New climax to National Hunt season in the north
Last Updated: 18/01/19 10:43am
The British Horseracing Authority has taken steps to reinvigorate National Hunt racing in the north of Britain after announcing the launch of the Racing Post 'Go North' Weekend.
The three-day meeting - which will begin in March of next year - will see competitive and valuable jump racing take place at Musselburgh (Friday, March 20), Kelso (Saturday, March 21) and Carlisle (Sunday, March 22).
The cards at Musselburgh and Carlisle will feature three each of the six finals for the Northern Lights series, which has been restructured to run during the core of the jump season rather than through the calendar year.
The BHA said it hoped the concept will provide "meaningful end-of-season targets for horses trained in the north and provide a showcase for jump racing in a region which boasts a rich history of success".
Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell said: "It's great to see the industry working together to give trainers, owners and yards based in the north some really decent prize-money to aim towards at the end of the jump season.
"It's definitely something we'll be looking to support with our horses next spring and I'm sure others in the area will do so too."
As well as the racing on the track, open mornings will be held at trainers' yards across the region.
All three fixtures will receive support from the BHA development fund in order to boost prize-money on offer.
Trainer James Ewart said: "Any initiative to boost prize-money and the race programme in the region should be applauded, and this series of fixtures now provides a real target for us to aim horses at as the core jump season draws to a close.
"The races will fit in to the existing programme in the north very well, and utilising different courses will also ensure a variety of opportunities in terms of both the terrain and racing surface on offer."
Paul Johnson, heading of racing at the BHA, said: "Horses trained in the north have had a great deal of success this season, with horses like Definitly Red, Lady Buttons and Lake View Lad winning major prizes.
"We want this series of fixtures to shine a spotlight on the northern jump racing scene and, in doing so, create an end-of-season event that owners and trainers in the north, and many of their horses, can realistically target."