Thousands enjoy Newmarket weekend

Racing fans from all corners of the country flocked to Newmarket on Sunday to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the industry as a number of yards from across the town opened their doors to the public.

Warren Hill gallops at Newmarket – played host to some big names on Sunday.

While there may have only been 15 stables participating in this year's event, it failed to stop thousands of visitors attending the second day of the 32Red Newmarket Open Weekend.

After having watched a number of horses, including the Sir Michael Stoute-trained pair of Midterm and Ulysses, canter on the gallops at Warren Hill on Saturday, the action 24 hours later presented a chance for visitors to rub shoulders with some familiar faces from the training ranks – along with meeting the equine stars of the sport.

As in previous years, the yard of James Fanshawe was one of the major draws, with a steady flow of visitors cascading through the gates of Pegasus Stables to see the likes of Group One winner Speedy Boarding and talented sprinter The Tin Man.

Fanshawe said: "We've had more people in than the last two years. We've had a good turn-out to the yard. Hopefully people have enjoyed coming around.

"The horses have been very relaxed and it's great to show racing enthusiasts what goes on behind the scenes and also to say thank to the people of Newmarket as the whole place relies on give and take from everyone.

"It is great that people are interested, it's all very well going to the races but it is great to show them how things are prepared and how the horses are trained, and just give them a general insight behind the scenes."

Despite the yard of David Simcock being positioned closer to the Rowley Mile than to the yards at the heart of the action, the Trillium Place handler saw a healthy number of people make the journey up to his stables.

He said: "For me, it's important to keep the Open Weekend going and to keep the momentum up as it has been a massive success over the past couple of years.

"We've had lots of people through the doors and lots of interest. What's wonderful is the staff are only too willing to talk to everybody about the horses they look after.

"People have asked the right questions and are so interested. We are lucky we draw such attention to our industry.

"It's something that that really appeals to people. It gives them an insight into the secretive back work so I think it is nice for people to come and see what goes on."

While trainer James Eustace may not have the numbers enjoyed by some of his colleagues, his historic Park Lodge Stables, which have been in the town since the early 19th century, proved another popular stopping point for visitors.

Eustace said: "We are big fans of the Open Weekend. I think the concept of an open weekend seems to have worked.

"We are very keen on the open day as it allows us to have a shop window to the public and it's good fun.

"I hope it carries on. We enjoyed it when it was done previously 10 or 15 years ago. It's fun and all our staff seem to enjoy it telling people their horses.

"The people want to see the horses they see on the racecourses in their own environment and talk to people that look after them."

Since taking out a training licence in 2014, Charlie Fellowes has annually welcomed in members of the public to his St Gatien base.

He said: "I think the Newmarket Open Weekend is a fantastic initiative.

"For a small trainer like me it's a great way of getting my yard in the shop window.

"As a result, we've got numerous people that have gone into syndicates from meeting the horses in the yard.

"It is a way of allowing people seeing something they don't very often.

"If one person comes to the Open Weekend and decides to go into racehorse ownership as a result of it, whether it is with me or someone else, then it's a good initiative in my eyes.

"The Newmarket Open Day guys have done a great job. It is not the finished article but it's getting better every year.

"We've opened every year and we love it."

Read More at Sporting Life

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