At Carlisle Racecourse, a long overdue meeting is set to be swiftly followed by another this weekend.

After racing returned at Carlisle following a two-month break this week, there will be more racing at the Durdar Road venue on Sunday.

Monday’s meeting saw Herefordshire trainer Tom Lacey claim a double with Dorking Cock and Lossiemouth claiming victories.

There was also a real family affair as Nigel Twiston-Davies - brother of Carlisle chairman Penelope Mounsey-Heysham - struck with Arthur’s Gift in the 3m handicap chase, with the 4/1 favourite ridden by Penelope’s nephew, Sam.

It’s now a quick turnaround for everyone at Carlisle with another seven-race fixture coming up. Head groundsman Thomas Wootten says that will mean a lot of work for the groundstaff.

He accepts: “We’ve had two meetings in a week, which we don’t usually get a lot of up here.

“There is a team of five of us [groundstaff] and eight or nine casual [workers], with three or four of them working a few days in the last week or so to help get the course ready for Monday and then again for Sunday.”

In total, there are a massive 157 entries from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland for the racecard.

“We had excellent entries for Monday and I’m sure it’ll be the same on Sunday,” enthuses Carlisle general manager Molly Dingwall.

“Allowing horses to get the run up here is absolutely fantastic. Providing that stage for them to compete on is brilliant.”

Things, of course, could easily have panned out very differently after the recent equine flu outbreak that brought all UK horseracing to a halt for a week. But none of Carlisle’s scheduled meets were affected and things are back up-and-running again now.

Dingwall admits: “Luckily, it hasn’t affected our racing schedule here. So, we are pleased with that.

"Hopefully, everyone is well. It was a tough time for the industry but, luckily, it was only shutdown for six days. So, it was contained and dealt with very, very quickly.”

This week’s double-header at Carlisle is followed by three more meetings in March, ahead of their final jumps meeting of the season which is an Easter Family Fun Raceday on April 20.

“Yeah, it’s very thick and fast through March, as well. We then only have one fixture in April which is our Family Fun Day which is our final farewell [to the jumps season],” Dingwall says. “Then, in May, we are straight on to the flat season and we get the speed kings back out and back on to the course.

“But the jumps season is absolutely fantastic for us, we love it up here. We have a great network of trainers who really utilise the course up here and get their horses to run.

“The very, very impressive Mister Whitaker won our Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase this year. He has a Gold Cup entry [at Cheltenham], which is really, really exciting.

“It’s great for a small course like us to be able to host horses like that who go on to do so well. Count Meribel - Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse - he has won here and then gone on to win at Cheltenham to give Mark Grant his first win at Cheltenham.

"It’s great that people can come to the local course and see horses like that up here.”

With those meetings coming up, Wootten is hoping that we have seen the last of the recent cold winter weather.

“Hopefully, the weather is a bit better now,” he says. “If we get a bit of heat, and get our grass grown [that will help]. We cut our lawn for the first time this year last Friday.

“Last week we did a bit of work to the flat track to get a bit of aeration into it. It shows you the preparations that go into that to get the course all dried out.”

Sprucing up the track at Carlisle has been something of a family tradition for more than 30 years for the Woottens.

Thomas explains: “I took over from my dad [Tony] in October 2012. I think he started working here in 1988 – before that he just worked on farms.

"He started off as a groundsman and then, eventually, took over as head groundsman. I have been a groundsman since about May 2000, I think, but I have been here since I left school as a casual worker. Then, I got given the job.

“Basically, an undercover boss came up from London and he liked what he saw. So, I took over from my dad which was quite good.”

Big-name trainer Dan Skelton is one of those with entries at Carlisle for their next meeting.

“We work to try to get every meeting that we can on,” explains Wooten. “The more runners, the better runners, the better for us.

"We just like to see good racing and for everything to go off smoothly. That’s our aim.”