Friday, 3 May 2013

Are You Prepared For The Races?

With less than four weeks to go until the new racing season commences at Cartmel, the count-down has begun in earnest. 

The first May Bank Holiday is always an important milestone in our calendar, as this is when Head Groundsman Gary Sharp and his team reinstate the familiar white running rail that encloses the track. About two miles of running rail is required and every inch has to be inspected before it is fixed into position. Every bend has to be carefully sculpted to create a smooth running-line for the horses; every straight is meticulously checked to ensure there are no kinks to distract the runners as they approach the obstacles. 

All of the hurdles have been repaired and are stored in readiness for the first race-day on Saturday evening 25th May. The hurdles won’t be placed in position until just before the meeting, lest the obstacles obstruct the mowing of the track which will occur twice weekly from now on. In the meantime the fences, which have been packed with long withies of birch, will be cut down to the standard height of 4 foot 6 inches. Any taller and the jockeys will cry foul; any shorter and the British Horseracing Authority’s course inspector will instruct us to build them up again. 

Regular followers of the sport might have noticed that fixtures at Ayr and Brighton have been transferred to other courses or abandoned in the early part of the Summer, as a direct result of the cold weather, the lack of grass growth and failure of the tracks to recover after winter maintenance work. Well, despite a frost this morning, average temperatures have finally increased and the track at Cartmel is now greening up nicely after our own extensive drainage works implemented at the end of last year. 

The Met Office is currently forecasting warmer weather towards the end of the month – so now is the time to make sure that you are as geared-up as we are. Picnic blanket? Check. Deck-chairs? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Outfit for Vintage Night? – Go and have a look in the wardrobe! 

In the meantime, in an effort to build up a betting fund for Cartmel races at the end of the month, why not have a couple of quid on Toronado in the first Classic of the Flat Season – the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket this Saturday.   

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