Luci Hughes takes the trophy for the Ernest Cooper Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ charity race at York
Watched by nearly 11,000 people, amateur rider Luci Hughes raced to victory on Midnite Bride, trained by Kevin Ryan, and raised more than £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Amateur rider, Luci from Stokesley (31) rode to victory to win the prestigious Ernest Cooper Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ charity race, viewed as one of the most successful charity races in the UK. She was one of 12 amateur jockeys who went head-to-head for Macmillan Cancer Support, in front of the crowds at York Racecourse on Friday (24 September 2021).
The group of fundraising first-timers – who included a veterinary assistant, a professional showjumper and an occasional stand-up comedian - have so far raised over £150,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. This is part of York Racecourse’s partnership with Macmillan which will see over £250,000 raised in 2021.
The twelve amateur riders were selected for the race back in December 2019 and were originally due to ride in June 2020, after a 15-month delay because of the pandemic the riders finally had their big moment - as part of a new race meeting for York Racecourse. The charity challenge sees members of the public completing months of intense jockey training before racing thoroughbred horses on York’s iconic course.
The (31-year-old) from Stokesley took top-spot on mount Midnite Bride in an exciting race, which saw Luci storm to victory, after the race she said:
“I feel absolutely amazing, I’m so delighted to win the race. Every rider has been amazing, and it’s been a pleasure to undertake the ‘Ride of Their Lives’ challenge with every one of them.
“It’s great to have the support from my family and friends here today, I just wish my grandad was here to see me win too.”
The full line-up of jockeys included Sean Quinn, Lois Teal, SJ Barker, Wendy Midgely, Natasha Nelson, Ria Ginley, Claire Shepherd, Kelsi Langley, Nicola Naughton, Luci Hughes, Thomas Drewry and Mark Tronco. The riders pledged to raise a minimum of £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, so far, they have collectively raised over £150,000. This will help Macmillan provide vital support to people living with cancer.
Clara White, is Macmillan’s Fundraising Manager for Yorkshire, she said:
“Everyone at Macmillan would like to extend our thanks and congratulate the amateur riders on raising £150,000, this phenomenal amount will make a massive difference to people living with cancer right here in Yorkshire.
“Our association with York Racecourse stretches back over 50 years and an incredible £9 million has been raised through this wonderful partnership. We are so appreciative of everyone’s hard work and generous support.
“Macmillan Cancer Support receives no government funding and relies almost entirely on donations – we simply couldn’t help the growing number of people who need us, without the support and generosity of the riders and everyone who has supported them in their fundraising.
“Every penny raised will go towards Macmillan’s Yorkshire Appeal, helping people living with cancer across the region, and it’s no exaggeration to say people with cancer have never needed the support more than they do right now.”
William Derby, Chief Executive at York Racecourse, said:
“The twelve incredible amateur riders were told of their place in the ‘Ride of Their Lives’ race back in December 2019, to have finally witnessed the culmination of all their hard work and fundraising efforts was fantastic.
“Congratulations to our winner Luci, and on behalf of York Racecourse I want to thank all of the amateur riders for their continued patience, hard-work and commitment to fundraising over what has been a difficult 18 months for everyone.
“We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, one stretching back 50 years, during which £9 million has been raised to support people living with cancer.”
The race, which took place on Friday (24 September), coincided with Macmillan’s flagship fundraising event Coffee Morning, which sees people come together to raise funds for people living with cancer. 
Racing fans can still support the riders by donating to their JustGiving pages here
Applications are now open for amateur riders wanting to take part in The Ernest Cooper Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ race in 2022. As well as for another challenge, the York Racecourse Macmillan ‘Jump of Their Lives’; for more information see here.