Countdown to the 2020 Macmillan Charity Horserace begins!

Applications for the biggest charity raceday in the country officially open on Sunday 8th September, giving you the chance to become one of 12 amateur riders taking on the Ernest Cooper and Macmillan Ride of Their Lives. Held at the iconic York Racecourse, you’ll also be raising vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Macmillan Charity Raceday takes place on Saturday 13th June 2020, and is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. The day of professional racing and fundraising is the UK’s biggest charity raceday, and raised a record-breaking £650,000 in 2019. Since its launch in 1971, over £9 million has been raised for Macmillan and other charitable causes.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is the grand finale to York’s Macmillan Charity Raceday. As part of the fundraising challenge, successful applicants will have the opportunity to race Thoroughbreds around the famous Knavesmire course in front of 20,000 cheering spectators. Not only that, but you’ll also be trained by a former jockey, and all riders will pledge to raise a minimum of £3,000 for Macmillan.

Next year’s race promises to be a particularly memorable event, as it marks the 50th anniversary of Macmillan Charity Raceday at York. To celebrate this landmark, the partnership hopes to raise £1million through a range of activities, including auctions, raffles, fundraising lunches and donations.

Sarah Proud, a Macmillan Counsellor at York Hospital, explains how the annual York Racecourse fundraiser would help Macmillan:

“Macmillan Cancer Support receives no government funding, and relies entirely on fundraisers for its support. So events like Ride of Their Lives, and the wider Macmillan Charity Raceday, are absolutely essential to ensure we continue to be there for everyone impacted by cancer.

Just £140 could pay for a Macmillan grant to help cover a patient’s cancer treatment travel costs. £204 could cover the cost of a Macmillan nurse for the day, who will help patients and their families by providing essential medical, practical and emotional support.”

The class of 2019 Ride of Their Lives – including a Pilates teacher, a farmer and a Hollywood actor – raised a combined total of more than £320,000 for Macmillan.

Charlotte Atkinson (25), from Harrogate, brought this year’s charity raceday to a thrilling conclusion when she galloped into first place. Charlotte said:

“Taking part in the Macmillan Ride of Their Lives had been a life-changing journey. It’s been a privilege to watch and get to know the rest of the riders as we all grew in confidence and overcame our own challenges.

“The feeling when I crossed over the line was electric, but it wasn’t until I saw Lucy, our groom, that I realised I’d actually won! Everyone’s worked incredibly hard on the fundraising, so it almost isn’t a surprise that, together, we raised a record breaking total.”

James Brennan, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship at York Racecourse added:

“Although everyone at York Racecourse is still marvelling at the record-breaking support for our 2019 raceday, exciting plans are already being developed to celebrate 50 years of fantastic fundraising at our 2020 event. Once again, our intrepid Ride of Their Lives jockeys will be at the heart of both the raceday and our efforts to raise further, vital funds for Macmillan and other good causes.”

To apply to take part in the Macmillan Ride of their Lives or for further information, please visit

Visit today to donate or volunteer.

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