I made my first visit to Catterick yesterday and after a very long journey Essex using both buses and trains to reach my final destination I was very impressed with this charming little racecourse in the North Yorkshire and I would encourage anybody reading this that has not visited the track to attend a meeting here and there is no shortage of fixtures to choose from with a full compliment of both flat and NH cards staged here and you can be guaranteed a proper days racing here.
Despite it being a misty day I found the viewing at the track is as good as any other track that I have visited and the the course provides a true but fair test to a horse with its undulations and very well built fences. Its a pity that more southern trainers do not send horses to Catterick which back in the 1980s saw the great Michael Dickinson run plenty of his top horses at the track.
With the ground drying out there have been some surprise results recently and this trend was continued yesterday with Killary Bay who went off a unconsidered 50/1 shot winning the hunter chase from the hot favourite Rumbavu who Sam Waley-Cohan who rides Long Run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup next week rode for his father and trainer Robert Waley-Cohan.
With the ground drying out and the tightish nature of the track it pays to race up with the pace here and all yesterdays winners where never far off the leaders if not making all themselfs.
The opening race a selling hurdle went to the odds on favourite King Fingal who ran out a easy winner. A competitive looking field was assembled for the 3m1f110y handicap chase with the weights headed by former Glorious Goodwood winner Hollins who ran with great credit in second but it was the John Wade owned and trained Blazing Ball who would take this contest tho possibly slightly fortunately with Jason Maguire's mount Smart Act falling at the 13th when in front. 12/1 shot Amber Cloud took the mares hurdle and the following novice chase went to Bridlingtonbygones who got the better of Sparville who was a very rare runner for Kim Bailey at the track. This was followed by the grey Dancingtothelight storming to victory in the handicap hurdle and this was yet another horse who has returned to form since the ground has dried out and judging by this performance he could follow up on this comfortable win.
I would have no hesitation on making a return to the track and out of the 52 racecourse around the UK that I have visited I would put Catterick in the top 20 tracks that I have visited and would certainly put it among the best of the small tracks I have been too and despite the freezing cold weather it was a pleasure to visit this very pleasant racecourse.