Cartmel is jokingly said to be a jockey’s nightmare, due to the fact there’s usually the intoxicating smell of a barbeque or two wafting around the racetrack. However, in reality, the course is a treat to visit as it’s set against the idyllic backdrop of the Lake District from where it attracts some of the largest National Hunt crowds due to the influx of holiday makers. For that reason, most of its fixtures are scheduled around bank holidays and school holidays in order to maximize the number of people that are likely to attend.
The course is adjacent to the small village of Cartmel, and many racegoers arrive early to meetings so they can visit the local pubs, restaurants, and shops. That’s especially true of the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Shop, and regulars are often seen leaving with at least one Cartmel Sticky Pudding.
Below are some key facts about Cartmel Racecourse.
Course Type: National Hunt (Jumps)
Current Owner: Holker Group
It’s fair to say the layout of the Cartmel Racecourse is very unique, with the left-handed oval-shaped track measuring around a mile in length and being very sharp. Runners are almost constantly on the turn until they reach the home straight. The chase track has six fences to each circuit, whilst the hurdles course has four hurdles on each circuit. However, after jumping the final obstacle, runners have a four-furlongs run-in to negotiate.
It’s often an advantage for horses to be on the rail, as this means they can take the shortest route throughout the race. Therefore, the course is ideal for front runners, providing they get to set a pace they’re comfortable running at. For horses coming from off the pace, the ideal place to make their challenge is the home-straight, which cuts off from the main racecourse, which borders the entire course, and comes between the course enclosure and the paddock enclosure.
Cartmel Racecourse is all about hosting meetings around holiday periods. Therefore, its fixtures start on the Saturday of the last bank holiday weekend in May and finish on the final bank holiday in August. There are usually nine meetings a year.
One of Cartmel’s most popular races is the Grand Veteran’s Chase, which normally takes place during the May Bank Holiday Meeting. Many old favourites turn up to battle it out over the stamina sapping 3 miles and 6 furlongs trip.
Meanwhile the Cumbria Crystal Hurdle is normally held in July, whilst the Cartmel Cup Hurdle and the Cavendish Cup Chase are usually held in August.
There are two very different sides to Cartmel Racecourse, the Paddock Enclosure and the Course Enclosure. The Paddock Enclosure is where most racegoers go if they want to dress up for the occasion and the dress code here is smart casual. However, those choosing to frequent the on-course restaurants often choose to make a real day of it by dressing up.
By comparison, the course enclosure is very relaxed, as this is where many large parties, families, and holidaymakers go to take advantage of fairground rides, market stalls, and refreshment tents. You can also pitch a marquee and enjoy a barbeque here.
As with any day at the races, your choice of what to wear may be dictated by the weather. Ideally, you’ll pick a sunny day when you can enjoy Cartel at its finest. However, it’s always a good idea to have a raincoat and some wellies in the car, just in case.
Cartmel has the longest run-in of any of the UK’s National Hunt Racecourses.
Connections of winning horses at Cartmel Races each get a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Address and Contact Details
Cartmel Racecourse, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6QF