CATTERICK Racecourse is preparing for its biggest race of the National Hunt season with the North Yorkshire Grand National the highlight of an action-packed seven-race card on Thursday, January 10.

The runners in the feature race will be competing for more than £26,000 in prize money over three miles and six furlongs of the family-friendly North Yorkshire track.

The race will again be sponsored by Watt Fences, based at Easby, near Richmond, and the victorious connections will receive the Denys Smith Memorial Trophy, commemorating the Bishop Auckland trainer best known for winning the 1968 Grand National at Aintree with Red Alligator.

The trophy will be presented by Mr Smith’s daughter, Susan Carson, who works at Catterick Racecourse, and the trainer’s grand-daughter Caroline Thompson.

A trainer well worth watching out for is Yorkshire handler Sue Smith, who has won Catterick’s biggest jumps race for the past three years. She won with I Just Know, ridden by Sean Quinlan, last year and scored with Straidnahanna in 2017 and Lackamon in 2016, both ridden by Danny Cook.

Mrs Smith won the 2013 Aintree Grand National with Auroras Encore and I Just Know went on to be fancied for the 2018 Grand National after his Catterick triumph but fell at the sixth fence.

Catterick has ten meetings in the National Hunt season, with further meetings on January 23, February 1, February 11, February 26, and March 6 before the Flat season bursts out of the starting stalls on June 17.

Catterick’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Emma Binnian, said: “We are delighted that Watt Fences are again sponsoring the North Yorkshire Grand National. It is a great spectacle, with a tremendous atmosphere, and always draws a knowledgeable crowd.”

This season, racegoers are being given an additional insight into National Hunt racing, with a section of a steeplechase fence being positioned near the parade ring. Racegoers are being encouraged to take “Steeplechase Selfie” photographs, with a prize of tickets for Catterick Races up for grabs at the end of the National Hunt season.

Catterick is well known for being one of the most welcoming dual-purpose tracks in the country and, with entrance tickets starting at just £5, it is a great family day out. Under-18s are free with a paying adult and there are concessions for OAPs and students from £15 to £12 for a Grandstand ticket.

Hospitality, with great food and friendly service, is also available throughout the season.

To find out more, go to: www.catterickbridge.co.uk