National Hunt season begins at Catterick on Friday

The National Hunt season is about to begin at Catterick Racecourse with the first jumps race planned this Friday.

The first of seven races is scheduled for 12.20pm with the feature race, The Go Racing in Yorkshire Winter Festival Handicap Steeple Chase, due to take place at 1.50pm.

The gates will open to the public two hours prior to the first race.

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During the afternoon, last season’s champion owner, trainer and jockey will be presented with their prizes, kindly sponsored by The Black Bull Inn, Moulton.

Paul and Clare Rooney took the owners title with 17 points, while Donald McCain claimed the champion trainer title finishing the season with 62 points while his closest rival, Sue Smith was in second with 46 points.

Brian Hughes rode seven winners last season and as a result was named champion jockey, with 33 points separating him and Danny Cook in second.

Fiona Needham, general manager and clerk of the course, said: “Last season provided some exciting racing, including Sue Smith’s Straidnahanna winning our most prestigious race, the North Yorkshire Grand National.

“We’re looking forward to watching all of the action this season and seeing the 2017/18 champion series unfold, with thanks again to long standing sponsors The Black Bull Inn.”

The free shuttle bus will run between Richmond Market Place and the racecourse, leaving approximately one hour prior to the first race and will return again after the last.

This meeting is the first of 10 National Hunt fixtures at Catterick Racecourse this season.

The highlights of the jumps season calendar include the ever popular December 28 and New Year’s Day meetings, and the North Yorkshire Grand National on Thursday, January 11.

The season finale will bring things to an end on March 7, Countryside Day.