Sedgefield Racecourse

Sedgefield Racecourse  Sedgefield is a jump-race type track located in the village of Sedgefield, in Durham County, North East England. It is owned by Northern racing, and has its action screened on At The Races.

History

Racing here dates back to the first half of the 18th Century, although none of it was documented back then. The area became the home of the Ralph Lambton Hunt in 1904, when Ralph teamed up with several other race lovers to form a club. The course raced regularly with annual meetings for races like the Sedgefield Hunt until it was forced to take a break during World War I.

Much improvement was done between 1977 and 1991, under the chairmanship of Frank Otto. The old tin huts were replaced by decent recent huts, and the projects initiated in that period are what form the baseline of the course’s infrastructure to date. A 1999 incident of unguided horses running onto the track that resulted in the death of three horses threatened to overshadow the achievement made by the introduction of a first grade weighing facility the previous year.

The course

Sedgefield is roughly rectangular shape, with fine edges that make for fair turning at the bends. There is a gentle uphill at the end of the run in, with the other sections of the circuit rolling in crests and troughs marked by demanding fences. Initially, the run in was 525 yards from the last obstacle to the finishing line. This however changed once the existent water jump was swapped for an ordinary fence- The John Ridley.

Road and rail access are most viable. Newton Aycliffe railway station is nearest, 5.5 miles off. Stockton-on-Tees (9 miles) Durham (12 miles) and Darlington (8 miles) are also possible access points.

Races

There are 20 fixtures on Sedgefield, run in ten months of a year. The two-moth break comes between June and July, during which the course facilities are mainly hired for meetings, conferences, weddings and concerts. The Durham National steeplechase in October is the course’s headline meeting.

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