THE festive spirit is in the air as one of the North’s friendliest racecourses prepares to jump into the National Hunt season.

Catterick has ten jumps fixtures scheduled for the new season, starting on Friday, November 22, with the first race due off at 12.15pm.

That’s followed by the “Christmas At Catterick” meeting on Tuesday, December 17, when pupils from Le Cateau Primary School, in Catterick Garrison, will be singing Christmas carols.

There’s also plenty of action on the track with the first of seven races due off at 12.10pm.

For those wanting to get out into the fresh air post-Christmas, the Go Racing In Yorkshire Winter Festival meeting takes place on Saturday, December 28.

The first race is under orders at 12.35pm and early racegoers will be treated to mulled wine and mince pies, so don’t be late!

Catterick will then be helping to clear heads with a meeting on New Year’s Day. It’s a refreshing way to welcome 2020, with the first race due at 12.25pm.

That’s quickly followed on Thursday, January 9, by the Watt Fences North Yorkshire Grand National, Catterick’s longest and most valuable race, won last year by Sharp Response, ridden by Danny Cook and trained by Sue Smith.

The new jumps season will be the first time National Hunt fans have had chance to see the new developments at Catterick following a £600,000 investment in facilities.

Since June, jockeys have benefitted from an extended weighing room complex, complete with warm-up area, modern facilities, and space to relax between races.

The parade ring has been enlarged to give racegoers a better view of the runners before each race. The winner’s enclosure has also been incorporated into the parade ring, enhancing public safety and making it easier for spectators to move around.

Catterick’s general manager and clerk of the course, Fiona Needham, said: “The response to the new developments have been really positive. We’ve enjoyed a cracking Flat season, featuring 14 fixtures, with just one lost to bad weather, and the National Hunt season promises to be just as exciting.

“Catterick has always had a reputation for its friendly, intimate atmosphere and we’re really looking forward to giving our racegoers a warm welcome and helping them to get into the festive spirit.”

Entry into the Grandstand and Paddock for all fixtures is £15 and under-18s go free.