YARDS around Middleham are preparing for this year's Good Friday Open Day event – with many also juggling a busy racing schedule on the same day.

Despite racing fixtures now taking place on Good Friday, 11 stables will open their doors to the the public on the traditional day for the open day, rather than Easter Monday as happened last year.

ARC Middleham Open Day, on Good Friday, April 19, is a highlight in Racing Welfare’s calendar of events each year, attracting more than 3,000 people to the town on the day.

Deirdre Johnston, director and assistant trainer at Mark Johnston Racing, said although she, husband Mark and son Charlie will all be away with runners on Good Friday, they are still keen to support the open day.

She said: "We get the horses out for exercise between 6am and 8am so they have been out before the day starts.

"If some horses are racing more than four hours away on Saturday though they go the night before so we need to have them ready.

"There are a lot of logistics involved now there is racing on Good Friday, it is a big racing day and there is a lot of money to be made – but we are still glad to be able to open for the event because it is nice to let the public see what we do.

"Last year Mark received his award for being the most successful trainer in Britain after getting the most winners – but in January we start again and are at the same point as everyone else.

"We are very pleased so far though, we have had 36 winners this year."

The day kicks off with open yards in the morning, whereby 11 stables will welcome in visitors to meet their equine stars from 9.30am to 1pm.

Those opening up their gates this year including the all-time record-breaking Mark Johnston, and the recently crowned Lycetts Team Champions – and home of the Cheltenham Festival Sun Racing Stayers Hurdle runner up Sam Spinner – Jedd O’Keeffe.

Stef Keniry and Liam Bailey, two of Middleham’s newest trainers, will also be opening for the day.

Proceeds from the day will go towards the Racing Welfare’s Hill House Appeal, for accommodation for young racing staff.

The site of the current Hill House in Middleham has been purchased by Racing Welfare in a bid to help to address the need for quality, affordable housing for young racing staff in the area.

The Hill House Appeal will be launched in association with the Jessica Bethell Charitable Foundation.

Racing Welfare’s northern regional welfare manager Sarah Fanning said, “We are delighted that this year’s Middleham Open Day coincides with the launch of the Hill House Appeal.

"Once completed, the project will provide a focal point in the town, not only by offering quality, safe housing for those coming into the industry, but also through the inclusion of facilities that will benefit the wider community as a whole."

Tickets for Middleham Open Day tickets are on sale now at www.middlehamopenday.co.uk.

Adult day passes are priced at £12.50, with concessions at £8.50.

Under 16s go free of charge.