherby in the Mercure.
Course enclosure tickets were only £6 on the day and the Grandstand and Paddock were £10 purchased in advance and £12 on the day.
(2) Return before challenge complete,
20 October 2018– UK (54), Irish (4), Rest of the World (2)
We arrived by car as Catterick is one of those racetracks that is hard to get to by public transport alone. The email the night before reminding us of the ongoing refurbishment work was helpful and there was ample car parking space. Although we have not seen any plans for how the refurbishment is going to look, what has been started looks pretty impressive, with what appears to be a grand new entrance and I suspect an upgraded restaurant.
When you walk past the Bridge Hotel (also being rebuilt) and down to the Grandstand entrance you notice one of the endearing and unusual things about this track, the location of the stables. We have seen several tracks where the horses are brought over from a marshalling area, but with Catterick, a temporary set of traffic lights sees the competitors cross the road from the stable block before and after each race. This makes the track one of the logistically demanding in the country. I am not sure if this will be addressed in the planned changes, because it is not an issue, just an endearing detail.
Inside the course once racing gets underway, horses are brought into a pre-parade and parade ring which is off behind the main restaurant. Similar to Redcar (and I suspect operated by the same people) not only is there a lunch menu with a great view of both ring and finish, but there is also the very well-priced afternoon tea. In this case, since we had taken the option the day before, Madam Hoof and I chose to use the Ringside bar and a snack in the café, which was of excellent quality and fairly good value for a race track. The bar also had five champagnes on at very reasonable prices, bigger tracks could learn from this.
The racing itself was exciting with the last 3 furlongs of the finish easily visible from the stands and the rail. The repeater screen was a little small, but it was only really required for the longer races where the horses disappear from sight for 2-3 furlongs behind the lake.
The day was made even nicer by seeing the familiar face of Graham from Redcar races who was on barrier duty. He bumped into us and gave us even more information about the track, which has been running here since 1783, one of the oldest in the country.
It was nice to finally say we have completed all of the 9 Yorkshire racetracks, and it would be unfair to give a favourite, but there is probably only one we would not return to as they were nearly all perfect from the racegoers point of view. Madam Hoof is now looking at retirement options in God’s own county, and possibly becoming members of one of God’s own racecourse.
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