Massive entries with horses pencilled in from some of the biggest stables in the country should ensure it is a cracking opening jumps meeting of the autumn at Carlisle tomorrow.

The card, due to start at 12.15pm, is the latest trialed ‘matinee’ fixtures instigated by the BHA with a view to maximising betting turnover during the lunchtime / early afternoon period.

Looking through the vast entries, names like Paul Nicholls, Donald McCain, Harry Whittington, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Tim Easterby, Jonjo O’Neill, Tim Vaughan, Lucinda Russell, Charlie Longsdon, Charlie Mann and Irish handlers Gavin Cromwell and Stuart Crawford could all potentially have runners on our doorstep.

We also race next Thursday, when the first event is pencilled in for 2.25pm. The feature contest is the £15,000 Watch Irish Racing On Racing TV Handicap Chase over three miles and two furlongs.

Last year it went to Sharp Response who was an impressive nine-length winner for the Sue Smith / Danny Cook partnership.

Again, Carlisle form was boosted when he was sent off favourite prior to winning January’s North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick. Dan and Harry Skelton were in good form the same afternoon a year ago as the two brothers teamed up for a double with Maire Banrigh and Premier Rose while the beginners’ chase winner Delire D’Estruval went on to land a limited handicap chase at Kempton in the spring.

Keith Dalgleish-trained One Night In Milan has since won three times over timber after his strike in division two of the 2m 4f handicap hurdle.

Once more it was Martin Todhunter flying the flag for Cumbria as he took the opening maiden hurdle at Hexham on Saturday with Darry Desbois.

Prior to his first career win up on Yarridge Heights, the Orton raider’s previous five starts saw him sent off at 125-1, 100-1, 66-1, 25-1 and 20-1 so to see him a well-supported 3-1 second favourite was an encouraging sign.

He was given a nice ride by Ryan Day who brought him wide coming up the hill and into the wings of the last before the pair saw off 5-4 favourite Le Grand Fromage by nearly two lengths.

Mark Johnston, already the UK trainer with most winners in history, is on the verge of setting a new record haul for a calendar year. The previous highest score of 235 was set by Richard Hannon senior in 2013, his final season before he retired and handed over the reins to his son.

Richard Fahey equalled that total in 2015 but it took him after Christmas so this just goes to show the enormity of Johnson’s firepower as he moved onto 234 at Musselburgh on Monday.

For what it is worth Carlisle supplied Mark with four of his winners in 2019 when he had 21 runners at our local venue.