Wetherby racecourse is one of the few racecourses that host both National Hunt and Flat races in England. It is located in Wetherby town, West Yorkshire, only about 19km from the city center of Leeds. It was opened way back in 1891, and hosts a total of 20 fixtures each year, all spread between January and December. The racecourse is widely known to be the leading jump track in the whole country. Racegoers always flock Wetherby just to enjoy the thrill brought about by steeplechase. It staged its first flat race in 2015. Today, flat racing takes place every May and June.
Wetherby racecourse’s first venue was at Scaur Bank, which is widely known as George V playing fields today. In 1891, the racecourse moved to a new venue, off York road. This was after the rent of Scaur Bank grounds was raised, forcing the committee to look for an alternative venue. The first race meeting at its new venue took place on the 30th of March, 1891. It was served by the Wetherby railway station between 1920 and 1950, before closing down. A new grandstand was opened in 1906, but racing was put to a sudden halt in 1915 due to wars. In 1920, the Wetherby Race Company was formed, just after everything had come back to normal. The race company oversaw purchase of the course lease.
Towton Novices’ Chase and the Wetherby Mares Hurdle are the two most notable races held at Wetherby. The Towton Chase takes place every late January or early February, and was inaugurated in 1996. It was named after Towton town, which is located to the south of Wetherby. The race requires horses to compete over a distance
of 4,869 miles, with the jumping of 19 fences. Wetherby Hurdle on the other hand covers a total distance of 3,219 meters. It is sponsored by OLBG.com, and takes place every October or November.