Fanning waiting on wise advice as she prepares for York event on Saturday
As the wife of one of the most prolific winners in the business Sarah Fanning ought to have the advantage of better advice on race-riding than any of her rivals in Saturday's 'Ride of their Lives' charity race at York – but help has so far been in short supply.
"Joe says he will tell me all I need to know on Saturday morning, as I'll forget if he tells me too soon," replied Racing Welfare's regional manager for the north with a chuckle when asked how helpful her husband is being.
She will be as well prepared as she can be when she partners X Rated for her former boss on Saturday in an event backed by Best Western Hotels and run to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Whatever happens, Fanning is determined to improve upon her x-rated only previous effort in a charity race.
"I rode in one at Cheltenham a few years ago," she recalled, "and I came off turning for home. The horse fell too.
"I wanted to have another go one day, and I'm very grateful to Mark Johnston for the opportunity to ride X Rated. I've always wanted to ride at York after working there because it's one of the best racecourses in the country, but I think this will be it for me.
"I've been riding out at Mark's every morning before work and having regular sessions on the mechanical horse, so I've done lots of training."
Most of the riders in Saturday's race have a direct connection to racing, and many of their lives have been touched by cancer, hence the desire to raise funds.
Bertie Hayton, who rides last year's Leger Legends winner Off Art for Tim Easterby is typical.
She said: "I've grown up around horses and I ride and train my own point-to-pointer, Over And Above. I'm local to York and I ride out for Tim Easterby and David O'Meara.
"I'm riding in memory of my grandma, who lost her life to cancer. Macmillan helped the family out at the time and I wanted to do something for the community and give something back."
Others riding include Issy Budge – once with the Racing Post and now sponsorship manager for Newbury – who is a granddaughter of former leading owner Tony Budge, and Jill Boak, daughter of the former seven-time cock of the north Mark Birch, who died of lung cancer in 2016.
Boak set herself the ambitious target of £13,390, or £10 for every winner her father rode. She has already raised well over £8,000 but would welcome more support.
As indeed would all of the riders, whose JustGiving addresses are below.
Annabel England www.justgiving.com/belsengland
Bertie Hayton www.justgiving.com/bertie-
Chris Brownless www.justgiving.com/chris-
Chris Hughes www.justgiving.com/
Helen Hinton www.justgiving.com/helen-
Isabella Budge www.justgiving.com/isabella-
Jeremy Corkell www.justgiving.com/jeremy-
Jill Boak www.justgiving.com/jill-boak
Karen Thompson www.justgiving.com/Karen-
Sarah Fanning www.justgiving.com/sarah-
Scarlett Ward www.justgiving.com/