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York's June Races Biggest Charity Raceday In Britain


6:01am 15th June 2013

Building on forty-three years of popularity with racing fans and having already raised over £5.5 million for good causes, Macmillan Charity Day at York Racecourse is on today (Saturday June 15) promises to be an afternoon of quality racing.

For only the second time, it will include The Macmillan Charity Race, a chance for twelve supporters to “ride the dream” as they participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each has pledged at least £2,500 to the charity and you can help them beat this target by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving. Aged from twenty one to sixty four the mixed group also represent many walks of life, as a teacher, marketing director and a retired jockey all feature. 

Once again, the charity auction so generously supported over the years is now available on line and in advance of the raceday.  This means everyone can place a bid for wonderful items such as an exclusive package for the gala opening night of Mamma Mia! in Hong Kong, a private tour of Bishopthorpe Palace home to the Archbishop of York, or a double magnum of Chateau de la Riviere, Fronsac 2000. Other items include a fully catered BBQ in your own home as well as luxury hotel stays, fine dining experiences and various prestigious racing opportunities. Visit the yorkracecourse.co.uk news section for more information on how to make your bid.

For the second year, a Listed race is featured on the Saturday  racing programme supported once again by Mr Ian Hall and his wife Kate, the Ganton Stakes over one mile offers increased prize money of £37,000 and provides another reason to attend the day, just by attending, racegoers will increase the money raised for charity.

Racing on Saturday begins at 2-05 p.m. with the 25th running of The Queen Mother’s Cup, the richest race for lady amateur riders in Britain and a contest won by The Princess Royal in 1988. It offers an opportunity for the successful rider to toast her success in her own weight of G.H. Mumm champagne.

Saturday’s principal race is The Charity Sprint Trophy, one of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds, which now offers prize money of £100,000. The roll of honour in this race over six furlongs includes top sprinters such as Cadeaux Genereux and Sheikh Albadou, as well as locally-trained stars Tax Free, Dazzling Bay, Artie and Lexi’s Hero.

For the fifth year, Ladbrokes support a valuable handicap over nine furlongs – The ladbrokes.com Stakes. The high standard continues on this Charity Day with The Macmillan Cancer Support Stakes followed by The Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Maiden Stakes - a contest named in honour of the founder of this Charity Day in 1971. A new sponsor to the day is the Ice Company who back a competitive handicap that denotes their support of Macmillan, a link that is amplified by the presence of company director, Polly Marr, in the Macmillan Charity Race. The traditional seventh race of the card is once again, The Charles Henry Memorial Stakes.

Macmillan Charity Day is part of a two-day meeting with racing on the Friday beginning with the backing of The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet of York and the European Breeders’ Fund for a maiden two-year-olds affair over the minimum trip of five furlongs. Racegoers will also be treated to a series of fashion shows and stylist tipping sessions throughout the afternoon as well as having the chance to win a luxury holiday.

Neptune Investment Management return to support a handicap contest over the extended ten furlongs to complement their backing of the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August. The SKF Rous Selling Stakes is supported for the ninth year by engineering company, SKF (UK) Ltd. when DBS (Doncaster Bloodstock Sales) will bring the excitement of the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure with an auction straight after the race. Also featured are The Bell Trailers 25th Anniversary Stakes (a handicap contest for sprinters over five furlongs) and The Garbutt & Elliott Stakes – a handicap race over seven furlongs.  On a card full of variety, the concluding race is a handicap contest for apprentice jockeys supported by the company who help to keep the racecourse spic and span, York-based Future Cleaning Services.

The totepool-supported ‘Punters’ Panel’ takes place prior to racing on both days from the winner’s podium as a preview to the action on each day, while giant screens will provide racegoers with an even closer view of proceedings on the track.


2013 Rider Biographies:


June 15th 2013 sees the 43rd Macmillan Charity Raceday held at York Racecourse, and with the 12 runners confirmed, planning and excitement is underway. The Charity Race offers aspiring jockeys and equine talents the opportunity to ride in a race on the stunning grounds of York Racecourse, fulfilling their ultimate dreams, all in the name of charity. The riders, spanning ages from 21-64 and covering the length and breadth of the country are varying in interest and background, but all share a combined love of the racehorse;


Charlotte Alpin

York Racecourse’s very own Pink Lady is our first rider. Charlotte has supported the staff at York Racecourse on a raceday as part of the Pink Lady team, whilst also working as a financial consultant for MetLife. Having previously hunted, as well as show-jumped at a national level across the country, Charlotte opted to shrink her yard last year to focus on a smaller team of horses and her career. She is keen to undertake a race on the flat whilst raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Charlotte recently lost a friend to cancer and it was then that she was able to witness at first hand the hard work that the Macmillan nurses do. Charlotte’s friend was passionate about racing and she wishes to take part in the race in memory of him.




Catriona Bissett

Catriona is a British Horseracing Authority graduate (2011) and has spent the last two years as Assistant Trainer to Richard Phillips. She began riding racehorses for Lucinda Russell at 15 and this has taken her right through both The University of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University. Catriona was inspired to apply for the York Charity Race after supporting her friend through a similar challenge, and is further prompted through the loss of a family member to raise money for a charity such as Macmillan Cancer Support. Catriona wishes to take on the Charity Race at her peak fitness, confidence and riding ability, and will be riding Andhaar from Richard Phillip’s yard.





Colin Bunting

Colin is our very own survivor; having been at his Father’s bedside when he died of lung cancer, and undergoing successful surgery in 2011 himself, the Macmillan nurses are extremely close to his heart. He has since ‘thrown himself’ into a recovery plan which involves work riding, and a change of career to become Racing Manager for Barry Brennan Racing Ltd. Raising a significant sum for Macmillan Cancer Research is a goal that spurred Colin on during his battle with cancer and he claims it will ‘please him greatly’ to do so.





Peter Craggs

Peter, our oldest jockey, won the 1978 Scottish Grand National on King Con, was tempted back to the sport as he wanted to help raise money for a cancer charity close to his heart.Peter has held an amateur jockeys license for 30 years and wishes to make use of his good fitness at his favourite track. This will be his third Charity Race, having come 3rd at Newcastle (2010) and joint 1st at Wetherby (2013). Peter has a love of speed, whether it be on horseback or skis and says that he still rides out 3-4 times a week. He is already a current supporter of Macmillan’s work and thinks it is the ‘best charity in the world to support.’




Sarah Hattersley

Sarah has spent many years nursing injured horses back to health, having had an involvement with horses since age 6. She currently works with David Nicholls and Alan McCabe breaking in yearlings, and has four horses in training herself. Sarah wishes to ride on behalf of her sister-in-law who died aged 38 of cancer, following a vow to give something back to the trust that nursed her. Sarah has been a pony club member and enjoys hunting, riding out on point to points and flat racehorses.


Mark Hindmarsh

Mark has worked within the racing industry for 30 years and is Head Lad for Karen McLintock, who has been training his (hopefully successful) horse. The horse, Mason Hindmarsh, was critically ill in 2011 and after his owner decided not to go ahead with the surgery, Mark could not ‘stand by and let him die’. Mark took on the job of raising the funds for the surgery himself, and was rewarded when Mason won his first race following surgery. Mark recognises the hard work of the Macmillan Nurses, referring to them as ‘angels’ stating that they make ‘unbearable circumstances bearable’ and that they are close to many hearts.


Jessica Macey

Jessica recently works as an administrator for Cambridge Nutritional Services whilst riding out for her uncle Chris Dwyer every Saturday and competing every Sunday in Affiliated Show-Jumping or British Eventing competitions. Jessica sadly lost her father to cancer in 2004 and feels that taking part in the Charity Race at York would make him proud, as well as supporting Macmillan in doing a ‘fantastic job.’ Jessica will be riding a horse from Chris Dwyer’s Yard.





Abigail Makin

25 year old Abigail has been a member of the pony club since age 7. She has competed in Area Level Eventing, and has found herself working in a County Durham Point to Point yard for the previous 2 years. She graduated with a BSc Psychology in 2009 and has begun her teacher training in secondary geography last September.

Abigail has closely been affected by cancer herself and has always wanted to ‘have a go on the flat’ so is looking to conquer a dream whilst raising money for Macmillan.




Polly Marr

Having begun riding aged 4, Polly now owns her own Shire-cross. She left horses behind aged 18 and pursued a dream career as an actress, living in London for 5 years and then went on to New York to study at film school. Polly now lives with her boyfriend in York and is the marketing director for her family business The Ice Co Ltd. Polly has taken part in raising money for numerous charities through sporting challenges and is inspired even more so to take part in the Charity Race for Macmillan Cancer Support. Her grandfather is fighting cancer as well as someone very close to her and this, she feels, is the perfect opportunity race for them, as well as fulfilling a ‘once in a lifetime experience.’ Polly will be riding one of Jacqueline and Cherry Coward’s horses in the Macmillan Charity Race.




Alison Royston

Alison currently works for Leeds United Football Club and has ridden horses since she was 3. She show jumped and evented her way through her teens and twenties and now rides on her ex racehorse, on whom she completed the St Patrick’s Day Derby at Cheltenham in March. Alison lost her mother-in-law to cancer and claims this has inspired her to apply for the charity race at Cheltenham. Following the support from her family and friends, Alison is keen to ride another Charity Race on home turf at her local track.






Kate Walton

58 year old Kate won the Ladies Amateur Derby in Ripon in 1977. She now rides out on a daily basis for Philip Kirkby and will be using one of his horses for the race. She is looking forward to raising lots of money for Macmillan Cancer Support.


Venetia Wrigley

Venetia is a keen rider, having ridden from the age of 5 in flat, national hunt and point to point races. Venetia is greatly involved in the Macmillan Charity raceday, whilst being in charge of the raceday lunch itself, and is taking the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong ambition this year. Venetia feels that ‘it is very important that the money is raised to ensure that the work of our Macmillan nurses is not curtailed.’ The support she offers is to guarantee that everyone battling cancer may benefit from the expertise of the wonderful nurses. Venetia will be riding a horse given by Richard Fahey in the Macmillan Charity Race.





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