Catterick Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, Catterick Bridge, Richmond, N Yorkshire, DL10 7PE - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01748 811478
Catterick Racecourse Grandstand
The Grandstand (Tony Simms / geograph.org)

Racing has been held at Catterick Bridge since 1783 and that tradition has lived on until the present day, where both flat and National Hunt events take place on a regular basis. Regarded as one of the most glamorous fixtures in the north, the site also hosts the Catterick Sunday Market, which is officially the largest Sunday Market in the entire north of England.

Located in North Yorkshire, Catterick Bridge racecourse is very easy to get to. Just five miles south of Scotch Corner, the most direct route would be via the A1, taking the turning to Catterick Village following the vast amount of signage leading the way to the course. There is free parking for all visitors to the track. Alternatively, the closest railway station is Northallerton, which is nine miles from the course, but with a lack of regular bus services the best thing to do is to take a taxi. Darlington station is a bit further away but there are more frequent bus links so that is the best route to take if you are working on a budget and not arriving by car.

Ticket Prices

If you are trying to look after the pennies, the ticket prices won’t disappoint. Entry to the course is just £5, with grandstand access starting at £15 and as with most tracks, under-18s go free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult.

The Course

For the time being (2019), Catterick is a turf course but there are plans to change to all-weather in the near future. Whether such plans come to fruition remain to be seen as they obtained planning consent some time ago now, in 2015, but progress then came to a halt. Until the situation changes, Catterick will remain a left handed oval shaped track with a run-in of three furlongs. There is also a chute that connects to the exit of the final bend, accommodating sprint races of five furlongs and this can be quick due to its downhill nature.

The sharpness of the flat course combined with the regular undulations means this is a real test for any horse making their debut here and it often takes time to adjust. It’s far more suited to speedier types who handle well rather than big gallopers.

For horses that do take to the course, you see many go through good patches of form here and that’s well worth looking out for if you like a bet. There is no doubt that course form counts for quite a lot and a previous course win, or success at a track of a similar nature, is a major plus.

The jumps course is less undulating than the flat one but still provides its own challenges. While the fences themselves aren’t the stiffest, the way four are tightly packed down the back straight offers a test for chasers and often front runners do well due to difficulties overtaking.

Despite its location in North Yorkshire, the going doesn’t tend to get as heavy as one might expect. In the winter, and indeed when it is wet in general, the going rarely gets too testing due to the type of soil and drainage, and cancellations are uncommon as a result.

Ground Check Important

When looking into draw bias at Catterick, the initial results don’t tell the whole picture. Despite five furlong sprints being run a slightly left handed dog leg, the data at first glance doesn’t indicate an inside draw is of any real advantage.

They do, however, appear to be an adventurous starting spot when the going is good or better. Between 2005 and 2009, the 4 lowest draws provided 17 of the 38 winners in 10+ runner handicaps on good or firmer and it’s a bias that still holds true now.

A stall by the inside is actually a hindrance not a help when the going is good to soft or worse though. Between August 2009 and 2019, in races ranging from good to soft, to heavy, high draw runners posted a winning percentage almost twice as high as low drawn rivals. This appears a unique feature of the straight course as it offers different turf inconsistencies than those found on the main circuit.

Reinforcing this point is the fact that for six furlong races, the bias, although it’s distinctly weaker, is the opposite of what it is for five furlong contests. Here the inside stalls are favoured when conditions are softer than good while outside runners are better off in quicker conditions.

Not a Place to Linger

Catterick is not one of those course where jockeys ought to sit back before attempting to pounce later on. Pace analysis carried out across every distance, but particularly in shorter races, tells us that horses which lead early on enjoy much more success than those that settle further back.

In longer contests, both flat and National Hunt, many races are lost early on, simply by a lack of tactical pace. Jockeys often kick on from the home turn and it’s so difficult to make up the ground here if not in touch or not travelling well. If you do find a horse that is able to win from deep though, it’s likely they’ll perform well on a stiffer track elsewhere in the future.

Major Meetings at Catterick Bridge

Catterick Bridge
Catterick Bridge just near the racecourse (Andy Waddington / geograph.org.uk)

As one of the smaller courses in the country, there aren’t too many major events regularly at Catterick Bridge, however there are a number of charity and themed events normally aimed at children, to make the experience more interactive and family friendly. Catterick Bridge plays host to 28 race meetings every calendar year – 18 flat races between April and November, followed by ten National Hunt races over the remaining months.

Dining and Hospitality

Catterick Racecourse
Catterick Racecourse (G Laird / geograph.org.uk)

There is a wide range of luxury hospitality services available at Catterick Bridge to suit all parties and ensure all guests enjoy an unforgettable day. Whether it is a table in one of their restaurants, a private box for you and your guests or a trackside marquee, Catterick offers it all, with a bespoke option available, ideal for those with specific needs in order to have the best experience possible. More information regarding prices is available by contacting the racecourse directly but as one might expect, there are decent options that won’t break the bank.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches