THE amateur riders taking part in this year’s Ride Of Their Lives at York Racecourse are just days away from the big event.

Ryedale riders Jill Boak, 43, from Malton, Jeremy Corkell, 50, from Sinnington, and Bertie Hayton, 24, of Nunnington, are among the 12 people taking part in Saturday’s race, riding thoroughbred racehorses in front of tens of thousands of people.

Following months of hard work in gyms and early morning rides on the gallops, the riders are now fully prepared for the race, which is the finale to Macmillan Charity Raceday.

Jill Boak, who is riding in memory of her father, top jockey Mark Birch, said: “I am feeling fairly calm about things. I know there is nothing else I can do in preparation other than get my head around the actual day’s formalities and protocols.

"The biggest thing will be keeping my emotions in check and presenting as professional on the day in respect for the sport’s integrity. I am looking forward to the day, with some trepidation as expected, but will give it my all to make my family proud and represent my dad.”

Bertie Hayton said: “I am looking forward to Saturday. It seems like an achievement in itself to get this far! My race prep isn’t altering, I like to keep to my routine. I will have a couple of last minute gym sessions and equicizer training at Jack Berry House. I will be riding out every day.

“I am nervous and excited at the same time, but that’s normal isn’t it?

“I am very grateful to everyone who has sponsored and helped along this journey but especially the owners of my mount and trainer Tim Easterby.”

Jeremy Corkell added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jonathan Gill for kindly loaning me his horse, Relight My Fire, to ride in the race, my sponsors, Ashfield Caravans, and Origin Windows and Frames, for their kind sponsorship of my breeches.

“I’m sure I’ll be fine on the day, but, at the moment, with the countdown on, I’m as nervous as a long-tailed tom cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

“A massive thank you to everyone who has helped with my fundraising, especially Maria and her team from Spencer’s Bar and Grill, for holding quiz nights and frog racing, and all those who have donated, helping me towards reaching my target.”

All the riders are still fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Bertie Hayton still has a big fundraiser left - a black tie ball at York Racecourse on Saturday, July 7; tickets are still available, go to

Jill Boak is holding an auction of memorabilia and other lots, including signed breeches. Go to

Jeremy Corkell is also still collecting; to donate go to

The Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives is the last race on the Macmillan Charity Raceday.

Last year it raised £130,000 for Macmillan to help fund vital cancer support services, including nurses, welfare benefits advisers and cancer information centres.