Cartmel Races gears up for richest ever meeting

First published in Horse racing

GRAND National winning trainer David Pipe has set his sights on the biggest prize ever offered at Cartmel , the £28,000 added Totepool.com Cumbria Crystal Trophy, highlight of the seven race card at the Lake District track on Saturday.

Pipe has plenty of entries, but the master of Pond House plans to have just one runner – in the big one.

“Cartmel have done a brilliant job with this meeting with the prize money they are putting up and I shall certainly be running either Shoegazer or Decoy in the Cumbria Crystal Trophy.

“At the moment, I am leaning towards Shoegazer, who won’t mind the ground however it turns out and is in good form as he won very nicely at Southwell last Sunday.

“The problem is that he does have a lot of weight, but he is an improving horse and I think he will be the one representing me” said Pipe.

Katie Walsh, one of National Hunt racing’s best female jockeys, is keen to find a ride in the £15,000 Cartmel Cheeses Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle at Cartmel on Saturday.

And she may get her wish if Lieutenant Miller beats the odds and gets a run in the big race of the day.

Lieutenant Miller’s trainer Nicky Henderson, who has never had a runner at the Cumbrian course, explained: “Henry Ponsonby, who owns Lieutenant Miller is very keen for the horse to run, but he is well down the handicap and needs a lot to come out.

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“If the miracle happens and he does get into the race, then I would probably run Cape Express in the Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle, something I would be a lot happier to do if I could get Katie Walsh to ride him.

“Cape Express is a good young horse who has won his two races so far, but is still eligible to run in a novice hurdle so there is no rush to put him in a handicap. Even so, if Katie would ride, it would be extremely tempting” said Henderson.

The trainer added: “I can’t really see Lieutenant Miller getting into his race though and it would be a long way to send just one horse when I have other options, so the odds are stacked against it”.

Katie Walsh had originally planned to ride in the ladies race on the Flat at Ascot this weekend, but could now be left without a ride.

Her father Ted Walsh explained: “We think that her planned ride is now not going to run and, if so, then she would dearly love to get across to Cartmel to ride in the Cartmel Cheeses Handicap Hurdle if there is a ride going”.

With Britain’s top female jump jockey Lucy Alexander scheduled to ride Constant Contact for Cartmel’s leading trainer Donald McCain, it would make for a fantastic match-up if Katie does pick up a ride in the race, especially if Cape Express makes it.

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