Horses and horseracing were a lifelong love of Queen Elizabeth II, and with that came a long association with Newmarket.

The Queen started riding at the age of three when she took a lesson at a private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews in January 1930.

Later in life, she owned a succession of horses and won every Classic except the Derby.

If one of her horses was running, the Queen would watch and become more and more animated.

She was known to sometimes jump up and down in excitement as the race progressed.

When her horse was first to cross the line, she was ecstatic.

Her first winner as monarch came at Newmarket, when Choir Boy, trained by Cecil Boyd-Rochfort and ridden by Harry Carr, won the Wilburton Handicap on May 13, 1952.

She went on to win both the 1000 Guineas and the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Twenty-to-one longshot Pall Mall won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 1958 and the Queen recorded another Classic success in 1974 when Highclere, ridden by Joe Mercer for Dick Hern, just held off Polygamy by a short head in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

After these high points, her long association with the west Suffolk town continued.

Estimate, the horse who memorably brought joy to the Queen as she won the Queen the Gold Cup in 2013, was trained in Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute.

This was the first time in the race’s 207-year history that it had been won by a reigning monarch.

Such was her significance to the sport and her lifetime commitment to racing, the Queen was recognised in October 2021, when she became the first entry into the Qipco British Champions Series Racing Hall of Fame under the ‘Special Contributor’ category.

Her racing manager, John Warren, spoke of the Queen’s “inner pride” at the invitation while adding her “fascination is unwavering and her pleasure derives from all of her horses – always accepting the outcome of their ability so gracefully”.

Queen Elizabeth's last visit to the town came in 2016 when she visited to open the National Horseracing Museum and unveiled a statute of herself with a mare and foal in Birdcage Walk.

Crowds turned out for the visit and waved flags as she proceeded in her Bentley down the High Street.

Eight-year-old Thomas Cotton, from Great Whelnetham, near Bury St Edmunds, who underwent brain surgery in 2012 after he was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy presented the Queen with a posy.

Crowds laid floral tributes at the statue in Birdcage Walk on Thursday night after news of the Queen's death spread.

Frankie Dettori, who rode over 50 winners for the Queen, said: "Though I am an Italian, I’ve lived in Newmarket for over 35 years – I’m part of the furniture – and always felt a huge sense of responsibility and pride riding for Her Majesty.

“Whenever you rode a winner for her, you could almost burst with pride. It was emotional at times.

“She had such a passion about racing and I was lucky enough to have so many conversations with her about the sport that we both loved.

“Her knowledge was vast and you could see the pleasure she got from talking about horses. I treasure the conversations I was very fortunate enough to have with her.

“She knew the form and could list generations of pedigrees without any reference to the studbook, and she knew the personalities and traits of every horse.

“Racing has lost its greatest friend. She was such a massive supporter of the sport, but more than that, the country’s loss will be immeasurable. It is a very sad day for everybody.

“Her Majesty served the country with such incredible dedication. She was a truly remarkable lady and I feel very privileged to have been in the company of such an amazing person.”

The Queen was also the patron of The Jockey Club.

Amy Starkey, the managing director of The Jockey Club's East Region, said: "The Queen’s love of the thoroughbred was one which spanned the length of her amazing life, and a profound and personal sense of loss is felt across the home of horseracing today.

"As an owner, she won both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas and visited here happily on many occasions, most recently in 2016. As the home of The Jockey Club, our teams here are reflecting upon all that our Patron contributed to British racing and breeding, and across Newmarket, many will be contemplating and paying their respects to a life which was defined by service, dedication and a love of the horse.”