Thousands attend Middleham Open Day

Photo: Hannah Ali Photography.

The ARC Middleham Open Day once again proved a hit with visitors as almost 3,000 people flocked to the town on Good Friday.

Middleham’s racing community united once more to provide behind-the-scenes access to seven local training yards for this annual event, which raises vital funds for organisers Racing Welfare.

Ticketholders were able to meet their favourite racehorses at home in their stables, chat to the trainers and staff who look after them and enjoy talks and demonstrations, including the ever-popular swimming demonstrations at Charlie Johnston’s equine swimming pool.

Dual purpose trainer Neil Mechie welcomed visitors to the historic Dante Yard in Middleham where he’s based.

He said: “It’s been really good, the weather has held for us and there’s been a good trickle of people all day long.

“The benefit of why we try to open every year is that it gives people in racing, outside of racing, in the countryside and in the city a chance to see these horses in their natural habitat at home in their stable rather than at the racecourse, because they’re always so different at home.”

The action continued into the afternoon on the Low Moor, with demonstrations and classes showcasing former racehorses in their new careers before local racing staff took on the inter-yard challenge which saw Micky Hammond Racing’s blue team crowned as the overall winners.

The well-supported event raised in the region of £20,000 for Racing Welfare, which helps the charity to provide its vital services for racing’s people across the country, including a designated local welfare officer who is based in the heart of Middleham.

Additionally, Racing Welfare distributes some of the funds raised to local charities in the area, and will this year also be providing a defibrillator to Middleham Trainers’ Association which will be situated at the High Moor gallop.

The charity’s chief executive Dawn Goodfellow was in attendance and said: “ARC Middleham Open Day never disappoints, and we were once again blessed to have the support of so many fantastic local yards.

“It’s a huge team effort from the trainers and their staff to open their doors to the public, particularly when many are racing in the afternoon. We’re extremely grateful for their participation and generosity.

“With events up and down the country being called off by persistent adverse weather, we were extremely lucky to be able to go ahead and relocate our parking. Thank you to Tennants auction house allowing us to use their facilities and to our guests for their understanding the late change of plans.”