CATTERICK racecourse is gearing up for the return of the Flat season after a £500,000 investment in its facilities.
The North Yorkshire course has a well-earned reputation for its friendly welcome and charming blend of the old and the new.
But when Flat racing returns in June, racing professionals and punters alike will see a big difference.
Jockeys will benefit from a modernised, extended weighing room, complete with warm-up area and space to relax.
And the parade ring at the popular dual-purpose track has been enlarged to incorporate the winner’s enclosure, giving spectators a better view when making their selections before the race, and assessing the winners afterwards.
Bringing the winner’s enclosure into the parade ring and dispensing with a fenced-off walkway through the public area has also enhanced public safety and generally made it easier for racegoers to circulate.
“The improvements are really taking shape and we’re well on target to have them completed in time for our first meeting in June,” said Fiona Needham, Catterick’s general manager and clerk of the course. “It represents a significant investment in facilities and is a real vote of confidence in the future.”
Over the years, Catterick has prided itself on retaining a traditional feel while pressing ahead with alterations. The framework of the old 1906 stand remains evident but the latest improvements show that Catterick doesn’t rest on its laurels.
Flat racing would normally return to Catterick in April, but the development work has led to fixtures being rejigged, and the first meeting of the new season takes place on Monday, June 17.
That is followed on Monday, July 1 with a new twist – Cocktails and Casino Race Night. Seven races are scheduled for the fun-packed evening meeting, starting at 6pm and finishing at 9pm, though the timings are subject to change.
“We are well known for providing family entertainment throughout the year so we thought it would be nice to do something for adults,” explained Emma Binnian, Catterick’s sales and marketing manager.
In between races, live music will be provided by Hartlepool singer Elena Larkin and three “fun money” casino tables will be a source of extra entertainment. Meanwhile, cocktails can be purchased throughout what is being billed as “an evening of sophistication”.
In all, there are 15 Flat fixtures taking place at Catterick, right through to October 29, and entry is free for under-18s with accompanying adults.
Improved facilities, bags of family fun, and a fresh touch of sophistication – it all adds up to an enticing cocktail of entertainment at Catterick Races in 2019.