Festival of Suffolk torch arrives at home of horse racing

Crowds flocked to Newmarket Races on Saturday for the first major event of the Festival of Suffolk

Crowds flocked to the first major event of the Festival of Suffolk on Saturday - Credit: The Jockey Club

The Festival of Suffolk torch arrived at Newmarket Races on Saturday as it continued its 588-mile journey around the county to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. 

Former jockey Bob Champion was given the honour of carrying the torch into the winner's enclosure at the Rowley Mile before racing started at the famous course's family event. 

Former jockey Bob Champion has been made a CBE

Former jockey Bob Champion carried the Festival of Suffolk torch into the winner's enclosure - Credit: Bob Champion

The torch relay, which started on Friday, will stop off at more than 250 towns and villages along the way before finishing at the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park, Ipswich, on June 1

On arrival at the racecourse Mr Champion, who steered Aldaniti to a famous victory in the 1981 Grand National at Aintree, was greeted in the winner’s enclosure by classic-winning rider James Doyle. 

A Suffolk Punch is introduced to race-goers at Newmarket

A Suffolk Punch is introduced to race-goers at Newmarket - Credit: The Jockey Club

Mr Champion said: “It is a great honour to be part of this. I was only asked a few days ago. It is a great thing for Suffolk to do this as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

The first major event of the Festival of Suffolk was held in Newmarket on Saturday

The first major event of the Festival of Suffolk was held at Newmarket - Credit: The Jockey Club

“Suffolk for The Queen is a fantastic place, especially this area as she loves her racing and she likes having her horses trained here and she has Sandringham just up the road in Norfolk, where she has got her stud which has been very successful over the years. 

“Racing has been part of my life for a long time and it is fantastic to do the torch relay leg here. It is great for the county and everything about it is really good. 

“This is great for racing to be part of it and Her Majesty we know loves her racing and anything to do with racing she adores.”