GRAND National winning jockey Graham Lee is used to coming under starter’s orders, but he is under orders of a different kind when the Cartmel racing season kicks off on Saturday evening.
“I have already had orders from my wife Becky to go out and complete a hat-trick of wins in the Cartmel Jockeys Challenge – if I don’t I might feel a divorce coming on!” he jokes.
One of the most successful and stylish jockeys riding, Lee has dominated the Cartmel Jockeys Challenge for the past two seasons and with it the prize of a luxury break in the Lake District.
“It’s a great prize and both Becky and I have enjoyed our visits to top class hotels which is why she is particularly keen on me doing well again.
“Mind you, looking at the entries for Saturday, I am only likely to have one ride on the opening night and that doesn’t bode too well for me retaining my title.
“I am hoping that lots of trainers will be willing to put me up on their runners as I love riding at Cartmel. It is one of my favourite tracks and I have been very lucky there and had lots of winners. Fingers crossed, it will be the same again this year” he added.
The Cartmel Jockeys Challenge is being sponsored this season by The Swan Hotel at Newby Bridge, who return after missing last year while the hotel was being refurbished after the floods of 2009 caused extensive damage.
Now beautifully restored, The Swan remains one of the finest hotels in the Lake District with its high quality rooms, superb cuisine and top class leisure facilities.
The Bay Roadshow comes to Cartmel before racing on Saturday with three top class acts headed by Navi, the world’s number one Michael Jackson tribute act, supported by The Kittycat Dolls and The Coverboys. The show begins at 2.30pm.
During racing, which gets underway with the Sticky Toffee Pudding Novices Hurdle at 6.05pm, there will be big screen coverage of Saturday’s Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona available.
Racing at Cartmel continues over the Bank Holiday with meetings on Monday, May 30 (first race 2.10pm) and Wednesday, June 1 (first race 2.20pm).
For further information contact John Sexton on 01539 533005 or 07760 623106 or the Racecourse Office on 01539 536340