It resonates with me for several reasons. From a work perspective, we are all familiar with Napoleon’s assertion that “an army marches on its stomach” – in the busy build-up to racing, everyone at the track needs to find time to eat. On race-day we shall be welcoming many guests to the corporate hospitality areas; for the hosts in these areas, no doubt much will depend on the quality of the meal as to how their business relationships will blossom. And on a personal level, I just like good food!
Fortunately Cartmel is a haven for foodies and the chef Paul Rowley, who heads up our new team of caterers at the racecourse, has had no problem sourcing fantastic local produce to serve at the races. To showcase the best of our regional fare, Rowleys will be opening a new facility at the track which they have dubbed the “Local Heroes Food Court”. In there, among other things, you’ll find a gorgeous game pie using meat sourced from Flookburgh-based Furness Fish & Game, Morecambe Bay potted shrimps, Cartmel cheeses and of course the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding.
On Saturday evening 25th May, we’re even offering a special dinner-package where you can enjoy a two course meal and admission to the races for just £47.50. You’ll also be able to sample a bottle of our own real ale, brewed just over the hill by the Winster Valley Brewery. There’s limited space, so it’s essential to book in advance by calling the racecourse office.
If you’re a master with the barbecue, you may prefer to organise your own catering and this isn’t a problem. We even sell vouchers for barbecue-packs of locally sourced meat from Furness Fish & Game. For £24, you can collect your chilled pack of beef steaks, venison burgers, chicken kebabs and award winning sausages – enough to feed 6-8 people – from their stall at the track. The only request we have is that barbecues close to the running rails are extinguished 20 minutes before the first race – we don’t want to smoke out the horses.
If you’re particularly keen on your sticky toffee pudding you might have noticed that The Cartmel Village Shop sells them in handy foil trays which are ideal for heating slowly on a barbecue; just mind your fingers when you’re taking them off the heat.
There, that’s dinner taken care of… This week’s tip? Ballybriggan at Bangor, Saturday 3.05pm.