Final preparations underway for Middleham Stables Open Day

The public watches a swimming demonstration at Mark Johnston's yard at a Middleham open day.

Middleham’s horseracing community is preparing to welcome thousands of people to their yards this Good Friday for their annual open day, where visitors can get a taster of life behind the scenes in North Yorkshire’s historic racing centre.

Eight local trainers will be throwing open their doors to the public on March 29 for the Arena Racing Company (ARC) sponsored Middleham Open Day, which raises vital funds for organisers Racing Welfare.

Among those getting involved is former jockey Karl Burke at Spigot Lodge, whose yard will be open from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

The trainer has been plying his trade in the training ranks since 1991

Once again in 2023, Karl was the leading northern based trainer with 126 winners in total and approaching £4,000,000 in total prize money.

His stable includes exciting filly Fallen Angel, who is a leading contender for Newmarket’s Qipco 1,000 Guineas in May. She has already won three times, including Group 1 success and amassed more than £250,000 in prize money.

Karl’s daughter Kelly, who also plays the role of rider and secretary said: “We’re all looking forward to welcoming people to Spigot Lodge again where they can meet some of our Group 1 horses including Fallen Angel.

“We like to get involved with Middleham Open Day to support Racing Welfare because they do plenty for the staff and everyone involved in the industry.”

Ticketholders will be able to access the following yards:

  • Ben Haslam
  • Charlie Johnston
  • Micky Hammond
  • Karl Burke
  • Neil Mechie
  • Jedd O’Keeffe
  • Ed Bethell
  • Danny Brooke

Racing Welfare’s local welfare officer, Gail Burton-Pye, who is based in the town said: “Our open day is such a highlight in the calendar for us here in Middleham.

“Each year the event attracts people from all across the country, giving them the opportunity to come and see the fantastic facilities Middleham’s training yards have to offer, meet their favourite horses and chat to the staff who care for them so well.

“It’s a great day out for followers of racing as well as families with all the afternoon activities on the Low Moor to enjoy after visiting the yards in the morning.

“We’re extremely grateful to all the trainers who have generously agreed to support the event once again and look forward to welcoming our visitors on Friday.”

Those interested in attending are urged to take advantage of discounted advance ticket prices before March 28 at 11.55pm, available from www.middlehamopenday.co.uk for £12.50 for adults and £8.50 for concessions, while under 16s go free.

Tickets can also be purchased on the day from the parking areas, the Racing Welfare gazebo in Middleham Marketplace and at the entrance to the open yards.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet Shetland pony Little Alf, star of best-selling author Hannah Russell’s series of children books in the marketplace during the morning between yard visits.

In the afternoon, the Low Moor will provide the stage for two Retraining of Racehorses classes, a demo from New Beginnings featuring popular former racehorse Burrow Seven, as well as the ever-competitive inter-yard stable staff challenge.

Visitors can also enter their dog in the Aiskew Equine and Pet Supplies Dog Show.