Nestled in the heart of North Yorkshire, a mere 12 miles from the bustling city of Leeds, lies the historic Wetherby Racecourse. With the A1 motorway skirting its fringes, it’s often referred to as the ‘A1 Racecourse’. The Wetherby Racecourse has been the epitome of horse racing tradition for years, originally specializing in jump races before diversifying in 2015 to include its inaugural flat race meeting.
Now, these two distinct race types comprise 20 annual meetings, drawing a loyal and enthusiastic crowd to the intimate yet vibrant venue. We’ll delve into the rich history of the racecourse, explore the variety of races on offer, and share our Wetherby racing tips to help maximise your profits or minimise your losses. So saddle up, and let’s embark on this exciting journey!
Wetherby Racing Tips
Find all today’s latest free horse racing tips including tips for Wetherby from the most respected professional tipsters from UK and Ireland.
Wetherby racecourse history
Racing at this racecourse wasn’t where it is today. In the beginning, horse races were held in Linton, a small village on the southeast outskirts. The meetings were regular and would have continued if Linton ground owners didn’t demand insane rent for their land.
The local sportsmen formed a committee to solve the rent problem and get a permanent solution for the horse races. Unfortunately, they couldn’t raise enough funds to purchase the Linton land. They went out in search of a new home, and eventually, they landed on their current home. The first horse race on the new venue was held in March 1891, slightly under a year after the last one held at Linton.
In 1906, a grandstand was opened, and between 1915 and 1919, a temporary hospital was set up to help with war casualties. However, the Braham grandstand wasn’t temporary, and it stands to this day. After the war, Wetherby Race Company was formed; they bought the course’s lease and chose Rowland Meyrick as the clerk.
As the course grew in popularity, Prince Henry and Princess Mary scheduled visits in 1923. After the railway line was completed the following year, horse race attendance shot through the roof. Spectators came in large numbers using the train from October 21 that year.
Following a fire in 1958, new buildings were constructed and opened two years when the Club stand was finished in 1967. In 2000, another investment of a Millennium stand worth £4m was made, and in 2016, a redevelopment project worth £3.2m was done. The redevelopment project was intended to convert the racecourse into one of the premium courses in Yorkshire.
The Wetherby track is left-handed made faster by the A1 redevelopments. The hurdle track is the same as the flat track but with six hurdles. However, these obstacles aren’t much of a challenge, and as such, horses are fairly tested. Though the track doesn’t have a bias towards specific horses, long-striding horses have a small edge.
Unlike the flat and hurdle track, the chase course is on the inner track. Though the turns aren’t too tight, the fences are more challenging than the hurdles.
Wetherby’s main racing events
Charlie Hall Chase
This Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase in England is only open to horses five years and above. It is run over 4,369 meters, and horses jump over 18 fences. The race takes place every year in late October or early November.
The race was first held in 1969 and went by the name Wetherby Pattern Chase. It was a replacement for the Emblem Handicap Chase.
West Yorkshire Hurdle
This is a Grade 2 National Hunt hurdle race that is only open to horses over four years. It is a Great Britain race held at Wetherby over 4,852 meters. During the race, horses jump over 12 hurdles. The meeting takes place in late October or early November.
The first race was in 1990. Initially, it was run over 4,852 meters. In 1992, the distance was extended to 5,029, but in 2015 it was reduced back to the original distance.
Wetherby Mares’ Hurdle
This is a National Hunt race that’s only run by mares over four years old. It’s run over 3,219 meters. During the race, horses have to jump over nine hurdles. Like the other three races, Wetherby Mares’ hurdle occurs in late October or early November. The first race was in 2007.
Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase
This is a National Hunt Steeplechase race ranked as Grade 3. It’s open to horses above four years. The horses compete for over 4,869 meters and jump over 19 fences. It’s a handicap race that takes place annually on Boxing Day.
This is yet another National Hunt handicap steeplechase race that is only open to horses above four years old. It is run over 3,050 meters every year in December. Horses have to jump over 13 fences.
Towton Novices’ Chase
This is a Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase open to horses over five years old. It is run over 4,869 meters, and horses have to jump over 19 fences. It is a perfect race for beginner chasers and takes place in February.
Where to bet on Wetherby Racecourse races
With horse betting, you have two options, traditional betting shops, and online betting sites. Though they each have their place in horse race betting, online betting seems to be the better of the two with gradual tech developments.
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Online betting sites
Below are some benefits of online horse betting sites
Extensive horse race coverage
Horse racing happens all around the world. While you might only be in attendance of one horse race at a time, online betting sites offer a vast array of horse races you can bet on from different places in the world. This way, you get to enjoy the sport better as you increase your bankroll.
Because of fewer overheads, online betting sites can make do with smaller margins, translating to making more money.
Ease of use
Betting sites are easy to use. Whether you are a veteran or a novice, you shouldn’t have trouble navigating most sites and finding what you need. Moreover, you can access them from anywhere provided you have internet access.
How to get to Wetherby Racecourse
If you are driving to the Wetherby racecourse, you can punch in the postcode into the navigation. It’s an easier venue to locate because it’s central between Harrogate, York, and Leeds. Of the three, Leeds is the closest main city. Exit the A1 at Junction 46, and moments later, you’ll see the racecourse along B1224.
If you opt for public transport, head to Harrogate, York, and Leeds station to board a train to the course.
You can take a bus to the racecourse from the main towns around.
If you are flying in, Bradford and Leeds Airports aren’t far, and you can take a taxi to the racecourse.
Wetherby Racecourse is a small but great track with a calendar packed with flat and jump races. It strikes a balance between racing programs and a relaxing atmosphere.