Nearly 27,000 people flocked to the Knavesmire for a day of racing and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. The event is the biggest single fundraising event in the Macmillan calendar. This strong support and the backing of race sponsors, box holders and hospitality guests, means that the funding to the good causes from York Racecourse itself, set the charitable total rising.
Following a card of seven races with experienced jockeys, it was the turn of ten members of the public to race. The amateur riders have trained for months to prepare for the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives. The riders, eight of which are from Yorkshire, all raised money for Macmillan to take part, smashing last year’s fundraising record total of donations in the process. The class of 2016 raised approaching £150,000, with further promises expected to take them through that threshold.
In a race with no losers, the first past the post was Ruth Carr aboard Dubai Dynamo, a horse she trains herself from her racing yard at Stillington, near York. Before the turn of the millennium Ruth, 39, was well known on the Lady Amateur circuit but by her admission it was a huge challenge to get herself back fit enough to ride the Knavesmire. To the great credit of Ruth and her supporters, they have already contributed approaching £35,000 and further donations to the justgiving pages of Ruth and the other nine riders will swell this total.
The day also included charity auctions, with lots including exclusive holidays and sporting memorabilia, while 23,000 raffle tickets were sold over the two days for a range of prizes including £500 cash. More than 100 Macmillan volunteers helped collect donations from generous racegoers.
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
Thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a success. This is the biggest single fundraising event in our calendar, so plays a big part in funding Macmillan services, which are there to ensure that people get the best quality care and support throughout their cancer journey.
Rob Payne, chief executive of Best Western Hotels, the first time sponsors of both the Macmillan Ride of their Lives and the Listed Ganton Stakes said:
The record breaking Ride of their Lives participants were the highlight of an inspirational day at York Racecourse. Best Western Hotels were proud to sponsor the race and to help raise important funds for Macmillan Cancer Support both on the day and through the fundraising efforts of our own staff.
James Brennan, Head of Marketing at York, summed up the day, saying:
Yet again, the commitment of the amateur riders to both their riding and fund raising has been amazing; matched only by the generosity of York’s racegoers. They saw some high quality action on the track and can go home knowing they were part of something special today as they broke all fundraising records.
Macmillan Charity Raceday is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. The event has been held annually since 1971, and has now raised more than £7 million in total for Macmillan and other charitable causes.
Supporters have already ringed Saturday 17 June 2017 in their diaries, as the likely date for the 47th staging of this popular event.