Sedgefield Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, Sedgefield, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, TS21 2HW - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01740 621925
Sedgefield Racecourse Entrance
Sedgefield Racecourse Entrance (JThomas / geograph.org.uk)

Located in the town of Sedgefield, just south of Durham, racing has taken place at Sedgefield racecourse for a long, long time - since 1732 in fact - although meetings weren’t officially recognised until around 1846. Prior to WWI, Sedgefield hosted an annual two day meeting, but after a new racecourse company was founded in 1927, fixtures gradually increased to the average number we see today.

Former chairman, Frank Scotto, made a number of improvements to the site, including bringing in brand new bars and eating areas, a new Sedgefield Pavilion in 1991, as well as a number of new hospitality suites. For various reasons, the racecourse was almost closed three times in the 20th century, but after Northern Racing purchased the course in 2001 they have invested over £600,000 into improving the course and making sure it is up to the required modern standards. The site is also used as a venue for other events, such as weddings and conferences.

The closest stations to Sedgefield are Darlington and Durham, but both are about 20 minutes away by car so customers are advised to take a taxi when travelling by train. Those who are driving should take the A1(M), as the course is just five minutes away and is clearly signposted leading up to it.

Ticket Prices

Tickets come in two separate price bands at Sedgefield. Entry to the grandstand enclosure is priced at just £16 (reduced to £13 when bought in advance), whilst access to the course enclosure can be acquired for as little as £5, making it one of the more affordable racedays around.

Those attending who are under the age of 18 are allowed entry to either enclosure free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult, although naturally identification may be required.

The Course

Sedgefield Racecourse
Sedgefield Racecourse (Robert Graham / geograph.org.uk)

Sedgefield Racecourse is a track that is exclusively used for National Hunt racing and is run left-handed over an undulating oval, which measures 1m2f in circumference. With several sharp bends around a narrow track, it’s a place best suited by more agile types.

The steeplechase course features eight fences, of the most forgiving nature, with an open ditch and a plain fence the two jumps in the home straight. The course also contains a consistent climb over the back, which in turn, provides a sharp descent in the early part of the home straight.

The hurdles course at Sedgefield consists of five evenly distributed obstacles, two of which are in the home straight prior to the winning post. The course is home to some the longest hurdles race in the UK, with some contests for the stayers that are just a little short of three-and-a-half miles long. Both the courses at Sedgefield require stamina, with horses coming from behind to win not an uncommon feat at a track where the going can often err on the soft side.

A Specialists’ Track

The test offered at Sedgefield may not be the stiffest or the most unusual in its configuration but it’s still produced a whole host of course specialists over the years. Fast and accurate jumpers are the ones who have been able to win on a regular basis here, most notably Fatehalkhair who won 13 of his 25 starts on the County Durham course. He wasn’t always that accurate mind you, falling on three occasions including twice over the very last fence.

Other course specialists include Teme Valley who won 11 of 26 visits here. His Sedgefield record is all the more impressive when noting that the Juddmonte-bred horse only managed to win one race at another racecourse across 39 attempts.

Glenugie is another who tended to shine here, striking gold in more than a third of his 24 appearances. His strike-rate is made to look lowly by Greenheart, however, as the Alan Dean-owned gelding suffered defeat on just two of his 10 starts in County Durham.

Major Meetings at Sedgefield

Entrance to Sedgefield Racecourse
Entrance to Sedgefield Racecourse (Hugh Mortimer / geograph.org.uk)

18 fixtures take place at Sedgefield each year, with meetings occurring in every month of the calendar year, excluding June and July. The Durham National is a steeplechase race run in April over the considerable distance of 3¾m and takes place at a similar time to its famous counterpart at Aintree. One popular winner of this race was Fatehalkhair, who went on to win 20 races, 13 of them jump races, all of which were run at Sedgefield.

Dining and Hospitality

In terms of private boxes at Sedgefield, there are three prices ranges. The silver package starts at just £70 + VAT per person, whilst the gold and platinum packages are available for £80 and £90 + VAT per person respectively. Alternatively, customers are invited to dine in the hospitality restaurant, with the menu starting at £57 per head.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches