Torrential rain forces Cartmel officials to abandon meeting
The worst downpours seen at Cartmel "since 1991" brought a premature end to the first fixture of the year at the track on the edge of the Lake District.
Stewards abandoned the meeting for safety reasons after the fourth race had taken place, with an inch of rain having fallen since the completion of the previous contest.
Jockeys, trainers and stewards inspected several areas of the course before the meeting was finally called off at around 5pm.
Clerk of the course Anthea Morshead said: "It's the worst rain I've seen during racing. We had about one inch of rain between the third and fourth races.
"It took a long time to make the decision but the stewards wanted to see if the water could be channelled away. Everybody in the inquiry was unanimous in the decision to call it off."
Senior rider Brian Hughes said: "It's the right decision. No-one more than me wants to see racing go ahead but in these circumstances it was the only thing they could do.
"I remember rain like this at Uttoxeter a few years ago but apart from that I can't think of anything as bad as this.
"All the groundstaff grafted away to try to make it safe but we need to be realistic about this and it would not have been fair to anyone if a horse or jockey had got injured."
Jimmy Moffatt, who trains a short distance from the track, said: "I've never seen anything as bad as this since 1991. There's no doubt it had to be called off.
"The main problem is with the crossings on the course. They are all in a bad way because of the rain. Maybe if we’d waited until 7pm it might have been okay but most people could not hang around that long.
"Making this decision now might also help to safeguard the meetings for Monday and Wednesday next week."
No problems are forecast for Monday's meeting at the track.
Morshead said on Saturday night: "We had a flash flood today, which caused waterlogging. We have cleared it this evening. The track is raceable now and we have a good forecast so there is no need for an inspection. The ground is good to soft, soft in places."
Racegoers were not entitled to a refund as three or more races had taken place, but the course announced that they will offer those in attendance a discounted ticket on a future visit.