Catterick going Flat out with racecourse improvements

Looking good: The new-look parade ring at Catterick.
Looking good: The new-look parade ring at Catterick.
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CATTERICK Racecourse today unveils its £600,000 revamp as the new Flat season begins at the North Yorkshire track following the completion of the latest phase of its improvement programme.

The most recent improvements, designed by Richmond-based architects Harris Irwin Associates (HIA), include an extended weighing room complex for jockeys, complete with a new warm-up area, state-of-the-art facilities and space to relax between races.

Liberty Beach strides clear in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley.

Liberty Beach strides clear in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley.

An enlarged parade ring will give racegoers an improved view of the runners when making their selections ahead of each race.

In addition, the new winner’s enclosure has been incorporated in the parade ring, bringing the winning connections into the heart of the action following each race.

Officials say moving the winner’s enclosure into the parade ring and dispensing with the fenced-off walkway though the public area has also enhanced public safety and generally made it easier for racegoers to circulate at meetings.

This is the second stage in a three-phase development plan. The first stage, which opened in December, 2018, included the new main entrance, offices and saddling boxes, as well as a new horse box park.

Summer Sands (nearside) wins at Beverley on Saturday under Barry McHugh.

Summer Sands (nearside) wins at Beverley on Saturday under Barry McHugh.

Fiona Needham, the racecourse’s general manager and clerk of the course, said: “We are really pleased that the second phase has been completed on time; the improvements will greatly enhance the raceday experience for both racing professionals and racegoers alike.

“We’re looking forward to starting the final stage of Catterick’s £3.5m investment plan shortly.

“This is a new two-storey trackside owners and trainers facility, which is due to be ready in the early part of our 2020 Flat season.”

The opening meeting marks the first of 15 Flat fixtures at Catterick this season.

Liberty Beach, aptly-named in the week the world marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, could head to Royal Ascot after winning the £40,000 Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley on Saturday.

Trained in Malton by John Quinn and ridden by David Allan, the two-year-old claimed the historic five-furlong dash by two and a half lengths from Rose Of Kildare for owner Peter Wilkins.

Quinn said: “She’s a very nice filly and stayed on really nicely. We’ll definitely think about Royal Ascot. There’s obviously the Queen Mary and she’ll also be put in the Windsor Castle.”

As for the winning jockey, Allan added: “She’s a brave ‘un, and I wouldn’t put them off from running at Royal Ascot.”

Also bound for the Royal meeting is Summer Sands who took the Brian Yeardley Two-Year-Old Trophy for Malton trainer Richard Fahey, jockey Barry McHugh and the Cool Silk Partnership.

Summer Sands travelled kindly for much of the five-furlong journey before he took control inside the final 100 yards to pull clear of Oh Purple Reign.

Cool Silk partner Peter Swann, who is also chairman of Scunthorpe United, said: “This horse pleased us at York when Barry didn’t give him a hard time.

“We knew he’d progress from that and since then he’s just grown and grown.

“This was a good race, but he’s done it so well in the end and looks a proper racehorse.

“This is a nice prize to win, though, and hopefully we can get to Royal Ascot with him – for me, he looks like a Coventry horse.”