Building on 48 years of popularity with racing fans and with over £7.5 million already raised for good causes, Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse this Saturday (16 June) promises to be an afternoon of quality racing that again helps those in most need.
Saturday’s principal race is The Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint, run in memory of the inspirational shoe retailer, Cathy Paver, who died last year. One of Britain’s richest sprint handicaps for three-year-olds, it offers prize money of £100,000. The roll of honour in this race over six furlongs includes top sprinters such as Cadeaux Genereux, Sheikh Albadou and more recently, Twilight Sun.
Still a relative new aspect of the event, the day will end with Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives, a chance for a dozen supporters to participate in a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire. Each has pledged at least £3,000 to the charity and you can help them beat last year’s contribution of over £150,000 by visiting their donation pages on Just Giving.
The charity auction so generously supported over the years is now available to view online in advance of the raceday. This means everyone can place a bid for the many stunning lots. One of the more unusual lots this year comes courtesy of comedian Russ Noble who has offered two tickets to any of his UK tour dates with the chance to meet him. Visit www.macmillanyorkraceday.co.uk for more information on how to make your bid.
Since 2012, a Listed race has featured on the Saturday racing programme supported alongside the Charity Race by York-based, Best Western Hotels. This year the Sky Bet Grand Cup over fourteen furlongs takes that slot with the Mr Green’s Ganton Stakes run over a mile, moving to the Friday card. Both offer prize money of £50,000 and so provide another reason to attend the meeting, just by attending on Saturday, racegoers will increase the money raised for charity.
Racing on Saturday begins at 1.50pm, with the 30th 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 as well as by ITV Racing presenter, Francesca Cumani in 2006. It offers an opportunity for the successful rider to toast her success in her own weight of G.H. Mumm champagne.
Known as a world leader in construction technology, JCB, support a valuable handicap over seven furlongs. The high standard continues on this Charity Raceday with The Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes - a contest for two-year-olds named in honour of the founder of this Charity Day in 1971. The Ice Co° back a competitive handicap for the sixth year that denotes their support of Macmillan, a link that was cemented when company director, Polly Marr, rode in the Ride of Their Lives Race of 2013.
Macmillan Charity Day is part of a two-day meeting with racing on the Friday beginning with one of twenty-two contests at York to benefit from the backing of the European Breeders’ Fund in conjunction with Jigsaw Sports Branding. The Newmarket based organisation also support a valuable contest that forms part of their progressive fillies series, with £30,000 on offer for this handicap over six furlongs.
The switch of the Listed Ganton Stakes, backed by online casino and gaming brand, Mr Green, means that the York policy of every card on the Knavesmire being worth six figures is cemented, on this occasion, some £160,000, is the cumulative prize money sum.
With an on course presence on every Friday at York, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing sponsor a valuable handicap contest over the seven furlong trip. The SKF Rous Selling Stakes has now been supported for more than a dozen years by engineering company, SKF (UK) Ltd. Then Goffs UK will bring the excitement of the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure with an auction straight after the race. Apprentices get their chance in the finale, backed by Coopers Marquees.
On a card full of variety both on and off the track, Mr Green are offering racegoers the chance for a complimentary shave, shoe shine or proper shirt fitting, as part of their fun Gentleman’s Corner activity.
The ‘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.
As part of a series of initiatives to get closer to the sport, groups of racegoers will be able to enjoy accompanied, complimentary trips to the round course starts. On Saturday, they will also have the chance to meet a retired racehorse, Harry, courtesy of equine charity, New Beginnings.
The wider sporting tastes of the weekend will be catered for a dedicated giant screen showing the FIFA World Cup matches that coincide with the raceday.
True to York’s reputation, a bottle of champagne will be available from £33. Other tastes are catered for with an extended range of craft beers brewed by Ainsty Ales just beyond the six furlong start, the introduction of premium mixers from Fever-Tree to join the premium spirits served on the smart Moët Ice Roof Terrace, or the easy availability of Heineken 0.0 as a refreshing, zero alcohol option.
Musical accompaniment to the action will take the form of three different bands; Dr Thirsty performing with their upbeat fun in the Knavesmire Courtyard, whilst the equally upbeat Superlicks will draw proceedings will be brought to a close on Saturday. On both afternoons, Dr Jazz will entertain the crowds.