Cartmel Jockeys Challenge in association with The Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge

There is a new name at the top of the leaderboard after day one of competition in the Cartmel Jockeys Challenge sponsored by the Swan Hotel and Spa, Newby Bridge.

Nathan Moscrop has yet to figure in the competition, but leads the way after winning the Unsworth’s Yard Brewery Handicap Chase on Captain Mowbray and following up with a second place on 40-1 shot Miss Biscotti in the Country Refreshments Handicap Chase and a third on Champagne To Go in the Hadwins Motor Group Mares Handicap Hurdle.

The six points take him to the top, two clear of amateur Becky Smith, who was twice a runner-up with Shake It Up behind Captain Mowbray and Camillas Wish in the Hadwins race. She is already two-thirds the way to her total in last season’s competition.

Barry Geraghty’s first ever ride at Cartmel proved a memorable one as he conjured a terrific late run from Dieg Man to win the closing Campbell Rowley Catering And Events Handicap Hurdle, leaving him one of eight jockeys sharing third place on three points. However, he is unlikely to be a player in the competition come the end of the season.

The usual suspects defending champion Brian Hughes and perennial challenger Henry Brooke both made disappointing starts to the Cartmel campaign. Hughes managed a solitary third place on Stay On Touch in the opener, while Brooke drew a blank. No doubt both will be back.

Cartmel Trainers Challenge, a trophy and a trip to Champagne

A winner, a second and a third from just four runners put trainer Rebecca Menzies in pole position after day one of the Cartmel Trainers Challenge on Saturday.

With a fabulous two day trip for two people to the visit the cellars of Cartmel’s champagne partner Louis Roederer in Champagne* awaiting the winner, in addition to lifting the Andrea Robinson Memorial Trophy, this is a competition worth winning.

A one-time Cartmel resident, Rebecca had a second with Xpo Universel before Captain Mowbray found the mark in the Unsworth’s Yard Brewery Handicap Chase under an excellent ride from Nathan Moscrop.

Micky Hammond failed to get a winner, but second places for Shake It Up behind Captain Mowbray and Camillas Wish in the Hadwins Motor Group Mares Handicap Hurdle mean he has eased into second place at this early stage.

Behind them are six trainers on three points each after a solitary winner apiece, but the list does not include Cartmel James Moffatt, who has won the title in the last three seasons. Despite having 10 horses in action, it was a day to forget for Moffatt as all were unplaced.


The Margaret Sexton Memorial Trophy for outstanding achievement of the Year

Arthur Slack, patriarch of the Slack/Sayer family, accompanied by his wife Evelyn, daughter Dianne Sayer and grand-daughter Emma Sayer, collected the Margaret Sexton Trophy at Cartmel on Saturday.

The family achievement in winning the Banks Lyon Jewellers Lady Jockeys Handicap Hurdle last July with the scenes of celebration which followed was enough to give them the Trophy in a year when there were a number of worthy winners.

Nine nominees, one from each day of the Cartmel season, were in the running for the trophy, but the success of Beeno got the nod. The winner is owned by Arthur Slack, trained by his son Kenneth and was ridden on the day by his grand-daughter Emma.

Four generations of the Slack/Sayer family gathered in the winner’s enclosure to celebrate the win reflecting what racing at Cartmel is all about – fun and excitement for all the family.

Now the competition is underway for 2018 and the first nominee is Lucy Alexander, who returned to winning ways at Cartmel for the first time since 2014 when she partnered Final Reminder to win the Hadwins Motor Group Mares Handicap Hurdle.

Lucy, the first female jockey to be champion conditional a few years ago, has had an injury-blighted time of it in recent seasons and to bounce back as she has deserves great credit. She certainly turned the clock back with Final Reminder.

Other contenders for the nomination were Barry Geraghty and Rebecca Menzies

Geraghty turned in a brilliant performance on Dieg Man in the final race. At no stage did he seem to be going like the winner, but never stopped going and after jumping the last got his mount into top gear to win.

Rebecca had her best ever day at Cartmel, saddling her first winner on the course with Captain Mowbray and also collecting a second and third on the card.

Previous winners of the Trophy are Maurice Barnes (2014), Keith and Helen Bowron (2015) and Henry Brooke (2016).

John Sexton (second right) presents the Margaret Sexton Trophy to Arthur Slack, who is accompanied by (from left) his wife Evelyn, grand-daughter Emma Sayer and daughter Dianne Sayer. The Slack/Sayer family also receive a £500 cash prize and £250 is donated to St Mary’s Hospice and the British Throughbred Retraining Centre in their name.


The Hadwins Motor Group Mares Hurdle Series

About one-third of Nick Alexander’s team for this season are mares, a fact which led the Scottish trainer to eye the £1,000 bonus attached to the Hadwins Mares Only Series with some degree of optimism.

And he took a positive first step on Saturday when Final Reminder, beautifully ridden by his daughter Lucy, swept to an impressive five lengths victory over Camillas Wish in the Hadwins Motor Group Mares Handicap Hurdle.

With points awarded on the basis of 12 for a winner, six for second, three for third and two for any other runner, numbers of runners can be important as Stuart Crawford showed last season when running two horses in the final round enabled him to edge home by a single point from Iain Jardine.

Micky Hammond takes an early second place with Camillas Wish, while the three points went to Rebecca Menzies with Champagne To Go.

River Icon, whose two wins in last season’s five-race series took Jardine so close to the bonus prize, went off the 7-4 favourite to repeat the feat and make it three wins from three visits to Cartmel, but she was struggling at the back of the field for much of the trip and did well to eventually stay on for fourth place

The leaders after round one are:-

How do the Challenges work?

Every jockey who has a ride and every trainer who has a runner at Cartmel is automatically included. The challenges work on a points system with three points for a win, two  points for second and one point for third. Come the last race meeting of the season and the Jockey with most points after the last race is crowned champion and receives a luxury weekend break for two at the Swan Hotel & Spa. The top Trainer receives the Andrea Robinson Memorial Trophy.

Results will be kept up to date in each racecard and on a notice board outside the weighing room and on the website.