Richard Gauthier Collection

Cartmel Racecourse

Although it is widely believed that monks from the Priory held races on the park in the 12th century, the earliest record of racing under rules in the vicinity of Cartmel was on the Cavendish Estate on Monday 12th May 1856 when a three race card was staged (Full race details shown below), with all 3 races won by Mr R Menzie’s Phoenix. Prior to this date races had taken place, as indicated by the extracts from the Workington Gazette shown below, but they were part of a wider celebration and included foot races and wheelbarrow races. On Monday 9th June 1862 the Tradesmen’s Plate was won by Rose of Raby after a number of heats, and the next year the first hurdle race, consisting of 4 hurdles, was won by Mountain Boy. By 1875 the first meeting under National Hunt rules was held, while 3 years later the races were rebranded as Cartmel Hunt, a name which was retained until 1925. It was in 1925 that the Cartmel Steeplechase Company was formed and set about the task of turning Cartmel into the wonderful course it is today. The famous fair, still held in the centre of the course today, came of age in 1955 with the introduction of the dodgems. Automatic weighing scales were introduced to Cartmel in 1962 after they were purchased from Buckfastleigh which had closed. Probably Cartmel’s most famous moment in history occurred in 1974 when Gay Future won a race at the meeting at 10/1 and was coupled in multiple bets with 2 other horses. Both of the other horses failed to run in their respective races, incurring the bookies a big payout. The Cartmel Race Club was formed by Terry Bray in 1980, limited to a maximum of 300 members, and the future of the racecourse was made secure with the formation and first meeting of the Directors of Cartmel Steeplechases Ltd on Monday 16th February 1998.

Currently the course offers 9 fixtures.