Monday, 31 August 2015

Cartmel Racecourse is a success story that keeps on running

CARTMEL Racecourse makes it into the national winner’s enclosure for racing venues in England.

GREAT DAY OUT Jonathan Garratt, managing director of Cartmel Racecourse

With more than 10,000 people attending a day of racing at Cartmel it has the third highest average attendances in the country for national hunt racing – beaten only in the crowd stakes by Aintree and Cheltenham.

And Cartmel Racecourse managing director Jonathan Garratt reckons its special atmosphere and South Lakeland village setting makes it a ‘unique’ great day out, and a great place to do business.

“Cartmel is totally unique and we want to retain that special nature – not spoil it,” he said. “We want to ensure that as a racecourse it continues to be a venue that south Cumbria is proud of. We want it to be a fantastically entertaining day with a unique atmosphere. And we want the quality of racing to be enjoyed by everyone.”

Last year Cartmel was voted as among the top 20 things you should experience in racing before you die. This year more horses than ever – 425 – took part in the Cartmel calendar with 48 individual races spread across seven race days.

To achieve that £200,000 of investment has gone into the course, with improved drainage, soil structure, and grass.

It’s the improved course which has seen a better quality of runners and riders, this year including Grand National winning pairing of trainer Donald McCain (son of the late Ginger), and jockey Jason Maguire who led the annual race to become top trainer and jockey at the course.

This year the total prize money reached £220,000. In the past £150,000 of that prize money came from a levy raised from bookmakers. But with many bookmakers moving operations offshore, the levy dropped dramatically this year to £72,000, leaving Cartmel with a shortfall.

Jonathan and his team ensured every race was sponsored, a relationship he says works for businesses. “I believe that one of our most successful sponsorships is also one of the most successful sponsorships in the entire world of sport – Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding,

“Howard and Jean Johns have spent an affordable sum of money with us and developed an enormous brand awareness. You can’t mention Cartmel Racecourse without mentioning Sticky Toffee Pudding. That sponsorship has been running a while. And now other local businesses want to do something similar. Cartmel Cheeses, which is a new enterprise in the village, and Furness Fish and Game, who do the Morecambe Bay Shrimps, the Winster Valley Brewery with its special Hurdler Ale, and English Lakes Ice Cream are all companies we are working with. Food is such an important part of south Cumbrian life.

Other local businesses we work with on sponsorship include Hadwins, Burlington Stone, Hargreave and Hale, and Kendal Caravans.


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