Carlisle Racecourse Guide

While Carlisle racecourse might not be considered one of the country’s premier racing venues it’s contribution to the sport can’t be underestimated and the Cumbria venue provides a stern year-round test for horses and jockeys alike with its’ many flat and National Hunt fixtures boasting competitive action under both codes.

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Carlisle Major Meetings

Carlisle might not host much in the way of Pattern races, but it does throw up some competitive fare both on the flat and over the jumps. On the flat the Carlisle Gold Bell is the biggest race of the season, closely followed by the Cumberland Plate and the track is also the only one in the country to host a meeting restricted to female riders only, taking place each August and the fixture has quickly became one of the favourite meetings of the season.

Carlisle’s jumps racing track is one of the most popular among northern trainers due to the quality of racing and the track providing a very good test of ability. There’s no shortage of quality races either with the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase being the feature at the track and the race has been won by some notable types including Many Clouds, Monet’s Garden and Tidal Bay among others. 

Carlisle Track Characteristics

The track at Carlisle is shaped like a pear and is right-handed and galloping in nature with some undulation, especially in the home straight which is uphill all the way. A circuit of the track is just over a mile and a half and the uphill climb to the winning post places real demands on a horse’s stamina, all the more so when the ground is testing. The bends are relatively easy for horses to negotiate.

Sprint races at Carlisle and staying races of two miles both start from a chute that adjoins the home straight. Hard-luck stories are few and far between at Carlisle and fields can be strung out especially in softer ground.

Over jumps the course takes a lot of getting, a downhill run away from the stands is tempered by an uphill climb into the back-straight. From there the course levels off before running downhill again and turning into the home straight. The first fence in the straight can catch out horses due to the downhill run, but soon after the track climbs uphill again and the last couple of fences can provide a stiff test for tired horses despite the fences being relatively easy. 

Races tend to be steadily run affairs with riders keen to preserve their mounts’ stamina reserves for the punishing climb to the winning post. It isn’t uncommon for the pace to collapse at Carlisle leading to horses who have been held up in the race to come through and win.

Carlisle Draw Bias

Low-drawn horses at Carlisle tend to be favoured in sprints at Carlisle although the bias is very small and races over further appear to have little or no bias. Front-runners and prominent racers seem to do well in sprints and perhaps it is better to be close to the pace when hitting the rising ground than being caught further back.

On softer ground runners can often end up on the stands’ side rail in search of better ground although most races on the flat tends to see runners coming down the middle of the track.

Carlisle Leading Trainers

Over the past five seasons Mark Johnston has been the trainer to follow on the flat with the Middleham trainer boasting a profit and a near-25% strike-rate from his runners at the track. Karl Burke is another with a decent record over the period although Tim Easterby is responsible for the most runners at the venue but has the worst strike-rate of all with only 8% of his runners finding the winners’ enclosure.

Mark Johnson and son Charlie continue to top the trainer charts with their runners over the 2022 season, scoring with one in three runners for a +20 points profit; Richard Fahey also boasts a decent profit from his runners at the track.

Over jumps Nicky Richards and Jonjo O’Neill both do particulary well at Carlisle with both trainers showing in profit with their runners over the past five years; while Stuart Coltherd and Dan Skelton also post a profit albeit smaller. All four operate around 20% strike-rate with their runners as does Donald McCain.

The same trainers continued to dominate Carlisle’s jumps season last term with the exception of Sam England replacing Dan Skelton in the top five; her runners saw her win four of the seven races they contested at the venue for a healthy profit. 

Carlisle Leading Jockeys

Former champion Ben Curtis is the man to keep onside in the saddle at Carlisle with a fair profit and a strike-rate in excess of 20% over the five year period; while Kevin Stott does well here also. In more recent times and looking at the 2022 season to date it pays well to side with veterans Franny Norton and Graham Lee who both operate a profit; Norton especially  is worth following with the rider winning on 40% of his rides through the season.

Over the past five years backers of Conor O’Farrell, Harry Skelton and Ryan Day would all be quids in; while Brian Hughes has had the most rides at the track and while he boasts a very respectable winning percentage his followers would be quite deep in the red.

In the past season Carlisle’s top rider was Peter Kavanagh who won on almost half of his rides at the track; while Harry Skelton, Jonjo O’Neill Jr and Brian Hughes all had their fair share of winners.

Carlisle Track History

It was during the reign of Elizabeth I that racing began at Carlisle, the first documented racing taking place in 1599 although the current course’s location didn’t come about until 1904. 

The track’s signature race the Carlisle Gold Bell is one of the oldest races in existance to still be run in the country and it has only twice in its’ existence been run away from the track.

Carlisle became the first UK racecourse to introduce Tote betting, opening its’ first windows in 1929.

Carlisle Racecourse Address

The official racecourse address for Carlisle racecourse is:

Carlisle Racecourse
Durdar Road

How To get to Carlisle Racecourse

Here’s how to get to Carlisle Racecourse if you’re planning a visit to the track.

By car: Carlisle racecourse is easily accessible by car, located close to the M6 Motorway linking England with Scotland and lying just four miles south of the city of Carlisle. Car parking is free with trackside parking prebookable in advance.

By train: Carlisle station is well served by major rail-links from north and south and the station is only two miles from the racecourse. Local buses run close to the track while on racedays there is a shuttle bus available from the train station to the course.