James Moffatt, top trainer at Cartmel for the past two seasons, is planning to throw all available resources at clinching a third successive title at his local course, when the season gets under way with a three-day Whit fixture starting on Saturday.
“I don’t have the fire power that some of the bigger yards have, but I shall certainly be giving it a go. It’s been great to win for the past two seasons and a hat-trick would be fantastic” said Moffatt.
To underline the seriousness of his challenge, Moffatt expects to have at least 15 runners over the opening fixture, which starts on Saturday and continues on Bank Holiday Monday before finishing on Wednesday, May 31.
Spearheading the Moffatt team will be his smart hurdler/chaser Altruism, who has won four of his five races at Cartmel and was desperately unlucky to finish second in his one defeat after jockey Henry Brooke had to ride without irons after the saddle slipped at the second last.
“I am planning to run Altruism on the Monday and hopefully he will regain the winning thread. He was beaten by my other runner Fantasy King and while he hasn’t run since, he is ready to go” added the trainer.
Moffatt plans to use the best jockeys again this season, which should mean plenty of opportunities for Cartmel specialists Brian Hughes and Henry Brooke, although expect to see Barrow-born conditional Charlotte Jones get a few rides this season.
“Charlotte has done really well and will ride my horses in conditional jockeys’ races while she takes off a useful 10lbs so will come in really handy when it comes to taking some weight off horses at the top of the handicap” said Moffatt.
As well as Charlotte, Moffatt also expects to see Polly Steele come in for a few rides later in the year.
The Bank Holiday race-meeting at Cartmel will go ahead as planned on Monday 29th May.
A thunder storm and heavy rain brought a premature end to the programme on Saturday, after the vehicle crossing points became waterlogged and unsafe for racing. The crossing material has been removed and will be re-laid on Sunday. The remainder of the track has drained well and the official going is described as Soft, Good to Soft in places. No problems are anticipated and racing goes ahead.
The first race is scheduled for 2.10pm with entertainment in the enclosures starting from 10.00am.
Cheshire trainer William Kinsey is facing a tricky decision at Cartmel this weekend as he weighs up the options for his talented course specialist Allbarnone.
In three visits to the Cumbrian course, the nine-year-old boasts a record of one win and two seconds – all of them over hurdles – but has been novice chasing so far this year and a switch to the Cartmel fences may be on the cards.
“He is entered in three races at Cartmel. On Saturday, he is in the English Lakes Ice Cream Handicap Hurdle, which he won last year, and on Monday I have him in the Oakmere Homes Handicap Hurdle and the Totepool Handicap Chase.
“Right now, I am not sure which one he will go for. He is rated 11lbs higher over hurdles than this time last year, but ran well at Cartmel off a similar rating last July, so I would be very optimistic should he go for one of the hurdle races.
“He has yet to win over fences, but has shown an aptitude for chasing and so that remains an option as well. I shall be giving it some thought over the next few days, but the one certainty is he will be running in one of them!” said Kinsey.
Cartmel’s nine-day season opens with the traditional Whit weekend triple header on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. First race on Saturday is the Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Novices Hurdle at 2.15.