Catterick’s 2017/18 National Hunt season starts on Friday 24 November
The flat season has now come to an end and the National Hunt season is about to begin at Catterick Racecourse, with The Start of the Jumps on Friday 24 November.
The first of seven races is scheduled for 12:20pm with the feature race, The Go Racing in Yorkshire Winter Festival Handicap Steeple Chase, due to take place at 1:50pm. The gates will open to the public two hours prior to the first race.
The last race, The Racing Again 19th December Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race, will bring the action to a close at 3:35pm.
During the afternoon, last season’s champion owner, trainer and jockey will be presented with their prizes, kindly sponsored by The Black Bull Inn, Moulton. Paul & Clare Rooney took the owners title with 17 points, while Donald McCain claimed the champion trainer title finishing the season with 62 points while his closest rival, Sue Smith was in second with 46 points. Brian Hughes rode 7 winners last season and as a result was named Champion Jockey, with 33 points separating him and Danny Cook in second.
Fiona Needham, General Manager and Clerk of the Course said: “Last season provided some exciting racing, including Sue Smith’s Straidnahanna winning our most prestigious race, the North Yorkshire Grand National. We’re looking forward to watching all of the action this season and seeing the 2017/18 champion series unfold, with thanks again to long standing sponsors The Black Bull Inn.”
The free shuttle bus will run between Richmond Market Place and the racecourse, leaving approximately one hour prior to the first race and will return again after the last.
This meeting is the first of 10 National Hunt fixtures at Catterick Racecourse this season. The highlights of the jumps season calendar include the ever popular 28 December and New Year’s Day meetings, and the North Yorkshire Grand National on Thursday 11 January. The season finale will bring things to an end on Wednesday 7 March, Countryside Day.


The expertise and dedication of the grounds team at Ripon Racecourse has been recognised by this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards with the team winning the John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year Award.

The four-strong grounds team at Ripon Racecourse work consistently to produce a racing surface that is fast, good/good to firm for every race, whether by irrigation or drainage management. The site hosts 17 days of racing each season – with a turnaround of nine-15 days between each fixture and an average of 65 runners for each meeting (over 1,000 runners every year).

Head Groundsman Carl Tonks said “I’m very grateful and proud of our team’s hard work and dedication throughout the year. To be recognised with the elite of the Groundscare industry is truly an honour and a privilege.”

As part of this expert care, independent agronomy reports in recent years has shown that the turf management process has improved.

In addition to the track, the team also maintains 210 acres of open space, car parks, woodland, lakes and buildings, which accommodate varied use, including:

Over 50 outside events such as

  • caravan rallies, car shows, beer festivals, car boot sales and dog shows;
  • Weddings, conferences and trade shows;
  • On the lake – fishing, diving, canoeing, jet skiing, triathlon training; and
  • Pigeon race liberations.

Organised by the IOG – the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities – the annual awards embrace categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment.

The awards highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level. They are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.

Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “With a record number of entries, this year’s awards continue to demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level. 

“Winning an award is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces – which enables more games to take place – goes largely unnoticed.”

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Pontefract Racecourse in the running for 4 awards at illustrious ceremony

Pontefract Racecourse is thrilled to have been announced as a Finalist in 4 categories for the prestigious Showcase & Awards, hosted by the Racecourse Association (RCA).

The Showcase & Awards is the marquee event of British racecourses that annually celebrates first class customer experience in partnership with Moët Hennessy and Racing Post.

Pontefract Racecourse has been shortlisted in the Best Campaign, Operational Excellence, Love of the Sport and Top Spot categories. From the five Finalists in each category the winners will be revealed at the Showcase & Awards ceremony on 16th November at Newbury Racecourse.

The Best Campaign category celebrates excellence in the sphere of marketing while the #TopSpot Award is looking for standalone initiatives, large or small, that enrich the racecourse brand and/or raceday experience for customers. The Wall of Fame obviously caught the judges eye as it was shortlisted for both of these awards – the only initiative across all categories to have been shortlisted twice!

The Love of the Sport Award celebrates initiatives that both enrich and extend the reach of the sport to customers and the West Yorkshire track impressed judges with their zoned Sunday race meeting which allowed racegoers to experience different aspects of a day at the races.

The Operational Excellence Award recognises exceptional delivery and behind the scenes initiatives that improve the operational performance and customer service at racecourses with Pontefract being praised for the innovative way that they reach out to the racegoer.

Racecourses across the county have done incredibly well with York, Catterick, Ripon, Redcar and Beverley also up for awards at the illustrious ceremony.

Richard Hammill, Assistant Manager at Pontefract Racecourse, said: “It’s a huge honour for Pontefract to be recognised as finalists in 4 categories at the Showcase Awards. It’s a fantastic achievement to be able to compete against the likes of such fantastic Racecourses as York and Ascot.

Having won an award for our Art of Racing Raceday at the ceremony last year, we are determined to keep on improving and better the racing experience for our customers.’

Pontefract only narrowly missed out on taking two awards at the 2016 ceremony when their Rugby League Evening was just pipped to the post.

Stephen Atkin, RCA Chief Executive, said, “I am delighted for Pontefract Racecourse for their success in being named a Finalist in 4 categories at the 2017 Showcase & Awards.

“It is a highlight of our year to see all of the quality Showcase Awards submissions go before the judges to measure the impact and growth of the initiatives that our racecourses have delivered and clearly Pontefract have enjoyed an excellent year.

“I extend my congratulations to the team for their hard work in securing this achievement and wish them the best of luck for the ceremony at Newbury on Thursday 16th November where we’ll see if they can join our esteemed list of winners.”