A Northamptonshire jockey who has never competed professionally will tear around an iconic racetrack next month as part of a charity raceday that is over half a century old.
Lucy Horan, 26, was declared fit to participate in a prestigious charity horse race after passing a gruelling day of fitness trials up north this week.
The bloodstock insurance broker from Woodford Halse is among ten amateur riders who were put through their paces in York as experts assessed whether they would be safe to ride in the Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ charity race on Saturday, June 11.
The Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ takes place at York Racecourse and is considered the most successful charity horse race in the UK, having raised more than £1.2 million for people living with cancer in the 10 years since it began.
This year’s cohort of riders endured months of jockey training, riding out in all weathers and learning how to handle racehorses before they faced a final fitness challenge to determine whether they were fit to race thoroughbred racehorses.
Their assessment took place at jockey rehabilitation and fitness centre Jack Berry House, in Malton, where fitness tests included push ups, squats, muscle endurance, prone holds and quad bike exercises.
10 riders successfully passed the test and will compete before a crowd of around 25,000 people when they race in the final fixture of York Racecourse’s 51st annual Macmillan Charity Raceday.
Lucy felt her fitness test went better than expected and is looking forward to fulfilling a lifelong ambition of competing in a race.
She said: “I’ve been riding horses my whole life but have never ridden in a race before, so I’ll be living out a lifelong ambition when raceday comes.
“The ‘Ride of Their Lives’ challenge has been hard because it’s not easy to fit in fundraising and training with a busy job. This aspect of it has been much harder than I anticipated and although the fundraising hasn’t been easy, there’s been so much goodwill for Macmillan and people have been incredibly generous.
“It’s been great to meet the other amateur jockeys, who come from all over the country, from many different walks of life and with diverse motivations for raising money for Macmillan.
“I’m super excited. I know the lead-up and the day itself will whizz by, but I’m determined to take time to stop and breathe it all in.”
The group of riders have in six months collectively raised over £55,000 and counting for Macmillan Cancer Support, having committed to raise at least £4,000 each for the charity.
Macmillan Fundraising Manager Megan Hayman Tansley added: “Since their selection for the Macmillan ‘Ride of Their Lives’ race last year, the commitment of our amateur riders has been plain to see.
“Not only have they thrown themselves into training and developing as jockeys, but they have committed to raising vital funds for Macmillan and we couldn’t be more grateful.
“Covid-19 restrictions may have faded into the past, but the stress of living with cancer has not. Many people still feel anxious about catching the virus with a weakened immune system, while the rising cost of living means more people are struggling to cover the additional costs of cancer.”