VISITORS are once again being invited to see behind the scenes at the historic Middleham Stables yards this year.

The popular Middleham Stables Open Day will return on Good Friday, March 30. Thirteen yards will again be opening to the public, and there will be other events including a donkey derby.

Stable yards will be open from 9.30am to 1pm.

They will include those of Mark Johnston, who will again be showcasing his Park Farm Spa facilities, Jedd O’Keefe, where recent Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle winner and Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle hope Sam Spinner resides, and Karl Burke, trainer of last year’s Group 1 winners Laurens and Unfortunately.

There will be more to see in the many historic yards around the area, including the water treadmill recuperation facilities at Ann Duffield’s and a jumping demonstration and show of two-year-olds at James Bethell’s Thorngill stables.

There will also be various market stalls and food offerings in Middleham, and a craft fair at the Key Centre.

In the afternoon, events will once again move to the Low Moor where planned activities include the Retraining of Racehorses Musical Ride and schooling of National Hunt horses from Micky Hammond’s stable.

This will be followed by an inter-yard team competition for stable staff in which a donkey derby, sponsored by Beverley Racecourse, will feature this year, as well as the return of a showjumping relay in conjunction with local pony club members.

Last year’s event was deemed a success with significant crowds visiting the town.

The majority of proceeds of the event went to Racing Welfare to fund the planned Hill House development in memory of Jessica Bethell, which will support the Middleham racing community.

Further funds were donated to Yorkshire Air Ambulance and local charities including Riding for the Disabled, Citizens Advice Bureau and the Middleham Sports and Wellbeing Association.

The day has been moved back to its traditional Good Friday slot after changing to Easter Monday last year.

Sarah Fanning, of Racing Welfare, said: “We are very much looking forward to running the 2018 Open

Day.

“While the event worked on Easter Monday last year it was felt by the trainers that its traditional Good Friday place is better suited for yard working patterns and we are delighted to benefit from ARC’s generous sponsorship again this year.

“We have lots planned and plenty of equine talent on show in this beautiful part of the country and look forwards to welcoming crowds of visitors.”

Sam Cone, PR and communications manager at ARC, said: “ARC is delighted to continue our support of the Middleham Open Day, which offers racing fans a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes of some of the top racing yards in the country.

“We very much hope that everyone enjoys the packed programme of activities and help to raise funds for Racing Welfare, who do brilliant work.”

Tickets to the event are on sale now at middlehamopenday.co.uk

Adult tickets are £10, concessions at £7.50 and those who are aged 16 and under go free.