JOCKEYS are gearing up for one of the most memorable days in the racing calendar at York Racecourse this weekend.

Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse on Saturday, June 15 promises to be an afternoon of quality racing that again helps those in most need.

Starting the day will be the 53rd Macmillan Ride of Their Lives, followed by more races prior to the day’s principal contest, The Churchill Tyres Supporting Macmillan Sprint, one of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds that offers prize money of £100,000.


As The Press reported previously, two of riders in the Ride of Their Lives are York based and have spoken about their experiences training for the once in a lifetime experience – which requires them to raise £3,000 and pass a fitness test.

Karl Avison, 60, a farmer from Pickering near Malton, is the eldest rider of the race and the first Ride of Their Lives participant to take part twice, after previously riding in 2019. 

He said: “I feel privileged to ride in Macmillan’s ‘Ride of Their Lives’ again after racing it in 2019. It’s an amazing experience so I’m delighted to have passed the test! I worked with the team at Jack Berry House as part of my recovery from prostate cancer last year and I think this stood me in good stead when I began jockey training.

“It’s amazing to know I’ll be racing in the ‘Ride of their Lives’ again soon. I really want to give back to other people living with cancer. I’ve pledged to raise £25,000 and I’m thrilled to have reached that goal already.” 

Collectively the riders have raised more than £175,000 and counting for Macmillan Cancer Support in six months. They have all individually committed to raising at least £4,000 for Macmillan.

Amelia Thornton-Berry and Charlotte Lawson who are taking part in the Ride of their LivesAmelia Thornton-Berry and Charlotte Lawson who are taking part in the Ride of Their Lives (Image: Provided)

In addition to this, York Racecourse has provided complimentary admission through its “proper thank you bank” initiative – which is intended to credit the hard work of those who support Macmillan and other charities.

Megan Hayman Tansley, Relationship Fundraising Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “I have been blown away by the commitment and dedication the amateur riders have shown since being selected for the Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ in December. 

“Not only have they thrown themselves into training and developing as jockeys, but they have committed to raising vital funds for Macmillan and we couldn’t be more grateful. 

“We’re looking forward to watching the riders race at Macmillan’s Charity Raceday on Saturday, June 15 and witness the culmination of all their hard work.”