A RACEHORSE stables open day celebrating its 21st anniversary on Good Friday hopes to attract families and enthusiasts alike.

The Middleham Stables Open Day will feature 15 stables with more than 500 horses for visitors to see, while racing will be screened live from a big screen at the Top Cross in Middleham from 1.45pm.

The star attraction will be Trooper Middleham - the popular cavalry horse who was named after the town.

Trooper Middleham will help to open proceedings, with BBC York presenter Elly Fiorentini, at 9.15am.

Another highlight of the day will be to see legendary Almaty Express, who will be paraded at John Weymes Racing at Ashgill Stables at 11am and 12.45pm.

Organiser Robert Beaumont said: “Almaty Express was bought for less than £4,000 after a selling race at Catterick 10 years ago, and during 143 starts, he won 22 and finished in the first three in a third of them. He is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement."

Last year’s event raised more than £12,000 despite the bad weather and organisers hope to raise even more for this year’s charities, including the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Household Cavalry Foundation.

Mr Beaumont said: “Last year was hit by terrible weather, but we are hoping for a warmer day this year.

“With 16 stables open, containing some of the best racehorses in the north of England, it will be one of the biggest and the best in the open day’s history.”

James Bethell, the chairman of the Middleham Trainers Association, said: “The traditional date for the stables open day had been threatened with the introduction of Good Friday racing this year.

“However, with the support of Betfair and the Arena Racing Company, who are arranging the live screening of racing from Lingfield and Musselburgh, we are preparing for one of the most enjoyable open days of recent years."

Tickets cost £10 per adult and admission for accompanied children under 12 is free.

The yards are open to the public on Good Friday, April 18 from 9.30am until 1pm or 2pm.

Free parking is available in Middleham or Leyburn, with free bus links between car parks and the outlying stables. This includes Ann and George Duffield who are opening their successful Sun Hill Stables at Constable Burton from noon until 4.30pm.

For more details visit www.middlehamstablesopenday.co.uk or call 01969-624411.