STAND by for an invasion on Sunday when the one industry that is genuinely synonymous with Ryedale opens its doors to the public.
The Betfair Malton Stables’ Open Day is set to welcome visitors from all over the country as 20 trainers of almost 1,000 horses provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight on a day complemented by demonstrations and exhibitions by vets, saddlers, farriers, equine dentists, retired racehorses, pupils of the Northern Racing College and a whole lot more, all in the name of charity. Jack Berry House, Racing Welfare, Malton Hospital and Yorkshire Air Ambulance will all benefit from proceeds made on what promises to be an interesting, informative and fun day. Admission is £10 with accompanied under-12s free.
“We’re all set,” says Tim FitzGerald, chairman of the Malton Racing Association. “Thanks go to everyone who has worked so hard to bring the day together, all our supporters and helpers, trainers and stable staff. Without them, it wouldn’t happen. Hopefully, the weather will be kind to us and we get a lot of visitors.”
The Open Day staged an advance event last Sunday at Beverley when Britain’s first-ever race for stable staff was memorably won by Vicky Pears on her favourite horse Noodles Blue Boy, trained by her husband Ollie. The odds-on favourite streaked home by ten lengths from Billy Hardy on Bosun Breeze and Georgia Dukes riding Shillito in a five furlong dash which attracted ten runners. All riders had to work for one of the Malton and district stables, had never to have ridden a winner under rules and had to pledge to raise £500 for the Open Day charities.
“All credit to Karen Brown, who works hard at organising the Open Day. The race was her idea and it worked really well,” said Fitzgerald. “There was a lot of enthusiasm and goodwill surrounding it, all the riders loved it and credit to Beverley for putting it on. Plus, it raised a few quid for our charities.”
Stables on Sunday will be open from 9am until 1pm with the exception of David O’Meara, at Nawton near Helmsley, who will have his gates open slightly earlier and will close at 11-30am. Among the huge amount of horses you can see there are Custom Cut, a Group 3 winner at York last Saturday, annual high achiever Penitent and Royal Ascot winner Louis The Pious.
Richard Fahey and John Quinn also sent out Royal Ascot winners this season. Fahey’s massive Musley Bank yard – only accessible through the park-and-ride system operating from Malton Market Place – houses such horses as Group 1 winner Garswood, Northumberland Plate winner Angel Gabrial and Baccarat, winner of Royal Ascot’s Wokingham Handicap.
The Wow Signal, brilliant winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, followed-up at Deauville in France last Sunday in the Group 1 Prix Morny for Quinn, whose stunning Highfield yard will be a choice location. Visitors will be spoilt for choice in the Highfield corner. Malcolm Jefferson’s powerful jumps yard is close by, while across the road, Ollie Pears, Tony Coyle, Suzzanne France, Kristin Stubbs, Neville Bycroft, John Wainwright and Brian Ellison all have yards.
Ellison’s main yard is at Spring Cottage, where he will demonstrate his new equine ‘water walker’ and show off horses like the popular Top Notch Tonto. A short distance away is Tim Etherington’s Wold House Stables which will once again play host to ‘horse whisperer’ Gary Witheford, who will giving demonstrations of his skills throughout the morning.
There is so much to see to see, so much to do. Tim Easterby is opening all his three yards, Tim FitzGerald will once again house the great Monet’s Garden at his Norton Grange stables, and the yards of Nigel Tinkler, Peter Niven, Lee James, Lawrence Mullaney, Mark Campion, Sara Ender, Julie Camacho and Brian Rothwell will also be opening their doors.
Local businesses are getting involved. The New Brew Tearoom in Castlegate is generously offering a full English breakfast from 8am and Sunday lunch from noon with all profits going to the Open Day charities.
The afternoon events centre around the Rainbow Equine Clinic and Malton Market Place where, apart from a roadshow and exhibitions, a grand quiz, featuring teams of trainers, jockeys and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, captained by Jack Berry, will take place at 2pm.
All in all, it has the makings of another great day, celebrating and embracing the racing game which continues to provide Malton with its identity, just as it has done for hundreds of years.
• CUSTOM CUT, thriving under the guidance of David O’Meara, made it four consecutive wins at York when landing last Saturday’s Group 3 Strensall Stakes under Danny Tudhope. “He’s very, very tough, and Danny gave him a great ride,” said the Ryedale trainer, who had previously won Listed races with him at Windsor and Pontefract and a Group 3 event at Leopardstown.
Custom Cut has a choice of engagements in the coming weeks. The Park Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting is one alternative, along with Newmarket’s Joel Stakes and the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp, races that celebrated stablemate Penitent has shone in the past.
• EDGE OF SANITY belied his 25-1 odds at York to provide Brian Ellison with a notable success at the Ebor Festival. One of five runners from the Spring Cottage yard in the two miles handicap, the former Jim Bolger-trained five-year-old got home by half a length under Paul Mulrennan.
“He’ll be aimed at the Cesarewitch,” said Ellison, who came close to completing a double at the meeting with Top Notch Tonto, who bounced back to form when narrowly beaten in handicap company.
“He ran a cracker and will go the Curragh on Champion Stakes day. We’ll hope for some rain for him,” said Ellison, referring to his proven mud-lover’s favourite conditions.
• ANY awards for the best riding performance at York last week could well have included Joe Doyle, who didn’t even complete the course!
The Ryedale apprentice, who had ridden a double at Musselburgh earlier in the week, produced a remarkable effort on Mantou in the Melrose Handicap. Having challenged for the lead approaching the final furlong, the Michael Bell-trained three-year-old was still in with every chance when his saddle suddenly slipped backwards. Doyle gallantly did his utmost to balance the saddle, but it then slid around the horse’s belly. Doyle hung on for dear life, eventually around Mantou’s neck before dramatically taking a crashing fall just after the line. Unfortunately, Doyle’s foot clipped the ground just before the winning post meaning that Mantou was disqualified from fourth place.
It was some performance by Doyle, who miraculously escaped unscathed from a hairy experience.