Against the backdrop of the beautiful English Lake District, it is possible to sample national hunt racing in its most original format.
With its party crowds and funfair, Cartmel rekindles the social gathering tradition of the original steeple to steeple chases.
Cartmel only stages National Hunt (jump) racing. There are nine fixtures in the Cartmel racing calendar, commencing on the Whit Holiday weekend in May and running through the August Bank Holiday weekend. Cartmel’s most valuable race, the Cumbria Crystal Cup is staged during the July meeting.
The course itself is a sharp and narrow left handed oval. The big difference from other courses is Cartmel’s home straight which unusually veers off and dissects the main oval. The main circuit measures just over one mile and one furlong with the run-in (the distance from the last fence to the finish line) known to be the longest in the country at just over 4 furlongs.
The steeplechase course has 6 fences; these include an open ditch and a water jump. The hurdles course has four obstacles. However, as the course is narrow around the last hurdle, it is removed during steeplechase races, and then rebuilt for hurdle events.
The narrow track, sharp nature of the bends, stiff fences and undulating contours make it difficult to win from off the pace. The course is ideally suited to front running course specialists.
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