Please note the applications for the Earnest Cooper Macmillan Ride of their Lives are now CLOSED. If you missed the deadline, you still have time to enter the Jump of their Lives!

The countdown to the biggest charity raceday in the country began again on Sunday 8th September, when entries opened to become one of the twelve amateur riders taking on the Ernest Cooper and Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’, at the iconic York Racecourse. All while raising vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the popular amateur race is the grand finale to York’s Macmillan Charity Raceday. As part of the fundraising challenge, successful applicants will have the opportunity to race thoroughbred horses around the famous Knavesmire course, in front of 20,000 cheering spectators, and will be trained by a former jockey. All riders 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, explained 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 can 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. While £204 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for a day, who can help patients and their families find their best way through by providing essential medical, practical and emotional support.”

The class of 2019 Ride of Their Lives – who included 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 took first prize. Charlotte said:

“Taking part in the Macmillan Ride of Their Lives had been a life-changing journey, it has 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 the groom that I realised I had actually won!

“Everyone has worked so 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:

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

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. 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of Macmillan Charity Raceday. Since its launch in 1971, over £9 million has been raised for Macmillan and other charitable causes.

NEW for this year, to mark the 50th year of Macmillan Charity Raceday we are also launching a charity tandem skydive raising funds in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. 


To apply to take part in the York Racecourse Jump of Their Lives or for further information, please

click here.


2021 Season at a glance

  • Dante Festival | Wed 12 - Fri 14 May
  • First Saturday | Sat 22 May
  • June Meeting | Fri 11 - Sat 12 June
  • Summer Saturday | Sat 26 June
  • John Smith's Cup Meeting | Fri 9 - Sat 10 July
  • Music Showcase Weekend | Fri 23 - Sat 24 July
  • Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival | Wed 18 - Sat 21 August
  • September Sunday | Sun 5 September
  • October Finale | Fri 8 - Sat 9 October