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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Cartmel races

Click here to read details of the 2012 Cartmel Races on cumbrialive.co.uk

The weather might have been unpredictable, but it did little to deter a loyal army of keen race-goers from attending the South Lakeland course for three days of horse-racing.

It kicked off with a special night racing event on Thursday, organised to raise money for St Mary’s Hospice, Ulverston.

Around 4,500 people attended the event, the first of its kind for Cartmel, raising thousands of pounds for the charity.

On Saturday, a crowd of around 13,000 people turned out to the course for more racing.

Events concluded with the last meeting of 2011 on Bank Holiday Monday, which saw 17,000 people descend on the quiet corner of South Cumbria for a day of family fun and action-packed racing.

Horse racing got off to a flying start with the Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding hurdle race, which saw Below the Deck pull clear down the home straight after a nail-biting battle between three leaders.

Spells of rain called for race-goers to don wellies and come equipped with umbrellas.

But the weather failed to dampen their spirits as they cheered on their horses and enjoyed all of the attractions on offer, including children’s characters and guests of honour Peppa Pig and her brother George.

Jonathan Garrett, managing director of the racecourse, told of how dedicated staff had braved the elements, pumping water and working day and night to ensure the day of racing could go ahead.

Mr Garrett said: “We have been very pleased with the turnout, bearing in mind we had more than an inch and a half of rain in 36 hours.

“We’re delighted to have everyone here and have the races off.”

Lord Cavendish said: “There has been a great atmosphere. We want to attract all and sundry and make everyone feel welcome.”

Speaking of Thursday’s charity event, Lord Cavendish said: “One of the reasons we exist is to support the local economy and local good causes.

“St Mary’s is very dear to my heart, I was one of the founders and my feelings for it have not diminished now I’ve retired.”

Celebrity fan, former Catchphrase host Roy Walker was full of praise for the racecourse when he attended yesterday.

Mr Walker said: “I live in the Lake District more or less half of the year and I have been to Cartmel lots of times. For me, this is the best racecourse in the country. It’s unique, so different to every other. I just hope it never changes.”

Sadly, the famous luck of the Irish was lacking for Mr Walker on the day.

He said: “I’ve had a couple of bets, a couple of second places but no wins.”

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