MIDDLEHAM stables will again open their doors to the public this March with the return of the popular open day.

The event moves back to its traditional Good Friday slot after changing to Easter Monday last year.

Friday, March 30 will see 13 yards on display from 9.30am to 1pm, including those of leading trainer Mark Johnston, who will again be showcasing his Park Farm Spa facilities, while James Bethell's Thorngill stables will host a jumping demonstration and show of two-year-olds.

Visitors will also have the chance to see the stables of Karl Burke - the trainer of last year's Group 1 winners Laurens and Unfortunately - and Jedd O'Keeffe, where recent Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle victor and Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle hope Sam Spinner resides, alongside Ann Duffield's water treadmill recuperation facilities.

As well as the other historic yards, there will be various market stalls and food offerings in Middleham, a craft fair at the Key Centre and parade of the local fox hounds.

In the afternoon, events will move to the Low Moor, where planned activities include the Retraining of Racehorses Musical Ride and schooling of National Hunt horses from Micky Hammond's stable.

This will be followed by an inter-yard team competition for stable staff in which a Donkey Derby, sponsored by Beverley Racecourse, will feature as well as the return of a showjumping relay in conjunction with local pony club members.

Sarah Fanning of Racing Welfare said: “We are very much looking forward to running the 2018 open day.

"While the event worked on Easter Monday last year it was felt by the trainers that its traditional Good Friday place is better suited for yard working patterns.

"We have lots planned and plenty of equine talent on show in this beautiful part of the country and look forwards to welcoming crowds of visitors.”

Sam Cone, PR and communications manager of the event's sponsors, Arena Racing Company, said: “ARC is delighted to continue our support of the Middleham Stables Open Day, which offers racing fans a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes of some of the top racing yards in the country.

"We very much hope that everyone enjoys the packed programme of activities and to help to raise funds for Racing Welfare, who do brilliant work.”

The event brings big crowds to the town, with the majority of proceeds from last year going to Racing Welfare to fund the planned Hill House development in memory of Jessica Bethell, the daughter of trainer James who died in 2012 from a rare virus, aged 24.

Further funds were donated to Yorkshire Air Ambulance and local charities including Riding for the Disabled, Citizens Advice Bureau and Middleham Sports and Wellbeing Association.