IT’S not just races that Maurice Barnes horses have been winning in 2019 as his Talkin raiders have also been cleaning up in best turned out awards.

Most racecourses give a cash prize to the lad, lass or ‘groom’ in charge of the horse judged to be the standout in the paddock and, in the last 12 months, it has been won an incredible 80 times by one of Maurice’s inmates.

From plaited manes and tails to intricate quarter marks and oiled hooves, there are lots of way to make a racehorse extra stunning and the Barnes team have got the hang of this artistic talent down to a fine art.

Some years ago I recall a league table, Flat and Jumps, totalling the current tally of best turned out awards with the winners receiving a substantial remuneration for the yard in question.

It’s a safe bet that the Maurice Barnes stable would be pretty close to the top should such a competition ever be resurrected.

As we enter the New Year I’m already looking forward to February 3 when we open the new season with a Monday fixture with a first race time scheduled for 1.50pm.

Check out all the Carlisle fixtures on the website where you can also find details of various packages for hospitality and Swifts restaurant.

Annual members badges are now on sale for 2020 and there is an exciting trip to Punchestown available to Annual Badge holders only.

It wasn’t to be for Simply Ned in his bid for a third successive Grade 1 strike at Leopardstown recently and, in the end, he finished fourth to A Plus Tard after being well-supported into 7-1.

Nicky Richards and his team still have plenty of reasons to be proud of their veteran who is now a sprightly 13-year-old.

The Greystoke trainer is likely to be represented at Ayr this week as he has several entries at the west of Scotland venue.

Other Cumbrian handlers with horses pencilled in include Martin Todhunter, Maurice Barnes and Tristan Davidson, while Nicky also has a few possibilities at Musselburgh on Friday with horses such as course specialist Wot A Shot.

Here’s hoping for plenty of success as the new decade dawns for all the owners, trainers and jockeys from our region.

Happy New Year everyone!