Hexham Racecourse Guide
At 800 feet above sea level and the only racecourse in Northumberland, the northern track of Hexham has hosted racing for more than 200 years. Hexham is regarded as one of the stiffest courses in the country and hosts National Hunt racing for much of the winter months although no racing takes place at the track between January and February in order to avoid the worst of the weather.
It is one of the most picturesque courses in the country and very popular with racegoers despite not being regarded as one of the more prestigious tracks. The track is renowned for its’ warm and friendly welcome.
Hexham Major Meetings
While Hexham doesn’t have any races of real note that stand out on the racing calendar the fare usually on offer at the Northumberland track is of a decent standard and usually competitive in nature. The Premier Hunter Chase of the North which takes place in May during the course’s Heart of All England Raceday is arguably the track’s biggest meeting although the Cheltenham Festival meeting in March and Ladies’ Day in June likely give it a run for its’ money!
Hexham Track Characteristics
Hexham is considered one of the stiffest tests in the country with a very undulating left-handed oval the climb out of the back and into the home straight is particularly punishing with the ground rising all the way to the winning post. Conversely the run down the back is mostly downhill meaning horses can overrace and go too hard on this part of the track, leaving little for the climb to the line.
It isn’t uncommon for front-runners who have slipped the field in the back to quickly come back to the rest climbing the hill back into the home straight. The fences at Hexham are relatively easy but the last fence in the back straight can catch a few out while the first in the home straight comes soon after the field straighten up after climbing the hill and also can prove a test.
Hexham’s ground can become particularly testing in winter and heavy ground is common here, placing an additional premium on stamina. Horses really need to be able to see out trips strongly at Hexham due to both the prevailing conditions and the stiff nature of the track.
Hexham Leading Trainers
Over the past five seasons Nicky Richards has been the man to follow with his runners operating in excess of 25% strike-rate; while Stuart Coltherd and Mark Walford are trainers to note, the former being the only one in profit over the five year period. Micky Hammond and Lucinda Russell both have plenty of runners at the track although their win ratios are modest.
Sue Smith enjoyed an excellent 2021/22 campaign at the track, returning a strike-rate of 32% from her runners for a profit of almost 50 points; while Stuart Coltherd, Mark Walford and Jennie Candlish both also operated in the black although by only a few pennies each.
Hexham Leading Jockeys
Over the past five seasons only Ross Champman and Sam Coltherd have returned a profit here; while Brian Hughes, Sean Quinlan and Thomas Dowson - all regular visitors to the track - all show significant losses. Hughes has ridden more horses at Hexham than any other jockey at Hexham in the period.
In the seasons just passed, Thomas Wilmott and Ryan Mania rode Hexham particularly well with each rider posting profit; while Sean Quinlan and Jamie Hamilton weighed in with a number of winners each but operated at a loss. Brian Hughes had a disappointing campaign here last term with only a 12% strike-rate, losing 17points in the process.
Hexham Track History
Racing has been synonymously associated with Hexham since 1720 when races were held at Tyne Green although the course moved to its’ current location in Yarridge Heights in 1793 in order to accommodate the sport’s burgeoning popularity. However official records show a much more recent introduction of racing with Charles Henderson the man credited with the creation of Hexham Racecourse in 1890.
The land for the racecourse was purchased in 1907 and Henderson made numerous improvements to the area and course including the planting of copper beech hedge wings at some of the fences. These are still in evidence today.
Hexham Racecourse was requisitioned during the war by the Ministry of Defence who used the land as an ammunition depot.
Hexham Racecourse Address
The official racecourse address for Hexham racecourse is:
How To get to Hexham Racecourse
If you’re planning a trip to Hexham Park Racecourse here’s how to get there:
By road: Despite its’ rural location, Hexham Racecourse lies just three miles south of the A69 which links Newcastle with Carlisle and making the track accessible to travellers coming via the M6/M74 from the west and A1/A68 from the east. Car parking at the track is free.
By rail: Hexham Station sits on the Newcastle to Carlisle route and is around two miles from the racecourse. A courtesy bus runs on racedays both from the railway station and the bus station on a first come-first served basis.
By air: Newcastle International Airport is around a thirty minutes’ drive away from the track on the A69.