Bell and Plate Day is the highlight of Carlisle's racing calendar. Almost one hundred thousand pounds of prize money is up for grabs along with what is believed to be the oldest trophy in world sport. Thousands of racegoers turn out every year.
Its history dates back to 1599 and the first running of the Carlisle Bell. The race takes its name from the two bells presented to the winning owner as a prize.
The larger one was donated by Lady Dacre and bears the inscription: 'The sweftes horse thes bels to tak for mi lade Daker sake' (The swiftest horse this bell to take for my lady Dacre's sake). The other is inscribed '1599 H.B.M.C.' which historians believe stands for 'Henry Baines, Mayor of Carlisle'.
The other is inscribed '1599 H.B.M.C.' which historians believe stands for 'Henry Baines, Mayor of Carlisle'.
The bells were lost for many years but eventually turned up in a box in the town clerk's office in the late nineteenth century.
The bells are now on permanent display in Carlisle's Guildhall Museum, but are brought to the racecourse every year on Bell and Plate Day, with the winning owner now presented with replicas.
The Carlisle Bell is followed by the Cumberland Plate, another historic race with a long tradition of its own.
The course managers say that the going this year is good to firm and good in places and the early favourite to take the bell this year is the rather aptly named 'Border Bandit'.