CARTMEL Racecourse will stage its richest-ever race day with a new fixture next year, increasing its 2012 programme to eight days.

The new fixture list revealed that Cartmel’s one-day July meeting was switched from the usual Thursday to the less attractive Monday July 23.

As a result, Cartmel proposed a self-funded day on Saturday, July 21 with total prize money of £80,000 on offer.

Coupled with the meeting worth £45,000 on the Monday, the two-day fixture will be worth £125,000 to winning jockeys, owners and trainers.

The decision to add the valuable self-funded day means that Cartmel is likely to go top of the prize-money league table, based on the total prize fund contributed by racecourses, including commercial sponsorship, compared to the amount of prize money contributed by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and racehorse owners.

“This is the most valuable race day we have ever staged and by some considerable margin,” said Cartmel’s managing director Jonathan Garratt.

Cartmel’s 2012 season will get underway on Derby Day with an evening fixture on Saturday, June 2 followed by racing on the Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday on Monday June 4 and Wednesday, June 6. It concludes with the three-day August Bank Holiday fixture on Thursday evening, August 23, Saturday August 25 and Monday August 27.

In 2011, Cartmel finished joint top of the prize money league with Cheltenham and ahead of major courses such as Aintree, Ascot, Newmarket, York and Chester. The sponsorship and executive contribution to prize money was £132,968, representing 59.3 per cent of the £224,144 total prize fund.

While prize money at some racecourses can be significantly higher than at Cartmel, every other racecourse in the country receives much greater financial assistance from HBLB.

Mr Garratt said: “We have worked really hard to build a portfolio of sponsors who not only benefit from their activities at the racecourse, but also from interaction with each other and we shall now have to redouble our efforts to increase this still further.”

He added that tens of thousands of pounds had been invested in the racing surface at the track to keep the ground at a top-quality level.