The return of the ARC Malton Open Day and the Epsom Open Day yesterday, Sunday 12th September, saw the inaugural National Racehorse Week start with a bang. Following a year of virtual events due to the pandemic, racing fans and families alike were clearly delighted to be back at in-person events.
The ever-popular Malton Open Day saw a crowd of over 1500 people enjoying some fabulous sunshine and a great buzz as they toured the yards of some of the region’s best trainers. There were plenty of equine superstars on show including John Quinn’s Royal Ascot winner Highfield Princess, Richard Fahey’s Royal Ascot winner Perfect Power and Julie Camacho’s fan favourite, Judicial.
Other highlights of a fantastic day included John Fairley and John Quinn giving a fascinating talk about the history of Highfield Farm and the Advance Grass Solutions Whinny and Woof competition which saw pony club riders paired with a jockey and their dog to take on a fun jumping challenge. After some very competitive rounds, the pairing of Tilly Mason, riding Poppet, and Oakley Brown, with dog Jag, were crowned the winners.
There really was something for everyone on offer and to see the next generation of racing fans getting inspired by their interactions with the horses and staff was a real treat. At Tim Easterby’s yard, children were even writing good luck messages to his star filly Winter Power ahead of her racing in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes that afternoon.
As ever, the Linton Pet Shop Dog Show was a huge success with over 200 dogs entered across the ten classes which were judged by none other than racing legend Jack Berry OBE.
Of course, it wasn’t just the equine stars who were being celebrated but also the incredible racing staff who dedicate their working lives to the industry. The Racing Staff Challenge always provides brilliant entertainment and this year was no different. Despite stiff competition, the team from Jack Berry House had obviously been training hard and were rewarded with a clean sweep in all three contests – The Mcclarrons Insurance Big Relay, the Moneyweb bale roll and the White Rose Saddlery Tug of War!
In the South of the country, a similarly fun day was being had by a record crowd at the Epsom Open Day. The day was kicked off by ITV Racing Presenter, Rishi Persad who interviewed some of Epsom’s esteemed trainers, Simon Dow, Pat Phelan, Roger Ingram and Michael Attwater, while their horses cantered up the historic Downs.
Later in the day, Racing Welfare beneficiary and race day presenter Anthony Kemp interviewed Jim Boyle at his yard about his plans to expand from 25 to 50 horses. There were even a few dark horses unearthed for the crowd to follow. The full interview can be viewed on the Racing Conversation Facebook Group.
It was a great day, everyone was in high spirits, lots of happy children and happy horses. The sun also shone on the magnificent Epsom straight – home to the greatest Flat race in the world.
We would like to say a huge thank you to ARC for their generous support of the Malton Open Day and to all the sponsors and volunteers who made both open days so special – without their support, it would not be possible to hold these events which are not only fantastic showcases of our sport and it’s workforce but are also such important fundraisers for Racing Welfare. It’s great to be back and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2022!