Wetherby Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, York Road, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 5EJ - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01937 582035
Millennium Grandstand at Wetherby
Millennium Grandstand at Wetherby (David Hebb / geograph.org.uk)

Located in West Yorkshire, just over ten miles from Leeds, horse racing has been taking place in the affluent village of Wetherby for more than 100 years and was initially held at Scaur Bank, before relocating to its current York Road site. It wasn’t until the 1930s that terraces began to be erected and refurbishment has gradually continued to this day, with the modernised Millennium Stand opened (perhaps prematurely!) in 1999. Wetherby was proud to be the only course in Yorkshire to exclusively host National Hunt fixtures until the decision was made to allow it to host four flat fixtures a year as of 2015.

Wetherby racecourse is extremely accessible by car and is located just off J46 of the A1(M). Customers who are travelling to the course by car are encouraged to take note of the LS22 5EJ postcode for help with satellite navigation. The nearest railway station to the racecourse is Leeds, which is 12 miles away, although the 770 bus runs from Leeds city centre to Wetherby. The track is a further 1.6 miles – around a 30 minute walk or a short taxi journey away.

Ticket Prices

There are three enclosures open to general spectators at Wetherby racecourse. Access to the premier enclosure is available for £21 whilst entry to the paddock enclosure is priced at just £14. The course enclosure is open to all visitors and is accessible for as little as £5.

There is a £3 discount available to all areas for customers over the age of 65, whilst children under the age of 17 are granted access free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult, although naturally proof of age may be required for some older children.

The Course

Wetherby Racecourse
Wetherby Racecourse (Ian S / geograph.org.uk)

For the bulk of its history, Wetherby stood as a jumps-only venue but they expanded their repertoire in April 2015 by offering flat racing for the very first time. The recently arrived flat course is simply the hurdles course minus the obstacles so it measures 1m 4f and has no sprint track for shorter races. Oval in shape, there are two sweeping bends to deal with connected by two long straights, making it a course galloping in nature.

The chase course is similarly as suited to long-striding sorts courtesy of the long bends and easy turns. There are nine fences per circuit with the final four now situated on the hurdles track due to problems caused when the nearby A1 was realigned. Once considered challenging obstacles, the fences at Wetherby are no longer quite so testing and instead offer a much fairer test. In fact, all in all, this West Yorkshire venue near Leeds is very much one of the fairer courses around and is well-liked by jockeys and trainers.

Wait & See on Draw Bias

An absence of a straight sprint track sees 5f 110y races, the minimum distance at Wetherby, begin from a small chute situated at the top of the final bend. Facing a bend so soon after the off, the assumption would be that low drawn runners, situated by the inside rail, would fare best.

So far this has proved not to be the case but we feel there’s been an insufficient number of races to draw any meaningful conclusions. As of September 2019, Wetherby held 21 such sprints featuring eight or more runners and only a surprisingly low three winners started from an inside rail. An unexpected finding and something to keep your eye on, but it’s too early to say if draw bias really exists.

We have a little more data to work when looking at both seven and eight furlong starts but still not a great deal. There’s been a combined 48 starts across the two distances but nothing that yet indicates there’s any real advantage to either a high or low draw.

Those starting on the outside have performed a little worse off but just a handful of wins would put them back on level terms with the data set quite small. Over the next five or so years we’ll begin to get a much better picture of any bias that emerges but for now it’s not something you need to consider for 7f or 8f races.

Major Meetings at Wetherby

Wetherby Racecourse from Harland Way
Wetherby Racecourse from Harland Way (DS Pugh / geograph.org.uk)

There are no major meetings at Wetherby, although the Boxing Day fixture is very popular. However, as well as horse racing, Wetherby racecourse hosts a market and car boot sale every Sunday in the course enclosure. It is also the starting point for the Great Yorkshire bike ride.

Wetherby Racecourse has had its fair share of mentions in popular culture, including a reference in BBC sitcom Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads. As well as this, Wetherby also had several mentions on ITV police drama Heartbeat, which was set in Yorkshire.

Dining and Hospitality

In terms of private hospitality at Wetherby, a dine and view option is available in the restaurant for £82 per head. Private suites are available in two price categories, with Meyrick suites starting from £87 per person and Montagu suites priced at £112 per person. These prices are the cheapest on offer and will vary depending on what meeting it is and the overall availability.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches