Vet Sara Fleck is to “ride the dream” when she joins 11 other amateurs competing in a flat race in front of 27,000 avid race fans at York’s historic Knavesmire racecourse.

Sara Fleck in training for her race Image: Mick Atkins.

It’s a debut amateur race for Miss Fleck “if you don’t count Pony Club events”, who is raising cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Miss Fleck, 28, a vet at the Yorkshire Equine Practice in Angram near York, admits she’s nervous at the thought of riding her horse Celtic Artisan with the other riders at speeds of up to 40mph around the nine furlongs (1.12mile) circuit.

The pressure to stay on board the four-year-old chestnut gelding is even greater as the event will be televised live to thousands more armchair race fans.

She said: “I’d be fibbing if I said I wasn’t extremely nervous, but I’ve been training hard on Celtic Artisan. He’s a real gentleman so I’m sure he’ll keep me safe.”

Miss Fleck has raised more than £4,500 towards her target of £5,000 for Macmillan. She’s hoping the 12 riders will raise £100,000 between them.

Miss Fleck, was motivated to compete after losing a cousin to cancer two years ago. She added: “I have one thing in common with champion jockey AP McCoy – we’ll definitely both be retiring this year because just one race like this will be enough for me.”

The race is on June 13 as part of the Macmillan Charity Race Day at York. It is the biggest single fundraising event in the Macmillan calendar. Riders from last year’s race contributed more than £90,000 to a cumulative total that has raised more than £6m for such a worthy cause.

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