WITH the start of the racing season beginning in York, the riders of one important race are making their final preparations before getting into the saddle.

As reported by The Press, the Macmillan Ride of their Lives will take place on Saturday, June 15 at York Racecourse, with 12 amateur jockeys given the chance to race against one another at York Racecourse.

This is the 53rd charity race day for Macmillan with each rider expected to raise at least £4,000 in the run up to the big event and further funds to be donated to the charity on the day as punters flock to the racecourse for a day of merriment with a good cause at its heart.


The Press was able to speak to two of these jockeys, Charlotte Lawson, who is from Keldholme, and Amelia Thornton-Berry, from York, ahead of the event in just under a month’s time.

Amelia, who has moved back from London temporarily while she trains, was eager to race on her home turf of York – a course she’d been attending her whole life.

Speaking to The Press, she said: “My parents live near York, so being able to work hybrid means I moved back in with my parents to train. Training is quite intense but I’m lucky to have land and a yard. Everyone has been flexible and understanding of my schedule.”

After starting riding at the age of three, Amelia had previously been involved in eventing – even riding as part of the U18 Team GB squad – but found the challenge of riding a racehorse to be an entirely different thing all together.

Her desire to be involved in Ride of Their Lives started years ago when a neighbour took part in the race. After experiencing the loss of her aunt to cancer, she became all the more eager to take part.

Amelia said: "I said to my cousin, one day I will do the Macmillan race in aid of her and so that's why I have.

York Press: Amelia Thornton-Berry - a jockey competing in Ride of their LivesAmelia Thornton-Berry - a jockey competing in Ride of their Lives (Image: Provided)

“It’s not just about her though, it’s about all those people who have lost their battle, and those who had a success story with it, and how the charity can help these individuals.”

At the time of writing, Amelia's JustGiving page had received 197 per cent of its original target with a total of £13,797 raised for Macmillian.

Charlotte, on the other hand, said that while she had not been directly impacted by cancer, she felt riding for Macmillian was "worthwhile and would benefit many people".

With a history in equestrian events, she said: “I’ve been riding all my life, I was brought up on a horse - my dad was a farrier.

York Press: Charlotte Lawson - a jockey competing in Ride of their LivesCharlotte Lawson - a jockey competing in Ride of their Lives (Image: Provided)

“I trained point to pointers and did have a go as a point-to-point jockey in my 20s as well as some eventing in my 30s. It’s taken a while for me to get used to riding with my knees up - it's a totally different experience to riding normal length.”

Charlotte continued: “You’re only as good as the horse you’re riding. Everyone is just grateful to be taking part and the element of competitiveness isn’t too strong as we’re doing it to support the charity and have the experience.” 

The riders see each other regularly in Malton and there’s a team meeting once a month, something which has brought them all closer as they prepare to take part in the once in a lifetime event.