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Carlisle Races

Last Updated: October 12, 2018

Horse racing has been taking place in Carlisle since the sixteenth century, though the current Carlisle Racecourse only opened in 1904. The course’s oldest flat race, the Carlisle Bell, was actually first run in 1599. There are also several popular jumps races, with National Hunt crowd favourites such as Monet’s Garden, Tidal Bay, and the former Grand National winner Many Clouds having all won at the track this century. 

Key Facts

Below are some key facts about Carlisle Racecourse.

Established: 1904

Course Type: Flat and Jumps

Current Owners: Jockey Club


The flat course at Carlisle Racecourse is right-handed and measures a little more than 12 furlongs, though this pear-shaped course stages races of up to 2 miles and 1 furlong. The turns are generous, though it is often advantageous to adopt a prominent position coming off the final bend in races run over 7 furlongs and a mile, as this allows you to take advantage of where the ground is best on the home straight. On good or faster ground, that is often up the centre of the racecourse, whilst on softer ground it is normally up the stands rail. The course also has a chute which enables 5 furlongs and 6 furlongs races to be run on a nearly straight course. Meanwhile, the uphill finish is best described as stiff and can provide a real test of stamina for two-year-olds. 

The chase and hurdles courses are also right-handed. Chases can be run up to a distance of 3 miles and 4 furlongs, whilst hurdles race can be run at a maximum distance of 3 miles and 5 furlongs. There are chutes for the starting posts of races run at 2 miles and 1 furlong and 2 miles and 4 furlongs, which enables horses to find their balance and get into gear before meeting the first obstacle. The fences are quite easy, whilst races are rarely run too quickly with the emphasis on stamina in the closing stages.  

Notable Races

The Carlisle Bell is famous for providing racing with the oldest horse racing prizes in existence, the Carlisle Bells. These were given to the winners of the race and can be seen in the Carlisle Guildhall Museum. The race takes place in June each year and is run over 7 furlongs and 173 yards.

The course also stages the Listed Eternal Stakes in June and this race is exclusively for three-year-old fillies. It is run over 6 furlongs and 195 yards and has been won by the likes of Spinning Queen and Opal Tiara. 

One of the most recent additions to the schedule at Carlisle Racecourse is the Houghton Mares’ Chase, which is a Listed Chase run in November over two and a half miles. The 2017 renewal was won by the subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Benie des Dieux. 

The Colin Parker Memorial Chase also takes place in November and it’s a race that has seen many winners go on to better things. The 2017 edition was won by Waiting Patiently, a horse that is strongly fancied to win the 2018 King George Chase.

Dress Code

Carlisle Racecourse doesn’t operate a dress code, urging people to wear what they feel comfortable in for a “day of outdoor entertainment”. However, your choice may well be determined by the weather forecast. Even if it’s sunny, the advice is to take a jumper or coat as the wind can be refreshing to say the least. 

However, one day the racecourse does urge punters to get dressed up for is the Amazing Monday Ladies Day, and dresses and maybe hats for ladies, and suits for men, are very much the norm. There are also prizes for the best-dressed people, if you need that little bit of extra motivation.

Interesting Fact

Carlisle Racecourse is where the Tote pool betting system was first used back in 1929.

Address and Contact Details

Carlisle Racecourse, Durdar Road, Carlisle CA2 4TS
01228 554700

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