Date of Review: 13th January 2023
Address: The Racecourse, Sedgefield, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, TS21 2HW
Phone: 01740 621925
Hotel Accommodation: https://www.booking.com/landmark/gb/sedgefield-racecourse.en-gb.html
Track Layout: (Image: credited & acknowledged to At The Races)
Course Information: The track at Sedgefield is left-handed, with tight bends and undulating, almost rectangular in shape. The fences are easy and do not very often claim casualties.
The finish is uphill and favours fast and accurate jumpers, Although, in good summer conditions, even horses that aren’t the best of jumpers can do well here. Jump racing takes place at Sedgefield throughout the year, with an average of 20 fixtures per year. The course does not hold any fixtures in June and July as the venue is used for weddings.
Racing has been taking place at Sedgefield since at least 1732, but little is known of these early meetings. In 1804, Ralph Lambton, an ancestor of the Earls of Durham, formed a club based at the Hardwick Arms, and Sedgefield became the headquarters of the Ralph Lambton Hunt.
The Racecourse Advisor Ratings Guide to Sedgefield Racecourse:
By Road: Sedgefield Racecourse is conveniently located five minutes from Junction 60 off the A1(M) and is clearly signposted from there. The racecourse lies just outside the village of Sedgefield and is only twenty minutes from Teesside, Darlington, and Durham city centre.
By Rail: The nearest main line stations to Sedgefield are at Darlington and Durham, approximately 11 miles away. Both are around 20 minutes by car or taxi, so it is not entirely easy or convenient to get to without wheels. Rating: 7/10.
Parking: There is plenty of free parking immediately outside the main entrance of the course. The parking is on grass so, it could be a problem for none 4-wheel drive vehicles on rainy days. Rating: 8/10
Pricing: £12.00 entrance fee on the day into the main Grandstand Enclosure is excellent value for a day's racing by any standards. The lowest price we have encountered on our travels so far. This gives you access to all areas of the track. Once again, disappointingly for us (and for a few other punters we spoke to as well on the day) payment is by 100% credit card only. As are all the facilities and concessions available. Therefore, we have deducted a point from the ratings for this reason. The £3.00 locally produced race card was somewhat lightweight and nothing special. Rating 9/10
Catering: As we both enjoy doing "racecourse reviews" and not restaurant reviews, or pretending to be food critics, our aim is to just give you an overall idea of what culinary options are available at the track on race day.
Top marks to Sedgefield for having its own dedicated proper fish & chip shop on site at the course. A traditional cod & chips can be had for £9.50, and if you add a serving of curry sauce, that’s an additional £0.90p. A steak & ale pie with chips is a more reasonable £6.90.
There is also the Bistro 1927 restaurant, which is located directly opposite the main entrance turnstiles. This serves up more exotic options such as a sweet potato, spinach & coconut pie and a chicken, gammon, & leek pie. For the less adventurous, there is the standard steak & ale pie, all for £4.00 each. Mushy peas and gravy will cost you a further £0.90p each.
The issue here was the constant long queues to get served. There was, at least, a 15-minute wait, so if you are hungry, get in there early! There is also a decent sized bar at the back of the main grandstand, which was nice and warm, and you can also view the racing from there. So, all in all, you are pretty well covered for food and drink at this racecourse. Rating: 6/10
Guinness Standard: It is a pleasure to report that draught Guinness is available at £6.30 a pint. Not the cheapest, but not a rip off either. It was well chilled and a very good pint of the black stuff. Rating: 8/10.
Viewing: The viewing of the races here is very good. The horses can be seen for around 90% of the time during racing. You lose sight of them behind some bushes as they go up the back straight and at the top of the bend before they begin the run home for a short while. There is a small grandstand with no seating that offers little protection from the elements. However, the view is very good regardless. Rating: 7/10.
Parade Ring: Is located immediately off the track itself, not far from the winning post on the left-hand side of the main grandstand. The saddling enclosure is directly next to it as well. Therefore, there is always plenty of activity going on. It has plenty of raised viewing areas and is one of the highlights of the course itself. Rating: 7/10.
Bookmakers / Betting Facilities: The main bookmakers' pitch is placed immediately in front of the main grandstand and has around 10 pitches. Very easy to get a bet on and pick up. The course also has a large BritBet concession at the back of the course, near the entrance turnstiles. Plenty of Tote betting facilities are also situated at various locations around the track. Rating 8/10
Friendliness of Course Staff: There is no shortage of friendly course staff located all around the course who are very friendly and helpful. There are no problems whatsoever on this front. Rating: 9/10.
Pros & Cons: Sedgefield is a likeable racecourse. It is compact, but well laid out for both access and convenience. A little down at heel, but at the same time both quirky and welcoming. It is excellent value for money for a day's racing. Decent catering facilities, with the on-site chippy being the jewel in the crown.
Very good viewing of the races and a super little parade ring / mounting enclosure area. The main grandstand viewing area is not the best, but it is not the worst either. Plenty of betting facilities and very friendly staff and racegoers. Sadly, though, the overall feel of the course was that its best days were behind it. Rating: 8/10.
VIP Watch: No VIPs of any note were seen, except for Derek ‘Tommo’ Thompson, who was the master of ceremonies in the parade ring all day.
Overall Dave & Ray Rating: 8.2/10.
The full day's racing results can be found here: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/meeting/2023-01-13/sedgefield/95283
Facilities & location layout of Sedgefield Racecourse: (Image: credited & acknowledged to ARC Ltd.)
Aerial View of Sedgefield Racecourse: (Image: credited & acknowledged to Google Earth)
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