A charity race held at York as part of the biggest fundraising day in British racing ended in a dead heat on Saturday (16 June).
The Macmillan Charity Raceday’s finale, the 5.40pm Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives, concluded in a tie between X Rated and Apterix, ridden by Sarah Fanning and Chris Brownless respectively.
Chris Hughes, star of ITV2’s Love Island, also took part in the race, crossing the line in fifth place after a late run on the Richard Fahey-trained Carnageo.
“I was so nervous at the start; it’s surreal that I’ve won with Chris,” said 37-year-old Sarah, who fell off in her previous attempt at a charity race at Cheltenham. “Everyone has done amazingly well and raised so much money for Macmillan. That’s what it’s all about.”
Chris Brownless, who at 64 was the oldest of the jockeys, was motivated to take part in the race after losing his younger brother Malcolm to cancer at the age of 57.
“It’s a special day. I was riding today in memory of my brother who died from cancer in 2015. He would have been 60 today,” he said.
Eleven riders took part in the 1 mile, 1 furlong challenge which is run outside of Rules. They had to pass the charity race-riders’ training course, as well as sourcing their own horses. Between them, they raised more than £110,000 for the charity.
Chris Hughes said the six months leading up the race had been an amazing experience, as had the day itself.
“The support from the crowd was unbelievable. I’m disappointed not to win but I’ve loved every minute of the race, the day and the months of training leading up to today, and just want to have another go now,” he said.
“I would like to thank Coral, Jonjo O’Neill, Richard Fahey and Dominic Elsworth and all the other people who’ve all made this possible. It’s one of the best things I’ve done. My fellow jockeys have all been incredible supportive and we’d like to thank everyone who has raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support.”
As well as being is the biggest single fundraiser in Macmillan’s calendar the event is the largest charity raceday in Britain.
This year, more than 21,000 people passed through the course’s gates, raising more than £470,000 for Macmillan and other beneficiaries, including York Against Cancer, St Leonard’s Hospice, Racing Welfare and the Injured Jockeys Fund.
The relationship between York racecourse and cancer charity Macmillan began in 1971 and this year’s raceday also resulted in their passing a landmark £8million in total funds raised.
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“To have raised over £8m is an amazing achievement and a tribute to everyone past and present who has contributed to make this raceday such a wonderful event,” said William Derby, York racecourse chief executive and clerk of the course.
“Countless individuals and organisations have been so generous with their time, involvement and support of the day from throughout the racing and Yorkshire community – it is a special day everyone associated with it can be very proud of.”
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, added: “At Macmillan we rely on donations to fund our services and help people living with cancer life live as fully as they can, so we’re hugely grateful to everyone that has been involved.”
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