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Malton Stables open day is a winner
11:45am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in News
BIGGER and better. That’s the aim of the organisers of the Malton Stables open day following a successful event on Sunday – the first for 10 years.
More than 3,000 people turned up to visit the stables although organisers reckon the final tally will be bigger than that once all the unused tickets have been returned.
A delighted Karon Brown of the organisers, Malton Stables Association, said: “We are very happy with the way it went. The feedback has been very positive.”
The event proved to be so popular that extra buses had to be laid on to pick up people in the town’s Market Place.
The cream of the north’s horse racing world was on show and the shop-window for the multi-million pound industry saw racing enthusiasts, horse lovers and potential investors pack more than 20 racing stable yards and mingle with families enjoying a day out with a difference.
Tim Fitzgerald, chairman of Malton Stables Association, said: “We were absolutely delighted with the success of the day, with large crowds and a great atmosphere in all the yards.
“We have had a very positive response this week from so many people.”
Visitors travelled from different parts of the country including Somerset and Derbyshire.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “Our aim is to promote Malton and Norton as the big racing centre it is. We have more horses here than the stables at Middleham – the industry really is a success story in Ryedale.”
Mr Fitzgerald paid special tribute to Karon Brown, a leading committee member of the association who was a key organiser.
He said: “Without her I don’t think it would have happened – she was marvellous.”
He also thanked all the trainers, stable staff and jockeys who took part and answered hundreds of questions from the public.
Karon told the Gazette & Herald: “Things were busier than we expected and everyone seems keen to do it again,” adding it was difficult to compare numbers as there were no actual figures available for when the event was last held.
“The trainers are keen to do it again and we would like to make it bigger and better next year with more events and displays,” she said.
Just as the various food-orientated events have led to Malton being named the foodie capital of Yorkshire, Karon would like to see the area boost its image and contribution to the racing world.
“There is a lot of history here and I don’t think a lot of people fully realise that,” she said.
She added: “We have learnt a lotrom this year and there are definitely areas where we can make improvements and we need to put on more demonstrations and displays to show people what is happening”
One plan that may be developed is to take a stand to shows further and wider than just local ones to promote Malton and its surrounding area as a prominent part of the horse racing world.
She pointed out that many people had been drawn to the equestrian world by watching events for the first time at the Olympics.
“I would like to thank all the trainers and sponsors such as Keith Hanson and Equinity and the malton, Norton and District Lions were a huge help,” she said.
Northern Racing College sent students with an equicizer while retraining and farrier demonstrations and equine dentistry were on display plus horse whisperer Gary Witheford and equine physiotherapy.
One of the busiest yards was Brian Ellison's Spring Cottage Stables.
“It was the first open day we have had for 10 years and I think we should to it every year,” he said.
Mr Ellison, who has trained more than 600 winners, said: “Racing is without doubt the biggest industry in this area employing hundreds of people directly and indirectly.”
He employs more than 20 staff caring for a yard which will shortly have 85 horses.
He has already enjoyed 65 winners this year and he has secured six new owners in the last three weeks.
“The gallops round our two towns are fantastic and that is one of the big things which attracts people,” said Mr Ellison.
Richard Fahey ’s Mews House, at Musley Bank on the outskirts of Malton, has seen some investment of £2 million and more is planned.
He now has 60 staff and 150 horses, and was still on a high after his horse Mary’s Daughter crossed the finishing line at York last Friday at 33-1.
New stables, training areas and gallops have been provided at Mews House and further expansion is on the drawing board which will provide, among other facilities, new office accommodation, he said.
But housing for stable staff and young jockeys is a big isue, said Mr Fahey.
“We need more affordable homes in the area for these people. Their wages aren’t high and this is a young peerson’s game. Most of them are aged about 16 or 17.”
As well as the industry’s direct investment in the Ryedale economy, many other businesses benefit, such as farmers supplying hay and straw, corn merchants, agricultural suppliers, veterinary surgeons, and saddlers, he said.
One of the biggest fillips for the industry has been the restoration and re-opening of The Talbot Hotel which was now being well used by owners coming to the stables from far afield, said Mr Fahey who has had some 117 winners in his long career.
He said: “Malton and Norton are now certainly on a par with Middleham as a leading horse racing centre and with nine courses in Yorkshire we have a great deal going for us.”
At Old Farmhouse Stables, in Beverley Road, Ollie Pears, a former jockey with 168 winners to his credit, said the open day had been a big success.
“It went very well and there was great interest in the horses. The weather was ideal and it proved a smashing day out for everyone.”
Mr Pears, who had a winner at Newmarket on Saturday with Last Sovereign – his fourth this year – said the racing industry worked well with Ryedale District Council which had granted planning permission to new developments for yards, and recognised the value of it to the district’s economy.
Tim Easterby opened his three yards and sold refreshments from which the proceeds will go to the event’s charities – Malton Hospital , Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Jack Berry House for injured jockeys.
A marquee with refreshments from Malton Relish and The Patisserie was set up in the Market Place while Suddaby’s in Wheelgate provided live music.
The open day programme was produced by the Gazette & Herald with a coupon for a draw with a variety of prizes donated for the event.