Cartmel Racecourse

Last updated
Cartmel racecourse logo.jpg
Cartmel Racecourse logo
Location Cartmel, Cumbria
Screened on Racing TV
Course type National Hunt
Official website

Cartmel Racecourse is a small national hunt racecourse in the village of Cartmel, now in the ceremonial county of Cumbria, historically in Lancashire. Nine racedays are held each year, starting on the Whit Holiday weekend at the end of May and ending on the August Bank Holiday weekend in August Bank Holidays.


The three-day May race meeting actually takes place over five days – allowing a day off for racegoers to enjoy the Lake District countryside in between each day at the races. The racegoers arrive so early in the day and leave so late that, unlike most racecourses, there is not time to clear up and turn the racecourse around for consecutive days racing.

The two-day July meeting (taking place over three days, with a day off in-between) features the most valuable race at Cartmel, the Cumbria Crystal Hurdle Race, which is worth over £40,000.

The August racemeeting features the Cartmel Cup (a hurdle race) and the Cavendish Cup (a steeplechase).

Although the racecourse is considered[ by whom? ] to be small, it often has the third-highest average attendance of any jumps track in Britain after Aintree and Cheltenham – the largest crowds can be just over 20,000 on one day. The visitors gather in the centre of the racecourse which is bisected by the finishing straight. On one side of the straight is a very large fairground and on the other the Parade Ring and Winners' Enclosure. There is a small grandstand, but in general most of the facilities at Cartmel are temporary. The village shops are a short walk from the track and a visit to the village is often considered[ by whom? ] to be a significant part of a day at Cartmel races.

Cartmel Racecourse is noted as having a four-furlong run-in on the Steeplechase course, the longest in Britain. The run in on the Hurdle track is slightly less than 2 furlongs. All winning connections receive a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding to take home.

The earliest written account of racing at Cartmel dates back to 1856, although it was certainly in action prior to that date. The course was supported by local landowners. Until World War II it was a very small course featuring primarily amateur jockeys, but in the second half of the 20th century the racing programme was expanded and professionalised. Cartmel Racecourse and its surrounding land have long been owned by the Holker Estate, where the Cavendish family still reside. Hugh Cavendish became a Director on the Board of Cartmel Racecourse in 1974 and in 1998, bought out the management team to develop it further under the guidance of his allies at Aintree. This has seen the course go from strength-to-strength, and it continues to grow in stature and service year-on-year. [1]

Cartmel was the site of the Gay Future 'coup' in 1974 that involved switching horses before a race and relying on the lack of communications at the course. [2]

The most popular racehorse at Cartmel in recent seasons is Soul Magic, who has won at the track on seven occasions - prior to the 2014 racing season.

Criticism for misogynistic comments on the racecourse social media account

In September 2019, the racecourse was criticised in the press after its Twitter account made misogynistic comments against campaigner Gina Miller, following her victory over British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the UK Supreme Court over his failed attempt to prorogue parliament in September 2019. The racecourse later issued an apology "if these unauthorised social media tweets caused any upset or offence". [3]

Related Research Articles

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Aintree Racecourse Horse racing venue in Liverpool, England

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Cheltenham Racecourse

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Kempton Park Racecourse

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Ayr Racecourse

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Gay Future was the racehorse at the centre of an attempted fraud by an Irish betting syndicate in Great Britain in 1974 involving two chestnut horses. The plot's ringleaders were the millionaire Irish builder Tony Murphy, a racing enthusiast, and the Scottish trainer Antony Collins.

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Kelso Racecourse

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Bromford Bridge Racecourse

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Barton was a British racehorse of Thoroughbred and Anglo-Arabian ancestry who competed in National Hunt racing. In a racing career which lasted from October 1997 until November 2003 he won fourteen of his twenty-six races. He had his greatest success in the 1998/1999 National Hunt season when he dominated the novice hurdle division in Britain, winning all seven of his races including the Classic Novices' Hurdle, Winter Novices' Hurdle, River Don Novices' Hurdle, Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle and Mersey Novices' Hurdle. After missing the next season he returned to win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the Aintree Hurdle, easily defeating Best Mate in the latter race. When switched to steeplechasing he won the Dipper Novices' Chase and the Mildmay Novices' Chase but was never as effective as he had been over hurdles.

Oscar Whisky was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse who competed in National Hunt racing. In his early career he showed promise, winning two National Hunt Flat races and two novice hurdles. In the 2010/2011 National Hunt season he emerged as one of the leading hurdlers in the British Isles, winning the Welsh Champion Hurdle and the Aintree Hurdle as well as finishing third behind Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle. In the following season he won the Relkeel Hurdle and a second Aintree Hurdle. He won the Ascot Hurdle and a second Relkeel Hurdle in 2012/2013 before being moved up to compete in steeplechases in the following season when he won the Dipper Novices' Chase and the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase. Oscar Whisky was fatally injured in a fall at Sandown Park Racecourse on 6 December 2014.

Remittance Man was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse who competed under National Hunt rules. He was noted for his consistency, excellent jumping and nervous temperament. Between December 1988 and April 1990 he competed in hurdle races, and showed promise by winning two of his twelve races including the Grade 2 Bristol Novices' Hurdle and never finishing worse than third. When switched to compete in steeplechases he showed immediate improvement and won thirteen of his first fourteen races over fences. In his first season of steeplechasing his wins included the Noel Novices' Chase, Wayward Lad Novices' Chase, Galloway Braes Novices' Chase and Arkle Challenge Trophy. He had his greatest success in the 1991/1992 season when he won the Arlington Premier Chase, Queen Mother Champion Chase and Melling Chase. In the following autumn he won the Desert Orchid Chase and the Peterborough Chase but then sustained a serious tendon injury. He won his comeback race in February 1994 but was beaten in his three remaining races.


  1. "Cartmel Racecourse Guide". British Racecourses. 2020-01-25. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  2. "Racecourse owned by Brexiteer calls Gina Miller 'awkward defiant b***h' in a tweet". The New European. Retrieved 29 September 2019.

Coordinates: 54°12′11″N2°57′21″W / 54.20306°N 2.95583°W / 54.20306; -2.95583