Wetherby Racecourse Guide

Wetherby Racecourse
Wetherby Racecourse (Chris Heaton / geograph.org.uk)

12 miles from Leeds, in the North Yorkshire countryside, sits Wetherby Racecourse. It’s occasionally refereed to as the A1 racecourse as the motorway passes right next to the far end of the course.

For many years Wetherby exclusively held jump racing but on 26th April 2015, it hosted its first flat fixture. The two types of racing make up 20 meetings per year at this small but well supported Yorkshire venue.

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The Course

The changes the jump course faced following the redevelopment of the A1 helped make Wetherby an even quicker track. The fences don’t take too much getting over nowadays but previously they were rather stiff. Now it offers horses a very fair test and although there isn’t a strong bias towards a particular type, the long-striding sorts do have a slight edge.

The left-handed flat course is the hurdles course minus the obstacles and the pace on it also tends to be quick so handy types are preferred. Those who set off quickly and lead from the front tend to do well, especially during sprints as the five and half furlong track requires runners to take a bend before the home straight.

Major Races

Wetherby’s top races are all jump affairs and there are several Class 1 events on show throughout the year. Perhaps the pick of the bunch however is the Charlie Hall Chase. The Grade 2 contest has been on the go since 1969, crowning some talented winners in this time such as Cue Card, Silviniaco Conti and See More Business. It’s scheduled to take place every year in either late October or early November.

The Charlie Hall Chase is supported by both the Wetherby Mares’ Hurdle and the West Yorkshire Hurdle so it helps make up a fantastic day of racing. Later in the season and another couple of big races feature during the two day Christmas Meeting. The first is the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase followed by the two mile Castleford Chase, won twice by Viking Flagship. The meeting takes place on the 26th and 27th December each year and is a great way to get out of the house for some serious post-Christmas fun!


Millennium Stand
Millennium Stand (Stuart Shepherd / geograph.org.uk)

Racing usually features at Wetherby for nine months of the year, taking a pause between July and September.

Useful Info

Dress Code

No formal dress code is in place at Wetherby in any of the enclosures but it is asked that racegoers in the Premier Enclosure do come in smart casual clothing.

Ticket Prices

It’s always best to book online, 14 days before the meeting, to get the cheapest tickets for Wetherby. Discounts vary depending on the meeting and the enclosure but expect them to save you between £1 and £2 per ticket. Delivery of the tickets is free and there are no additional fees to pay.

Full price on the day tickets in the Paddock Enclosure tend to cost £15 while Premier Enclosure access is £22. Course Enclosure tickets can only be purchased on the day and are normally £6. Both students and pensioners receive £5 off Paddock Enclosure tickets and £3 off Course Enclosure tickets when purchased at the turnstiles. Accompanied children 17 or under receive free entry.


Adults pay £180 for an annual badge at Wetherby but juniors (18-24) can claim a reduced rate of just £75. This works out respectively at £7.25 or £3.75 per meeting and there are additional benefits on top.

These include: entry to selected Yorkshire County Cricket matches, over 35 reciprocal fixtures and the Clifford Moor bar (shared with trainers and owners), discounts on hospitality packages and the chance to bring a guest along to a meeting for free.

Getting There

Being located so close to the A1 makes Wetherby a very accessible place to reach by car. Public transport is a little trickier as Wetherby has no train station and the track is quite rural (despite the A1!) If travelling by rail the nearest stations are in Harrogate, York and Leeds.

The Connexions X70 and X52 buses take you to Wetherby from Harrogate and the 412 leaves from York. If traveling from Leeds, the 770 West Yorkshire METRO bus is the one you need. Once off at Wetherby bus station, a racecourse shuttle bus will take you the rest of the way free of charge.


Most of the car parking is on a grass field which is free of charge for all users. There is the option, however, of buying a cars to course ticket for £18, which allows one car with a maximum of four adults into the course enclosure.


Former Location of the Racecourse Station
Former Location of the Racecourse Station (DS Pugh / geograph.org.uk)

Racing in Wetherby hasn’t always been where it exists today. It originally began on the south east outskirts, in the small village of Linton. Meetings took place on a regular basis here and would’ve surely continued for longer had Linton’s ground owners not demanded such high rents on their land.

In response to this financial dispute, a committee of local sportsmen was formed to take control of the racecourse. Unable to buy the land at Linton, they sought a new home and eventually found one, Wetherby’s current home on York Road. The first meeting took place on 30th March 1891, less than a year after the final race was held at Linton.

Early Days

A grandstand was opened in 1906 and then a temporary hospital between 1915 and 1919 to assist with the war effort. The ‘Braham’ grandstand was anything but temporary however and still stands today. Immediately after the war, the Wetherby Race Company was created and they purchased the lease for the course and appointed Rowland Meyrick as the course clerk.

With the course growing in stature, Princess Mary and Prince Henry both paid a visit on separate occasions in 1923. The completion of a nearby railway line one year later (closed in 1959) only further increased attendances. Spectators arrived in droves by train to the course on the first available opportunity on 31st October.


A fire in 1958 required new buildings to be built and they opened two years later along with the Club Stand in 1967. Further investment came in 2000 with the £4m Millennium Stand and again in 2016 with a £3.2m redevelopment project, aiming to turn Wetherby Racecourse into one of Yorkshire’s premium sporting venues.