ONE of the friendliest racecourses in the north is under starter’s orders for an action-packed Flat season featuring 17 meetings.

Dual-purpose racecourse, Catterick, has enjoyed a successful National Hunt season, with 10 meetings, although Storm Ciara put paid to the most recent fixture on February 10.

There are just two more jumps meetings to go – Racing Club TV day on Tuesday, February 25, and Countryside Ladies’ Day on March 4.

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The meeting on March 4 is the first time Catterick has staged a Ladies’ Day during the National Hunt season, and the fixture features competitions for the Best-Dressed Lady and Best Accessory.

Northallerton-based fashion retailer, La Fille Rouge, is sponsoring the Best-Dressed Lady competition, with a fantastic prize of a bespoke, made-to-measure cape and skirt, worth £300. Millbry Hill is sponsoring the Best Accessory competition, with a stylish Grays Alice Leather Snaffle Detail Handbag as the prize.

The current jumps season was the first time National Hunt fans have had chance to see the new developments at Catterick following a £600,000 investment in facilities, including an expanded parade ring, incorporating a re-positioned winner’s enclosure, and extended weighing room complex.

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Meanwhile, work is continuing on the next phase of development, a new owners’ and trainers’ building, representing a further vote of confidence in Catterick’s future.

“It’s been a really successful National Hunt season and the response to the new facilities has been extremely positive,” said Catterick’s general manager and clerk of the course, Fiona Needham:  “The jumps season is coming to an end but we’re looking to go out with a glamorous finish, thanks to Countryside Ladies’ Day. Then it will be all systems go for what promises to be a busy and exciting Flat season.”

The 17 Flat meetings start on April 8 with an Easter Family Day, featuring a free petting farm in the Course Enclosure, where youngsters can get up close to a variety of animals, including alpacas, micro pigs, guinea pigs and, of course, Easter bunnies.

Gates open at midday, with the first race at 2pm and the last of seven races at 5pm. As always, under-18s go free.

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April 8, which falls in the school holidays, is one of three Family Days when extra entertainment is provided for youngsters. The other Family Days are Forces Family Day on August 4 and Racing Careers Family Day on August 17.

August 4 celebrates the course’s close connections to the Catterick Garrison community, with members of the armed forces and their families given free entry, and a giant inflatable “Boot Camp Challenge” obstacle course.

Other highlights of the Flat season include Ladies’ Day on Wednesday, August 26, and the North Yorkshire track’s most valuable Flat race of the year, The Catterick Dash, on October 17.

The Flat Finale meeting takes place on October 27 before the National Hunt season swings back into action on November 20.

Catterick’s sales and marketing manager, Emma Binnian, said: “Our aim is to always give racegoers a friendly welcome, and great value for money all year round, with plenty of family entertainment – whether it’s over jumps or on the Flat.”

Catterick Racecourse

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