Wetherby in the 70s and 80s
I first visited Wetherby Races in November 1976 as a sixteen year old and in those days trips to the races were courtesy of Wallace Arnold coaches and their racing excursions to most courses in Yorkshire.
Jockeys riding on that day included Michael Dickinson, Broderick, Jonjo O’Neill and Tommy Stack. The feature race that day was £3500 Wetherby Pattern Steeple Chase which ended in a dead heat between Lady Herries’s Set Point and Current Gold trained by Gordon Richards and ridden by the “head waiter” David Goulding who cam with his characteristic late run up the home straight. Four years later I was there for what was now the Charlie Hall Chase to see future Gold Cup winner Bregawn and Graham Bradley get beaten 3/4 length by Manton Castle trained by Maurice Camacho at Tadcaster.
The 1984 renewal saw one of my all time favourites Wayward Lad ridden by Robert Earnshaw beaten 10 lengths by Burrough Hill Lad ridden by Phil Tuck and twelve months later I was there again as Wayward Lad now ridden by Graham Bradley got the better of Earls Brig trained at Hawick and again ridden by Phil Tuck.
As now the Boxing Day fixture provided some top national hunt racing. In 1979 for example the Castleford Chase was one by the Tony Dickinson trained Rathgorman who had Neville Crumps’s Even Melody amongst his rivals. Whilst the Rowland Meyrick Chase went to Crump’s Ballet Lord who was chased home by a youthful Mick Easterby’s Father Delaney. Earlier that year Crump had also won the Charlie Hall with Sparkies Choice.
When Michael Dickinson took over the reins from his father Tony at Harewood he was a standing dish at Wetherby and for example in October 1983 he had a treble with W Six Times, State Case and Bright Sheriff. Giving him a good race for his money that day however was Josh Gifford who trained the Bobby Renton Novice Chase winner Homeson and followed it up by the 3 mile handicap chase with Another Duke ridden by Richard Rowe.
Other trainers who were regular winners in that era included the Easterby brothers, Arthur Stephenson, Mick Fitzgerald, Denys Smith and Roger Fisher.
These are just a few of my many memories of Wetherby in the 70s and 80s. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and would welcome any comments or indeed reminiscences of that era that you would like to share.
Meanwhile I’ll scan through my hundreds of other racecards of Yorkshire race meetings around that time and see what other memories I can share.