While York is regarded by many as the Ascot of the North, Wetherby is seen by many as the Cheltenham of the North, and a hugely popular day out for the family. It is the only racecourse in the whole of Yorkshire to host nothing but National Hunt jump meetings. The courses at York, Ripon, Thirsk, Catterick, Pontefract, Beverley and Redcar are all home to flat racing, while Doncaster sees horses competing on both a flat track and over jumps. It has race meetings all through the year, unlike the flat racecourses where meetings only run from Spring to Autumn.
Wetherby is regarded by jockeys and trainers as one of the most difficult National Hunt tracks on which to race, so has seen some impressive
winners over the years. However, it is not uncommon for meetings at Wetherby to be called off due to Yorkshire’s volatile weather. This has resulted in provisional plans to build an extra all-weather track, to be used during the unpredictable winter season.
Before racing was held at the current racecourse on the York Road, jump meetings occurred frequently at Linton, a village one mile out of Wetherby, with the first recorded meeting here in 1842. However, when the Linton ground’s owners raised the rent on the ground to such an unreasonable level, an alternative location for the course was required, with York Road eventually chosen as the destination. The first meeting was held on Easter Monday, 1891, with the 4/6 favourite Alberta the very first Wetherby winner.
In 1906, the Grandstand was opened, but terracing wasn’t introduced until the 1930s, and it wasn’t until the ’70s that the two-tier stand in use today was put up. What will probably be a surprise to the younger generations visiting Wetherby races is that, from 1924 right through to 1963, trains ran to the racecourse. For many years, the Raceday Specials would run from Bradford Interchange to Wetherby railway station, within a short distance of the course itself. However, after this station closed down, the closest rail station to the course was on Linton Road, on the opposite side of the Wetherby area. Now there are no train services serving Wetherby.
After being utilised as a hospital during the First World War, it was used as an Army camp during the Second World War. During both periods, racing was non-existent at the racecourse. In 1960, the racecourse built new buildings after the old ones had been wrecked by fires two years earlier, and in 1967, Lord Willoughby de Broke cut the tape of the new Club Stand. Further developments took place in 2000. The aptly named Millennium Stand, which cost £4 million to construct, was opened in February 2000. Just like the Knavesmire Stand at York, the Millennium Stand gives Wetherby that extra dimension to its services. While it offers a fantastic raceday experience, it also allows for executive banqueting and conference facilities.
One of the biggest course favourites at Wetherby was without a doubt Mister McGoldrick. A superb eight career wins (out of a total twelve) came at Wetherby, the first of which was on November ’02. His only ever defeat there came in April ’03. All in all this gave him a remarkable record at the course and a somewhat legendary status there. Mister McGoldrick is also known for a highly respectable third-placed finish in the race that determines the best two-mile chaser, the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival, so it is no surprise he is so well loved at Wetherby.
Wetherby’s Big Races
Despite the fact there are no Grade 1 meetings at Wetherby, it is still home to a couple of Grade 2 races well-known in the racing world. The Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is seen by many racing fanatics as the kick-off to the National Hunt season, and in 2003 was "the richest race ever run at Wetherby" (now worth £90,000). Another key Wetherby race is the skybet.com Castleford Chase (worth £30,000), held just before Christmas.
For all enquiries please contact:
Tel: 01937 582035
Fax: 01937 588021
Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 01937 582035 or at the gates upon arrival.
|Enclosure||Standard Raceday||Feature Raceday||Feature Plus Raceday|
|Pick of the Paddock||£17||£18||£20|
|Cars to Course (inc. 4 Adults)||£14||£14||£17|
|OAPs to Course||£2||£2||£2.50|
- Under-16s free in all enclosures of the course.
- All car & coach parking free.
- Please note Pick of the Paddock tickets must be purchased in advance and are not available at the gates upon entry.
For more detailed information on discounts, group packages and the types of racedays Wetherby has to offer, please visit the website
From the A1 North or South – Exit at Junction 46 and follow the sign posted Racecourse. Situated on the B1224 (Wetherby/York Road), on the outskirts of Wetherby. The racecourse is at the east side of the A1.
The nearest railway stations to the racecourse are Leeds, 12 miles away, and York, 14 miles away.
For information and train times in West Yorkshire, please call 0113 2457676 (West Yorkshire) or 08457 484950 (National). Alternatively, visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.
There is a frequent service running from Leeds and Harrogate bus stations to Wetherby bus station. For exact times visit the Harrogate & District website website, or call 0113 2457676.
A service runs from York bus station to Wetherby marketplace. For further details call 0113 2457676.
Walking from Wetherby Town Centre
The racecourse is approximately a half-hour walk from from the centre of Wetherby. From the marketplace, go to North Street and walk in a northerly direction until you reach an Esso garage. Turn right here onto York Road. The racecourse entrance is located on the far side of the A1.