Big races on the cards at Cartmel
BIG money and sparkling diamonds are among the prizes on offer as Cartmel gears up for two major race-days.
Action returns to the South Lakes track on Saturday and Monday, with the highlight being the most valuable race run at the course.
The £27,000 Totescoop6 Cumbria Crystal Cup Handicap Hurdle will take centre-stage on Saturday, with the Banks Lyon Jewellers Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle a strong support act.
Now in its sixth season, the Cumbria Crystal Cup has quickly become established as one of the most competitive races in the Cartmel calendar.
Last year for the first time a favourite triumphed in the race, when Eshtiaal won for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.
Elliott has no runner among the 23 early declarations this time round, but local trainer James Moffatt has several potential entrants.
Altruism will look to regain his winning form at the track after two poor efforts so far this year, while Boruma has the chance to add to two victories in his two runs at Cartmel so far this year.
Idder – victorious at Carlisle on his last run in May – and Bon Chic are Moffatt' two other potential runners.
The Dan Skelton-trained Petrou, a winner on each of his last four outings is also among the early declarations and will be among those to beat.
Saturday is the opening day of the traditional Barbecue Meeting, and as well as the big race features the only handicap hurdle in the country restricted to lady jockeys.
The Banks Lyon Jewellers Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle not only carries £10,000 in added prize money, but for the winning rider the bonus of a stunning piece of diamond jewellery worth in excess of £5,000.
Moffatt's conditional stable jockey Charlotte Jones is eager to land the big prize in this one, and will look to make it a hat-trick on board Lough Kent, having won at each of the previous two meetings.
The Pit Farm Stables team also have Fiosrach among the early declarations, with amateur rider Abbie McCain – granddaughter of legendary trainer Ginger – set to ride. Idder is a potential runner here as well, should he not go in the feature.
The Champagne Louis Roederer Handicap Chase, which is a qualifier for the Northern Lights Middle Distance Chase Series and the latest round of the Hadwins Motor Group Mares Hurdle Series, carries a £1,000 bonus prize for the winning stable.
Moffatt's only option here is Smart Ruler, who has finished fourth and then third in his two runs at Cartmel so far this year.
The seven-race card gets underway with the Cartmel Lodge Park Novices Hurdle at 1.55pm, with Strong Resemblance a possible local runner following a runners-up finish over the same distance last month in a maiden hurdle.