The unspoilt, if car-cluttered, market town of Malton is best known for its 30 racing stables; but in recent years it has promoted itself as “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”.
Its food offering will not tempt jockeys to stray from their chosen path of abstinence
Wedged into the main thoroughfare, accurately named Wheelgate, Suddaby’s Crown Hotel is firmly part of the old Malton. Extending no further than potato crisps, its food offering will not tempt jockeys to stray from their chosen path of abstinence.
Conversation in the bar is dominated by racing talk. “Frankie’ll win.” “Aye, going’s very soft.” One gent vociferously addressed the TV, tuned to the racing: “Go on, Ryan! Go on, Ryan!” (Unplaced.)
A pint of Double Chance (3.8 per cent), light and refreshing, slipped down easily under the gaze of jockeys sketched by Spy a century ago. Brewed for the pub by Leeds Brewery, the beer is named after the winner of the 1925 Grand National, trained by Fred Archer Jr, a family friend. “Silks worn by his uncle, the famous jockey Fred Archer, hang in our shop,” said Neil Suddaby. “He blew his brains out in 1886. Very tall man. Couldn’t cope with the constant dieting.”
The latest in a long line of Suddabys to run the Crown (“Five generations of lunatics”), Neil has inherited the family’s equine obsession, fortunately with lucrative results. “We would have closed down years ago but for betting. I won yesterday with Laugh a Minute at Doncaster. £30 each way at 22-1.”
The Crown’s unpersuasive wood-effect wallpaper is staying put, Neil stressed. “My mother put that wood up and I’m not taking it down. I know what’s under it.” An impressive array of ancient tin signs (“Cooper’s Dipping Powder: The Perfect Sheep Dip”, “Big Loaf Yeast: Best Value in British Yeast”), that were once used to cover holes in the floor, would have my friend Andy, who has recreated a Victorian bar in his London living room, reaching for his screwdriver.
By way of farewell, Neil gave Pint to Pint readers a tip for the Cesarewitch next Saturday. “A horse called Dubawi Fifty looks promising.” If you win, you could buy Neil a drink – but only wine. “Beer brings me out in a rash.”
12 Wheelgate, Malton, N Yorks YO17 7HP
01653 692038; suddabys.co.uk