My Local Racecourse - Wetherby

Features | 26th October 2022

Racing is thought to have taken place in some form or another around Wetherby for thousands of years. The current racecourse has hosted racing since 1892. 

A Jumps Curtain Raiser

The Charlie Hall Meeting is one of the highest-profile fixtures as the jumps season starts to gather pace. The feature race is often the first port of call for Cheltenham Gold Cup hopefuls and it has been won by some of the greats of National Hunt racing. Now named in memory of local trainer Charlie Hall, the three-mile contest was first run in 1969 as the Wetherby Pattern Chase. 

It has a prestigious roll of honour. Gold Cup heroes Burrough Hill Lad, Forgive ‘n Forget and See More Business all lifted the prize, while King George winners Wayward Lad, Barton Bank and One Man were also successful in the early-season contest. More recently Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card thrilled the Wetherby crowds when landing the Grade 2 race.

Wetherby Racecourse

A Long Straight

The Christmas Meeting is another highlight of the track’s fixture list. For year’s Wetherby was the only racecourse in Yorkshire to hold solely jump racing, but that changed when Flat meetings were introduced in 2015. The track is still predominately a National Hunt course. 

It is left-handed and is traditionally one of the stiffer tests of jumping. Work in 2007 to widen the A1 road, that skirts the home bend, forced the configuration to be changed. It retains its long straight with four fences to be jumped from the final turn to the winning post.

Wetherby Racecourse

Rich Northern History

Racing is thought to have taken place around Wetherby for thousands of years. Both the Romans and the Vikings are thought to have raced horses in the area. Records suggest racing in the 17th century took place on Clifford Moor and Bramham Moor to the south of the market town.

The modern-day roots come from steeplechasing in its original form when horses were raced between church steeples. Hedges, walls and ditches were jumped along the way. In the late 18th century races in Wetherby were run between Kirk Deighton and Walton crossing the land where the current track is located. In fact, St Peter’s Church at Walton is visible from modern-day Wetherby Racecourse. 

As racing became increasingly popular, a course was created in 1842 on land that is now Wetherby Golf Club. The first meeting at the present site was held nearly 50 years later. The facilities, including the Bramham Grandstand that remains to this day, were developed in the following years.

Wetherby Racecourse

The Biggest Race In The World

Wetherby remains an independent course and it hosts one of the biggest races in the world, quite literally. The Mascot Gold Cup attracts hundreds of competitors every summer and it is thought to be the largest race for mascots anywhere in the world. 

The more serious racing is especially well received. The layout of the jumps course has made it extremely popular with racing professionals and fans alike. Visitors can expect a warm Yorkshire welcome and high-quality racing in the heart of northern England.

You can still secure tickets for the Charlie Hall Meeting on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of October with U-18s going free!
Ticket options are here