David Carr of The Racing Post writes about Middleham Open Day

Racing fans will get their first chance to visit yards in Middleham for three years after Racing Welfare announced its open day will return on Good Friday (April 15).

Mark and Charlie Johnston’s stable will be among a dozen stables throwing open their doors at an Arena Racing Company-sponsored event that was lost to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

“Middleham Open Day is something we’ve been involved in for a long time now,” Charlie Johnston said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our facilities and the horses here while supporting the local community – it’s an important day in the calendar.

“It gives us the chance to promote interest in racing, and because the public can see the horses up close and personal, it helps to secure our existing fan base and reach new audiences too.

“It’s obviously a big day for the Racing Welfare team too who have a base in Middleham. We certainly have staff here who use their services – particularly the accommodation – and there are probably plenty more that we don’t know about too.”

The day is a huge fundraiser for Racing Welfare, which offers a wide range help for people in racing and provided 1,261 instances of support to 149 beneficiaries in the Middleham area alone last year.

Nicki Strong, head of communications and marketing, said: “It’s always such a popular event and it’s nice to have it back in the diary again, rather than having to do everything via computer screens.”

All-Weather Championships finals day will be more of a counter-attraction this year, as it has moved from Lingfield to Newcastle, less than 70 miles from Middleham.

But the open day retains its usual place in the calendar and Strong said: “There was a lot of thought put into setting the date but Good Friday is the one that works best for people; it’s when it’s traditionally been and we’ve stuck with it again.”

Yards will be opening from 9.30am to 1pm, with a host of activities to follow in the afternoon, and tickets are available at an early-bird discounted rate before March 1 of £10 for adults and £6.50 for concessions here. Admission is free for under-16s.