Malton Festival of Racing showcases horseracing industry in Ryedale, past and present

Sunday 17th September saw visitors flocking to the North Yorkshire town to visit the yards of sixteen trainers, see the horses in training and meet the staff that look after them. Some of the top racehorses on show from both the Flat and National Hunt codes included this year’s Prix Du Moulin winner, Ribchester; Red Rum Handicap Chase winner Double W’s and last year’s Yorkshire Cup winner Clever Cookie.

Visitors also enjoyed touring the Injured Jockey Fund’s Northern Rehabilitation and Fitness Centre at Jack Berry House where children and adults alike were able to try out their skills on an equiciser under the watchful eye of Grand National winning jockey Derek Fox.

The jockey’s showjumping relay, held at Richard Fahey’s Musley Bank yard, was sponsored by McClarron Insurance and Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors and proved to be a real draw. 25 local pony club riders were paired up with a jockey and both riders took it in turns to jump around a challenging course of showjumps. With the competition being judged on speed (with 4-seconds added for any pole knocked down) spectators were treated to a daring display of riding from the jockeys as well as the pony club riders, some of whom may well become star jockeys of the future. The competition was hot, but the overall winners were Niamh Fahey and Brian Hughes who both rode incredibly tight turns to take the title. The top six pony club riders all received baselayers and beanies courtesy of Careers in Racing as well as commemorative rosettes and t-shirts.

With the weather proving quite unsettled, the Q & A session which took place indoors in the Milton Rooms proved to be very popular. Richard Fahey, Paul Hanagan, Brian Hughes, Derek Fox and Jack Berry took questions from the audience with Racing UK presenter Niall Hannity chairing the panel. Another indoor attraction for visitors avoiding some heavy showers was the display of racing memorabilia in the Conservative Club which included photographs by Alec Russell.

The Malton Festival of Racing Dog Show, sponsored by Linton Pet Shop, took place after the rain and saw a bumper entry of dogs in every shape and size. Winner of the ‘trainer most like their dog’ class was Robin O’Ryan with Golden Labrador, Amber. The ‘jockey most like their dog’ class was hotly contested but the title eventually went to Tony Hamilton.

Derek Fox Butchers, which has no relation to the jockey, were the chosen winners of the shop-window competition which saw a range of Malton’s town centre shops decorating their windows with a horseracing theme. They windows were judged by local MP Kevin Hollinrake, who was visiting the event.

Funds raised by the event will support Racing Welfare’s services in Malton as well as the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Jack Berry House and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Racing Welfare’s Chief Executive Dawn Goodfellow said “We are incredibly grateful to all of the trainers, stable staff and volunteers who made the Malton Festival of Racing possible; it was a big team effort. I’d also like to thank our headline sponsors Arena Racing Company as well as the sponsors of events – it has been a hugely enjoyable day bringing the whole Yorkshire racing community together.”