Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Grand National winner heartens crowds at Middleham open day
2:59pm Friday 29th March 2013 in News
THE spirit of a champion racehorse brought cheer to fans who braved freezing conditions to celebrate a town’s racehorsing industry.
Neptune Collonges, who last April became the first grey winner of the Grand National for 62 years in the closest-ever finish to the race, appeared relaxed as he mixed with crowds in a yard at Middleham’s 20th Stables Open Day.
Organisers of the event said they were delighted the retired 12-year-old Paul Nicholls-trained horse was comfortable being led around close to the public after the field they had planned to show him in was covered in snow.
Lesley Sweeting said: “A lot of people came specifically to see Neptune Collonges, so it was great that he could walk around where most horses would remain in their boxes.”
She said more than 3,000 people had ignored the weather to travel from across the country to get a behind the scenes look at hundreds of racehorses in the town's 16 racehorse stables, including those of Middleham newcomers Noel Wilson, Philip Kirby and Patrick Holmes.
Mrs Sweeting said: “It has been quieter than usual, with about two-thirds of the 5,000 we normally get, but we had expected it to be due to the weather.”
Another highlight of the event was the arrival at Manor House Stables of the Household Cavalry’s recruit, five-year-old Trooper Middleham.
Residents voted to name the horse after the town last year when the Blues and Royals naming process was thrown open to the public.
Mrs Sweeting said while 24 charities, including Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the Army Benelovent Fund, and Middleham Sports shared £14,500 last year, she expected fundraising to be down at this year’s event due to the lower turnout.
Mayor of Middleham, Councillor Tammi Tolhurst said she was delighted the open day had gone from “strength to strength” and was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Comments are closed on this article.