I love Northumberland, it’s my favourite place on earth and I think maybe it’s time I came to live here, if they’ll have me.
Hexham is a market town in Northumberland, about 25 miles west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It’s history and particularly that of Hexham Abbey can be traced back at least as far as the seventh century. Like many old towns, some of it’s history revolves around various conflicts. Anglo-Saxons and Vikings fought here and it’s proximity to Scotland made it an occasional place of battle between protagonists from both kingdoms. The was a battle close by during the War Of The Roses which was won by the forces of The House of York.
More recently, a leather trade built up around Hexham in the 18th century onwards and there were many tannery’s in this area. Nowadays, Hexham is officially England’s favourite market town as voted by readers of Country Life Magazine.
There is a wealth of beauty and places of interest all around Northumberland including Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle and Alnwick Castle where many scenes from the Harry Potter films were shot. There is loads to do and see around here.
Hexham Racecourse hosts only National Hunt Racing.
Hexham is a left-handed and undulating circuit of a mile and a half and which includes a severe uphill finish from the end of the back straight, placing emphasis on stamina. The fences are quite easy giving the course a low casualty rate.
Clerk of the course: James Armstrong
Course telephone number: 01434 606881
Hexham is just over 300 miles from Central London, 226 miles from Birmingham, 309 miles from Bristol, 329 miles from Cardiff, 151 miles from Manchester and 97 miles from Edinburgh.
The racecourse is situated 2 miles south west of town, just off the B6305 Allendale road.
The course post code is NE46 2JP
Course parking is free.
The nearest railway station is Hexham Station which is in the town, about two miles away. There are courtesy coaches run by the racecourse, details of which are published on their website.
There are tow enclosures here, namely the Club Enclosure and the Paddock Enclosure. There is no stand as such but the enclosures are considerably higher than the race track so viewing is just excellent. It’s easily the best view I have seen at a racecourse so far.
There is a restaurant called The Pavilion which has views overlooking the course for those who fancy that. The racecourse strongly recommend advance booking.
There are a number of public areas that serve food and hot food. In the Club Enclosure, there is The Chase Bar and also The Curlew Room, the latter having views across the course. In the Paddock Enclosure, there is Princess Anne Bar, The Shire Bar and Bramble Tudor Café.
No question that I will come back here. This is the most beautiful course I have ever been too.
The first race this afternoon was a Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles and looked at the mercy of the Brian Ellison trained Windsor Avenue though at around 1/4 I’m not playing. He ran pretty well in 2nd in a Novice Hurdle at Carlisle last month and was previously unbeaten in two bumpers, winning both easily. His nearest market rival was the Tim Easterby trained Sheriff Garrett who although still a maiden, can always be relied upon to give his best. I did the straight forecast, successfully and was surprised it paid out at 4/5.
Race two was also a Novice Hurdle but this time over the minimum of two miles. The interesting one was Mistiroc ridden by Brian Hughes who at his best would have been clear of these on the flat though had not run well in that sphere most recently and now made a debut over hurdles. The favourite and my selection was the Karen Mclintock trained Weather Front. He had run OK on his introduction to Hurdles at Carlisle last month, keeping on for second behind a well backed odds on favourite. As the race unfolded, most were in with a chance turning for home though my selection was travelling very well and cruised into a lead arriving at the last and won going away.
I did have one more bet and that was a small each way on another Brian Ellison inmate, New List in a two mile handicap hurdle. Essentially this was a recommendation from my twitter pal @genuinetriers and having had a look through the race, I thought it worth a bet. He ran OK and looked to me to have a chance as they started to leaved the back straight though seemed done for a bit of pace as they entered the home straight and just got done for fourth place inside the final half furlong.
That done, I decided to set sail for the evening meeting at Newcastle……….. ?