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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Something for everyone as Flat and jump stars top the bill at Middleham open day

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Such is Middleham's eclectic equine mix that visitors to the town's open day will be able to mingle with top-flight winners on the Flat and over jumps – and a celebrity pony famed for inspiring a children's book series.

The popular Arena Racing Company-sponsored event, which reverts to its traditional Good Friday slot after being held on Easter Monday last year, offers opportunities for racing fans to get close to Grade 1-winning hurdler Sam Spinner at Jedd O'Keeffe's Highbeck Stables and Group 1 scorers Laurens and Unfortunately at Karl Burke's Spigot Lodge.

Trainer Jedd O'Keeffe with Sam Spinner
Mark Johnston, who oversees the region's biggest string, opens the doors to his Kingsley House Stables, where there will be swimming displays as well as plenty of stars on show.

Twelve yards will be open from 9.30am-1pm and in the afternoon the entertainment moves to the Low Moor where planned activities include a show to music by Retraining of Racehorses, schooling of jumpers from Micky Hammond's stable and an inter-yard team competition for stable staff.

Other attractions on the day include a show of James Bethell's two-year-olds at his yard at 11am, a parade of the local foxhounds, various market stalls and the chance to meet Little Alf, star of author Hannah Russell’s books.

Last year's event raised funds for Racing Welfare, which is building the planned Hill House development in memory of Jessica Bethell.

Racing Welfare's Sarah Fanning said: "We're very excited for the 2018 open day. Middleham has so much racing history and some fantastic equine talent in the yards, and it will be a great opportunity for the public to come and see the likes of Cheltenham runner Sam Spinner and exciting horses for the 2018 Flat season."

Tickets are available on the day, priced at £10 for adults and £7.50 for concession, with under-16s admitted for free. 

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Middleham has so much racing history and some fantastic equine talent in the yards
E.W. Terms
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