Catterick Racecourse Guide

Racing all year round with both flat and jumps racing fixtures, Catterick Bridge to give the track its’ full name is one of nine racecourses belonging to the Go Racing in Yorkshire initiative. While it might not be as highly regarded as some other venues in the initiative the course is nonetheless one of the oldest in the country and remains a popular racing venue.

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Catterick Major Meetings

Catterick’s racing calendar sees the track host both flat and jumps racing throughout the year although there are twice as many flat racing fixtures than there are jumps meetings. For the most part racing at Catterick is relatively modest fare although the track does host a valuable sprint race in the shape of the Catterick Dash; while over the sticks the track is the venue for the North Yorkshire National.

The popular Ladies’ Day fixture at the track takes place each August on the flat and attracts big crowds to the family-friendly course.

Catterick Track Characteristics

Oval and undulating in nature, Catterick is a left-handed track with very sharp bends making it a course ideally suited to nimble, speedy types and front-runners. Races over five furlongs start from a chute which is all downhill into the straight; while much of the straight also runs downhill. 

A circuit of the flat-racing track measures just over one mile; with the National Hunt track only slightly longer. The climb out of the home straight and into the back is uphill with sharp turns; while the run back towards home is equally sharp but downhill meaning horses at the front-end can gain an advantage by kicking turning in and it is quite rare for horses to win coming from behind at Catterick.

Over jumps Catterick’s back straight has five fences - four quite close together - which put an emphasis on jumping as Catterick’s obstacles are quite stiff. The track’s undulations on both courses suit more agile, speedy types than long-striding galloping types and the track can throw up some course-specialists.

The ground at Catterick is rarely too testing due to it’s quick draining nature so there is less demands on stamina although a horse that travels well and has speed to burn is certainly at an advantage especially on quicker ground. It is a track that is well-suited to front-runners.

Catterick Draw Bias

Races over the minimum trip at Catterick start from a downhill chute and there is a slight bias towards runners drawn low when the ground is quicker than good; while the inverse is true when the conditions underfoot come up soft and high-drawn horses hold slight way perhaps due to jockeys coming across and seeking the stands’ rail for better ground.

This is a pattern which also holds true with sprints over six furlongs; essentially if the ground is good then look for low-drawn front-runners and when the ground is soft look for those drawn high. Being on the sharp-end of the pace is a big bonus at Catterick.

Catterick Leading Trainers

Keith Dalgleish is the trainer to follow at Catterick when looking back over the past five seasons on the flat, returning a sizeable profit from his runners from a near-20% strike-rate at the track. Karl Burke operates a similar strike-rate and is also in profit but to a much lesser degree. 

Over the past season Paul Midgley and Simon Whitaker both boast profit returns and impressive strike-rates; Brian Ellison and Adrian Keatley also do well here, both trainers also showing a profit and a winning record around the 30% mark.

Looking at the jumps trainers over the past five seasons and Rebecca Menzies heads the table over the period, the trainer winning with one in every four of her runners and posting a near-40 points profit into the bargain. Micky Hammond meanwhile also shows a profit despite a poor winning record here; while Jamie Snowden has a near 50% winning record at the track but operates only slightly in the black.

Hughie Morrison sent just two runners to Catterick in the 2021/22 jumps season and both won; while Joanne Foster, Dr Richard Newland and Sam England’s runners all showed profit. Donald McCain saddled his fair share of winners at the track also and remains a trainer to note at the track.

Catterick Leading Jockeys

Connor Beasley has been the man to keep onside in the saddle at Catterick over the past five seasons, returing a three-digit profit for backers from a near-20% strike-rate; while Sam James also shows in profit despite  a more modest winning record. Danny Tudhope and Ben Curtis both ride their fair share of winners here despite both jockeys operating in the red.

More recently Jason Hart has shown up well at Catterick with a near 15-points profit from his rides at the track which is more than double of that returned by Phil Dennis who has the best strike-rate at the track over the past season although he’s only marginally behind Hart.

Looking at jumps riders over the past five seasons and Gavin Sheehan rides Catterick particularly well, the rider almost 50% wins to rides and almost 20 points in profit; while Conor O’Farrell shows an even more impressive profit return and operates at a solid 20% strike-rate.  Brian Hughes and Jonathan England have both down well here down the years.

Last season saw Thomas Wilmott take top honours in the profit stakes with almost 50-points return; while Adrian Heskin won at the track on two of his three rides here. Kevin Brogan, Brian Hughes and Charlie Hammond also all landed their fair share of winners at the North Yorkshire track over the season just past.

Catterick Track History

Catterick’s first official meeting took place in 1783 although there had been racing on an unofficial basis in the town much earlier. It wasn’t until 1813 that a permanent track was laid down at the current venue and the track received its’ first grandstand in 1906. That grandstand is still in operation today with all the requisite improvements and renovations required to make it stand the test of time.

A flock of sheep was once used by a Catterick landlord and local farmer to clear the track of snow; the sheep being used to walk the course and melt the underlying snow in order to make the track fit for racing. 

High-class horse Collier Hill, trained by the late Alan Swinbank, made a winning debut at Catterick in the 2001/02 jumps season before going on to land some illustrious prizes including the Irish St Leger and Hong Kong Vase. The son of Dr. Devious won a bumper before switching codes and contesting on the flat although he did have a brief spell over hurdles mid-career.

Catterick Racecourse Address

The official racecourse address for Catterick racecourse is:

Catterick Bridge
North Yorkshire
DL10 7PE

How To get to Catterick Racecourse

Here’s how to get to Catterick Racecourse if you’re planning a visit to the track.

By car: Catterick is easy to reach via car either from the north or south with the track situated close to the main A1 near to Junction 52, just south of Scotch Corner. The track is well-signposted locally.

By train: There is no longer rail facilities at Catterick leaving Darlington as the most convenient railway station for racegoers. Darlington is approximately 15 miles away. Taxis are available for those who don’t wish to use the bus to Richmond.

By bus: A regular bus service runs between Darlington railway station and the town of Richmond; from there a free shuttle bus operates between Richmond Market Place and Catterick racecourse on racedays.