Welcome to our official guide to Cartmel Racecourse. In this section we explore this national hunt racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, the major races, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview of Cartmel Races
- 2 Cartmel Racecourse History
- 3 Main Races and Events at Cartmel
- 4 Cartmel Racecourse Map
- 5 Cartmel Racecourse Address
- 6 How To Get To Cartmel Racecourse
- 7 Hotels near Cartmel Racecourse
- 8 What Are The Best Online Cartmel Betting Sites?
- 9 Betting Shops Local to Cartmel Racecourse
- 10 Cartmel Weather Forecast
- 11 Other Events Held at The Track
- 12 Summary of Cartmel Races
- 13 Other Racecourses in UK and Ireland
Overview of Cartmel Races
Located in the south of the Lake District, Cartmel Racecourse is unapologetically a ‘holiday’ course; heavily patronised by tourists and those looking for a good day out.
A small National Hunt course, Cartmel Racecourse is situated in the small Cumbrian village of Cartmel, approximately equal distance from Kendal, Morecambe and Barrow-in-Furness.
The course hosts on average nine fixtures a year: primarily over Bank Holiday weekends to appeal to those visiting the area. One race fixture at Cartmel Racecourse even stretches out over five days – taking a day off in the middle to allow racegoers to visit the rest of the Lake District in the middle! Crowds tend to spend the whole day at the course, so there is rarely enough time to clear it up quick enough for several consecutive days of racing. This is a whole family day out, after all!
The track itself at Cartmel Racecourse is a left-handed and tight oval, with the six fences placing less emphasis on jumping than you might expect, although they do include an open ditch and water jump. The run-in after the final fence is half a mile, making it the longest in the UK and a great opportunity for the race to change hands – it certainly adds to some last-minute drama. The final run-in veers off and cuts the oval in half; an unusual shape for a UK track. Everyone that wins at Cartmel Racecourse gets a traditional Cartmel sticky toffee pudding to take home… so it’s worth chasing that win!
Cartmel Racecourse is thought of as small, and it is in terms of size, but it’s not unusual for it to be the third highest attended jumps course in the UK annually; behind only Aintree and Cheltenham. The relaxed atmosphere of the course means that you’ll often spot a fairground on the grounds and are more likely to hear children laughing, smell BBQ food and see people in jeans than you are to hear crowds jeering, smell that tell-tale horse odour and see people in suits.
The informal nature of Cartmel Racecourse adds to its charm and really makes the experience of visiting the venue different to that of any other.
Cartmel Racecourse is only active in the horseracing calendar across the summer months as it appeals to tourists, but the rest of the year is lauded as a popular and unique wedding venue for happy couples in the surrounding area to tie the knot at.
Cartmel Racecourse History
The earliest formal record of racing on-site at Cartmel Racecourse dates back to the 1800s, but documents from the nearby priory suggest that monks may have entertained themselves by racing mules much earlier. Until the second World War, Cartmel remained a small and little-known flats course, but when racing resumed, it switched to a National Hunt set-up and began to increase in popularity with both locals and holidaymakers alike.
It wasn’t, however, until the 1960s that the course began to attract professional jockeys and the efforts of Colonel Davy Pain and his course Clerk, Tom Riley, were rewarded with a formal racing schedule.
Cartmel hit headlines in 1974 when it became the venue for the attempted Gay Future fraud. This saw an Irish betting syndicate attempt to cheat bookmakers by presenting a poorly performing horse before the race; with the aim of lowering their expectations and raising the odds available. As a busy race day, Gay Future was used in a number of combination bets with two other horses – both of whom were withdrawn from racing before it happened. This saw the odds roll over on to Gay Future. The one phone line at the course was then kept purposely engaged to avoid calls from bookmakers off-site, and soap flakes rubbed into the horse’s legs to make it appear he was sweating. Gay Future won easily, but bookies refused to pay out until an enquiry was made. This enquiry, by Scotland Yard, uncovered the fraud and saw the leading syndicate members charged with conspiracy to defraud.
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.
Main Races and Events at Cartmel
The jewel in the crown of Cartmel Racecourse’s calendar is the Grand Veterans’ Chase, held each May in the second of the month’s Bank Holidays. Run across three miles and six furlongs, it features 20 horses and is for older horses – so frequently steals the hearts of those with a soft spot for older racers. It usually sells out at 20,000 capacity.
Cartmel Racecourse Map
The course is left-handed with tight turns. There are six fences per circuit but the track is quite speedy so good jumpers fair well. The run-in from the final jump is the longest in the UK.
Cartmel Racecourse Address
How To Get To Cartmel Racecourse
- By road – when travelling to by road, temporary events signage is usually in place for race days. However, for other events, you’re best to follow the road signs for Cartmel Priory and then rely on local signage closer to the venue.
- By rail – the nearest rail station to the course is Cark-In-Cartmel, which is serviced by free shuttle buses on race days.
Hotels near Cartmel Racecourse
Accommodation in the area is more guesthouse and inn than chain hotel, and options include The Cavendish Arms Hotel, The Cartmel Grammar Country House and the Priory Hotel. We recommend checking availability and cost via Booking.com:
What Are The Best Online Cartmel Betting Sites?
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:
Betting Shops Local to Cartmel Racecourse
Tote facilities and independent bookies can be found on-site at Cartmel. The rural nature of the course means you won’t find any betting shops nearby and aren’t guaranteed a decent mobile signal – so if you want to bet with a specific brand, you’ll need to do so in advance.
Cartmel Weather Forecast
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Cartmel:
Other Events Held at The Track
The management team at Cartmel are working to develop it into an all-round entertainment and corporate hospitality venue and so new events are being added all the time. So far concert race days are proving very popular, with more to be announced for 2021.
Summary of Cartmel Races
A charming and chilled racecourse in the Lake District, Cartmel is popular with locals and also tourists visiting the area. A tight and quick track, with the longest run in the UK, the races are often well-run and have dramatic finishes. The racing is of decent quality but Cartmel is more commonly known for its great atmosphere and family-friendly feel. We would certainly recommend a weekend away exploring the stunning countryside and a visit to this charming and stunning course. Highly recommended.
Other Racecourses in UK and Ireland
Our team as of April 2021 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse
- Ascot Racecourse
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse Guide
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse Guide
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Racecourse