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Racing at Carlisle can be traced back to the 16th century but it hass only been at Blackwell since 1904. The track, now run by Jockey Club Racecourses, has a place in history. It was the first in Britain to trial pool betting via the Totalisator Board in 1929. The Cumbrian course is one of the stiffest in the country and the uphill finish is a severe test of stamina, especially on soft ground. Pear-shaped, there are also several undulations on other parts of the track that can unbalance long-striding types. Those drawn low in races up to a mile can take the shortest route into the straight but whether that is an advantage at Carlisle nowadays is questionable as the runners tend to spread out off the final turn and better ground can often be found in either the centre of the track or under the stands rail.
Carlisle’s big meeting of the year is in June when both the historic Carlisle Bell, a 1m handicap, and 1m4f Cumberland Plate are run. The first-named reputedly dates back to the 1600s and has been a bit of a money-spinner for the Burke family in recent years. Karl trained the winner in 1999 and 2007 while wife Elaine was responsible for 2011 victor Miami Gator, though it’s a race in which shock results are commonplace. Bryan Smart often gives some of his better two-year-olds an education at Carlisle, while it has also proved profitable following Declan Carroll and Keith Dalgleish’s three-year-olds recently.
Carlisle racecourse is 2m from Junction 42 of the M6 (signposted Dalston). The number 65 or 66 bus from Carlisle Station will take past the entrance to the track.
CARLISLE (NATIONAL HUNT)
The hilly finish on the Carlisle course is testing, particularly when the going is soft . The fences aren not particularly tricky, however, with tiredness causing most mishaps.
There is national hunt racing at Carlisle from September to April with the Coors Cumberland Handicap Chase in early November, which generally attracts some useful 2m4f and 3m chasers, the most valuable contest in the calendar. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ chasers have a terrific strike rate, especially when ridden by the trainer’s son Sam. Alan Swinbank’s bumper horses also do well, as do Sue Smith’s hurdlers and chasers, and Denis O’Regan rides the hurdles course as well as
Sunday 19th March Results
Thursday 9th March Results
Monday 20th February Results
Wednesday 8th February Results