It’s been announced that a new three-day National Hunt festival of racing will be held next spring to provide a boost to the flagging northern jumps racing scene.
The advent of the Racing Post Go North Weekend will see racing staged at Carlisle, Kelso and Musselburgh from March 20th to March 22nd making a season-closing National Hunt highlight within northern racing and providing viable targets for those trainers, owners and jockeys who do not necessarily have the horses to go to war with at Cheltenham and Aintree.
Along with being able to see what is hoped will be very competitive racing for good prize money, race goers will also get the chance to visit some of the training yards and get closer to the horses and the operations as a whole.
The new festival essentially replaces the Northern Lights day at Carlisle each December, trainers appearing to prefer and end of season jamboree as opposed to an end of year one.
Full cards at Musselburgh and Carlisle each feature three of the six finals from the previous Northern Lights series, while Kelso stages its traditional Saturday race day which already features some valuable races shown live on TV. Kelso will be the middle leg of the festival.
In order to create a bigger pot of prize money for this event, the BHA development fund has given it its full support across all three fixtures and this is fantastic news for hard working trainers within northern racing who simply cannot compete with the big yards based in the south.
With any luck, these races will be a hit with trainers all over the country however and quality line-ups would in the future see these races increase in grade as well as in overall prize money.