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Six horses rescued in flood drama.

TRAINER Patrick Haslam raised the alarm which led to the rescue of six horses-among them 13-year-old Sir Peter Lely, fourth in the 1996 Martell Grand National-after parts of Middleham were

badly hit by flooding over the weekend, writes Roy Briggs.

Hundreds of acres around Middleham were left under water in the worst flooding to hit the racing centre for almost 20 years after the River Ure burst its banks following

three days of incessant rain.

Local farrier Doug Gemmeson told how the alarm was raised by Haslam, who rang his door bell at 3am on Sunday morning as some low-lying paddocks, where a number of horses were turned out, had become flooded.

Gemmeson said: "Patrick brought a couple of staff and, between us, we managed to round up the horses and lead them on to higher ground. They were up to their knees in water when we arrived.

"The whole operation took us about an hour and the rain never stopped. On my way there, the main road which passed Mark Johnston's yard was like a torrent.

"While we were saving the horses, farm workers were out in canoes rescuing cattle and sheep, although some livestock was lost."

In a separate incident, former trainer Alan Harrison was lucky to escape unharmed when a 4ft stone wall collapsed under the pressure of floodwater and his car was caught up in a "tidal wave".

Harrison, who now runs a taxi business at Middleham

after quitting racing four years ago, was on his way to pick up a fare shortly before 2am on Sunday when the incident

occurred just outside the Yorkshire Racing Centre.

He said yesterday: "The road was partially flooded and, as I drove slowly along, a section of wall just five yards ahead suddenly started to cave in from the build-up of water behind it from the overflowing river, and large stones collapsed towards me.

"Within seconds, the vehicle was under water-it was up to the windows and the engine seized up. I managed to scramble out to get help, wading waist-deep through the water."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Briggs, Roy
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 6, 2000
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