THE finale of the Cartmel Races season went out with a bang as 11,000 fans enjoyed the fun at the racecourse on Bank Holiday Monday.

It was an extra special event as it was the first at Cartmel this year since the end of Covid restrictions – and crowds didn’t hold back with 13,000 attending on Saturday for the Cartmel Cup as well as Monday’s bumper turnout.

Owner Lord Cavendish summed up the mood saying: “There is just something about this place that brings happiness to the crowd.

“There are very few of us involved in National Hunt racing who make any money out of it. We do it to be surrounded by people who love it.”

Anthea Leigh, clerk of Cartmel Racecourse, said: “It was marvellous to see everyone back as normal. You could see it in the jockeys faces that they were delighted to be riding before a crowd.

“Cartmel is a place for all the family to come. It has an atmosphere like no other.”

The weekend draws families back year after year to enjoy the racing, including regulars Maria and Andy Murray, from Gleeston, near Ulverston, who were among the first couples to marry at the track 15 years ago.

Maria said: “We go to lots of racecourses across the country, but Cartmel is the one where we really relax. Sometimes we leave down (in profit from betting) and sometimes we leave up. But it doesn’t really matter as it is such a great day out.”

The biggest cheer of the day went to jockey Charlotte Jones, from Barrow, who rode Irish-owned Native Fighter to victory in the 2.55 Louis Roederer Handicap Hurdle Race.

It was her tenth winner at Cartmel this season and won her the Jockey’s Challenge, the first female rider ever to do so.

Charlotte said: “I am over the moon. I used to come here camping with the pony club when I was a child, and this was a lot better than that!”