Ex-jockey gets back in the saddle to ride a winner

Chris Brownless on board Apterix.
Chris Brownless on board Apterix.

A former jockey got back in the saddle for charity at York Racecourse on Saturday and came away as a joint winner.

Chris Brownless, 64, from Wooler, took part in the raceday for Macmillan Cancer Support and other good causes, which raised more than £470,000.

The finale was the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of Their Lives, featuring 12 brave amateur riders. which raised £110,000.

The judge called a dead heat between X Rated and Apterix so Chris and Sarah Fanning, from Middleham, shared the victory.

Chris, the oldest rider in the field on Apterix, said: “Having lost my younger brother, Malcolm, to cancer in 2015 at the age of 57, I would like to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile charity. It is very poignant that the raceday was Malcolm’s birthday. He would have been 60.”

Chris, who only joined the group in April as a late substitute after an injury to another rider, has so far raised more than £7,600 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

He has had a taste of riding at York before having raced, and won, on the course in the 1970s when he was a jockey. He has worked in the racing industry since, and is due to retire in August when he turns 65.

The riders raced thoroughbred horses over nine furlongs of the Knavesmire, in front of thousands of spectators.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a success. At Macmillan, we rely on donations to fund our services and help people living with cancer life live as fully as they can, so we’re hugely grateful to everyone that has been involved.”