Ideally situated between the Borders and the stunning scenery of the Lake District, Carlisle Racecourse offers tourists an alternative day out at the races. This charming track has been hosting horse racing meetings since the 17th century and today the course hosts both flat and National Hunt racing at the only track in Cumbria.
Both the flat and jump courses are run right-handed, with the pear-shaped course of between 13 furlong and a mile-and-a-half. It’s a notorious galloping course with the uphill finish making it a supreme test of stamina for runners and riders alike. During the winter months the track offers the ultimate challenge as the going can get very heavy in the typically inclement Cumbria winter weather.
The most notable race meeting at Carlisle is the Carlisle Bell – one of the oldest horse races still in existence. The handicap meeting is traditionally hosted in June and is run over a distance of one mile. The other traditionally popular meeting is the Cumberland Plate which also originates from a similar time to the Bell and takes place over 1m4f in June.
During the summer months, the shorter sprint races are held on the six furlong track which begin on a chute and are raced on the turn throughout.
Geegeez says: “For the jockeys at Carlisle it tends to be a much more tactical race than usual. The home straight of the Grade 4 course sees horses forced to run against the collar of the track, which naturally favours those drawn higher in the stalls.
“In the winter months the National Hunt races are often a case of last horse standing. It’s a real searching test considering the steep hill and the fact that the going is often very heavy. Only those well-renowned for lasting the trip should be expected to prevail.”
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