TWELVE amateur jockeys have been chosen to take part in a “once in a lifetime” charity challenge at York Racecourse.

The riders will be taking part in the Ernest Cooper Macmillan Ride of their Lives challenge.

The charity venture will see them completing six months of intense jockey training before racing thoroughbred horses on York’s iconic course on Saturday, June 13, this year.

Sarah Jane (SJ) Barker, 38, is one of the selected riders.

She said: “I’ve ridden horses all my life but never ridden a racehorse until a fortnight ago.

“For a long time I’ve bred horses which we sell on in the hope they’ll become race horses.

"I now have the opportunity to ride one of these fabulous horses, it’s so exciting.

“I’m thrilled to be riding at my home track.”

SJ, from Westow, joins six other riders from across York and Ryedale.

All 12 riders have each pledged to raise at least £3,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Explaining her motivation, SJ added: “I, like many others, have not been untouched by cancer.

“I’m riding this race in memory of my cousin, taken too soon by this horrible disease.”

It is expected that the 12 amateurs will be racing in front of more than 25,000 people on the day.

The event, now in its 50th year, regularly raises more than £100,000 for Macmillan.

The charity race day raised a total of £660,000 for the charity in 2019.

To celebrate the 50-year partnership between York racecourse and Macmillan, all money raised from this years’ race will go directly into supporting people across Yorkshire.

Jamie Davenport, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “To mark our 50th anniversary we want to raise even more to ensure we’re there for people across Yorkshire.”

Other local competitors include Sean Quinn, from Malton, Kelsi Langley, from York, Natasha Hayes, from Sheriff Hutton and Ria Ginley, from Tadcaster.

If you wish to attend the charity race event, book tickets at: