Wetherby Racecourse History

Wetherby is steeped in racing history, with evidence of a meeting near Netherby as early as 206 AD when the Emperor and Conqueror Severus organised races in the vicinity of the town. Over 1600 years later a meeting was held at Park Hill on Tuesday 15th February 1842 with the result shown below, while chase meetings took place at Linton Springs on the banks of the River Wharfe, between Wetherby and Netherby. Clear evidence remains of a Grand National Hunt Committee race in 1865 which was won by Emperor, owned by Henry Chaplin; the racecard still surviving to this day is displayed in the Crown Hotel. The Wetherby Hunt Committee organised a meeting at Linton on 20th April 1874 featuring the Open Hunters’ Steeplechase sponsored by the Mayor of Leeds, who donated a silver cup which was won by Number One owned by Mr R Barker. However, after the tenants of the ground at Linton raised their rents to such an extent in 1890, the committee decided to look for an alternative venue. A course on the York Road looked ideal and there was hurried preparation for the first meeting which took place on Easter Monday 30th March 1891, opening with a race won by the 4/6 favourite Alberta. In 1906 the grandstand was opened, but by 1915 racing had ceased due to the war, when a hospital was erected on the course. When racing resumed the Wetherby Race Company was formed in 1920 and set about the process of purchasing the racecourse lease, making one of its members, Rowland Meyrick, the Clerk of the Course. It was a royal year for Wetherby in 1923, with Princess Mary attending the Easter meeting and Prince Henry attending at Whitsun. Between 1939 and 1945 racing ceased again, the course being used as an Army camp, but in 1953 the freehold rights were purchased and in 1967 the new Club Stand was opened by Lord Willoughby de Broke. The new Millennium Stand, costing £4 million, was opened in February 2000, and in 2015 it was decided to stage Flat meetings as well as jumps. Currently the course hosts 24 fixtures annually.
Tuesday 15th February 1842
Wetherby Steeplechase

1. Fan, aged grey mare owned by Mr Tiplady and ridden by Stephen Shepherd
2. Atalanta, 4 year old grey mare owned and ridden by Mr Atkinson
3. The Wonder, 6 year old chestnut mare owned and ridden by Mr T Hannam
4. Charles O’Malley, aged bay horse owned by Mr Downe and ridden by M Kidd
5. Lincolnshire, 5 year old bay horse owned and ridden by Mr Brown
6. Gipsy Lass, 6 year old grey mare owned by Mr Beary and ridden by W Beary
7. Molyneux, aged bay horse owned and ridden by Mr Harkey

Wetherby continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Leeds closed its gates for the final time in 1884.

The city of Leeds tried in vain to establish a permanent racecourse at a number of venues across the city over a number of years. Perhaps the best period of racing for the city was from 1824 to 1832 when meetings were staged at Haigh Park. The meetings were close enough to the city centre to attract racegoers, yet far enough away to discourage developers. The course had high profile supporters like Lord Fitzwilliam and Lord Scarborough, and important races like the Haigh Park Gold Cup and Yorkshire Stakes, but the meeting literally became dead in the water when the Aire and Calder Navigational Company redirected the course of the river to run straight through the heart of the racecourse.

Thursday 24th June 1824
Leeds Gold Turreen over 2 miles
1. Wanton owned by Mr Ferguson
2. Theodore owned by Mr Petre
3. May-Day owned by Lord Kelburne

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1858 map shown below.
1975-76 Gents 1975-76 Ladies 1976-77 Gents 1976-77 Ladies 1977-78 Gents
The newspaper extract given below gives details of one of the first steeplechase meetings held at Wetherby on Tuesday 15th February 1842 and is shown courtesy of Bell's Life and the Sporting Chronicle and the British Newspaper Online.
1978-79 Gents 1979-80 Ladies 1979-80 Gents 1980-81 Ladies 1980-81 Gents

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

1986-87 Gents 1986-87 Ladies 1987-88 Gents 1987-88 Ladies 1988-89 Gents

One of the principal Grade 2 races is the Charlie Hall Chase over 3 miles 1 furlong which is run in late October or early November. The inaugural running was in 1969 when known as the Wetherby Pattern Chase and became the Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase in 1978, and later the Charlie Hall Chase in 1990. Prior to these dates the race was known as the Emblem Handicap Chase, named after the well-regarded 1863 Grand National winner Emblem.

1988-89 Ladies 1989-90 Gents 1989-90 Ladies 1990-91 Gents 1990-91 Ladies

1969 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Arcturus
1970 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Kildrummy
1971 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was not contested
1972 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Coxwain
1973 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Dunrobin
1974 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Tamalin, trained by Gordon W Richards
1975 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Davy Lad

1991-92 Gents 1992-93 Ladies 1992-93 Gents 1993-94 Ladies 1993-94 Gents

1976 The Wetherby Pattern Chase resulted in a dead heat between Current Gold and Set Point trained by Gordon W Richards
1977 The Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Goolagong
1978 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Fighting Fit
1979 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Sparkie’s Choice
1980 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Manton Castle
1981 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Gay Return, trained by Edward O’Grady and ridden by Tommy Ryan
1982 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Righthand Man, trained by Michael Dickinson and ridden by Graham Bradley

1994-95 Member 1995-96 Gents 1995-96 Ladies 1996-97 Gents 1996-97 Ladies

1983 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Wayward Lad, trained by Michael Dickinson and ridden by Robert Earnshaw
1984 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Burrough Hill Lad, trained by Jenny Pitman and ridden by Phil Tuck
1985 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Wayward Lad, trained by Monica Dickinson and ridden by Graham Bradley
1986 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Forgive ‘n Forget, trained by Jimmy Fitzgerald and ridden by Mark Dwyer
1987 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Cybrandian, trained by Peter Easterby and ridden by Chris Grant
1988 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by High Edge Grey, trained by Ken Oliver and ridden by Tim Reed
1989 The Charlie Hall Wetherby Pattern Chase was won by Durham Edition, trained by Arthur Stephenson and ridden by Alan Merrigan

1997-98 Gents 1997-98 Ladies 1998-99 Gents 1998-99 Ladies 2000 Millennium

1990 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Celtic Shot, trained by Charlie Brooks and ridden by Peter Scudamore
1991 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Celtic Shot, trained by Charlie Brooks and ridden by Graham Bradley
1992 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Tipping Tim, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Carl Llewlellyn
1993 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Barton Bank, trained by David Nicholson and ridden by Adrian Maguire
1994 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Young Hustler, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Carl Llewellyn
1995 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Barton Bank, trained by David Nicholson and ridden by Adrian Maguire
1996 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by One Man, trained by Gordon W Richards and ridden by Richard Dunwoody

2000-01 Member 2001-02 Member 2002-03 Member 2003-04 Gents 2003-04 Ladies

1997 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by One Man, trained by Gordon W Richards and ridden by Richard Dunwoody
1998 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Strath Royal, trained by Owen Brennan and ridden by Martin Brennan
1999 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by See More Business, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Mick Fitzgerald
2000 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by See More Business, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Mick Fitzgerald
2001 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Sackville, trained by Frances Crowley and ridden by David Casey
2002 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Marlborough, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Mick Fitzgerald
2003 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Ballybough Rasher, trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by Graham Lee

2004-05 Member 2005-06 Gents 2005-06 Ladies 2006-07 Member 2007-08 Member

2004 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Grey Abbey, trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by Graham Lee
2005 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Ollie Magern, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Carl Llewellyn
2006 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Our Vic, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Timmy Murphy
2007 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Ollie Magern, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Paddy Brennan
2008 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by State of Play, trained by Evan Williams and ridden by Paul Moloney
2009 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Deep Purple, trained by Evan Williams and ridden by Paul Moloney
2010 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Nacarat, trained by Tom George and ridden by Sam Thomas

2009-10 Member 2010-11 Member 2011-12 Member 2012-13 Member 2013-14 Member

2011 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Weird Al, trained by Donald McCain jnr and ridden by Timmy Murphy
2012 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Silviniaco Conti, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh
2013 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Harry Tooper, trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by Jason Maguire
2014 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Menorah, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson
2015 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Cue Card, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Paddy Brennan
2016 The Charlie Hall Chase was won by Irish Cavalier, trained by Rebecca Curtis and ridden by Jonathan Moore

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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