Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2 hours, 22 minutes to Darlington, 15 miles from track)
Railway station to Racecourse (Buses do operate from Darlington station but they are a little time consuming)
Taxis – Prebooked Alan's cars for the roundtrip via Taxicode.
By car the track is only a short trip to the A1 which was a popular option on the day.
Three stands, with a mixture of standard, premier and catered tickets. Tote and one bookmaker on site. A good selection of places to eat and drink for the size of the track including a fabulous take away fish and chip shop.
We did the trip in a single day by train but the advice given by the local staff was to stay at the fabulous Hardwick Hall, which we are certain to avail ourselves of when we return.
Standard and premier tickets, discount in advance. We booked our dining tickets through racing rewards and pre-booked champagne for the day at a 10% discount through the track directly.
(2) Return before challenge complete
2nd October 2018 – Tracks Visited: UK (51), Ireland (4), France (1), Barbados (1)
Let’s be very clear, with reference to my comments above in relation to staying and returning, this is a course we would come back to at the earliest opportunity. There are a number of reasons; firstly, it is amazingly friendly. Emma and I spoke by phone before the event and she helped to organise the mandatory bottle of champagne in the restaurant. When we got there, the staff cannot have been more pleasant and helpful. Secondly, please stop talking about how pretty Hexham is. Yes, it’s nice, but so is Sedgefield. This is a track where you can see 90% of the action and for the bits you can’t see as the horses and riders duck behind hills and into dips, there is an anticipation of what is to come. The final 3 furlongs are highly visible on both the jumps and hurdles courses and the last half furlong slog uphill makes the race a complete unknown until the very end. Good luck with your betting.
The layout of the track is one where the pre-parade and parade rings are off to the side and in line with the track for easy exit and ingress before and after the race. This does not create the terrible tidal flow seen at other tracks, but I have to also point out this was a quiet race day so we also have to accept that when busier, things make not flow quite so smoothly.
We ate in the Silks restaurant and the set menu was not only very nice, but the service was excellent. The fact that we had previously organised a bottle of champagne before hand and it was waiting for us at our table at a 10% discount might have made it even more delicious. But the major point to mention here was how good the staff in the restaurant were in terms of both friendliness and service.
The day would not have been anywhere near as amazing if it had not been for the hard work of Emma and here team. We conversed by email beforehand and on the day, she asked us to help out with a best horse selection and prize presentation. We were ably aided and abetted by Stacey and got to meet the lovely Theresa. Meeting the great and the good in the parade ring was a bonus which we will never forget.
This was one of the best days racing we have had this year, but it was only made possible by a very good taxi service to get us to the track and for that we thank Big Al of Alan’s Taxis who was there to pick us up at Darlington and again at the track, on time to make sure we made our train home in time.