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Newmarket's Rowley Mile racecourse sees thousands turn out for race day during Festival of Suffolk

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Thousands of people have attended a special race day which is part of the Festival of Suffolk celebrations to mark the Queen's Jubilee.

More than 5,000 turned up to see Suffolk Punch horses, a Hurricane fighter plane, the Jubilee torch handover and several horse races earlier today.

Before racing started former jockey Bob Champion was given the honour of carrying a relay torch into the winner’s enclosure at the Rowley Mile as part of the Festival Of Suffolk celebrations to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Bob Champion carried the torch as it arrived at Rowley Mile.
Bob Champion carried the torch as it arrived at Rowley Mile.

The relay, which started yesterday, will cover 588 miles across the county stopping off at more than 250 communities along the way before finishing at the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park, near Ipswich on June 1.

On arrival at the racecourse, 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.

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.

Thousands of spectators turned out for the event.
Thousands of spectators turned out for the event.

“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.

Sophie Able, General Manager of Newmarket Racecourses said: “We’re delighted to be hosting The Festival of Suffolk Raceday and to see the sun come out for a fantastic celebration of the county. We’ve been treated to some great racing - a fitting way to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee given she is such a passionate owner and breeder of racehorses.

"After such a long time without spectators to have so many people from across the county join us gives things a real festival feel and we have had a brilliant day.

The Festival of Suffolk is raising money for Suffolk Community Foundation which works to support local communities.

Tim Holder, Head of Public Affairs at Suffolk Community Foundation added:

“Suffolk is so fortunate to have one of the world’s most iconic venues as part of our county and today was deliberately picked to invite families that have never been to Newmarket before to come and enjoy their first day of racing. From the iconic Suffolk Punch horses to historic aircraft and brass bands, there is lots to do for all ages and some really fantastic racing as we begin a wonderful summer of celebration.”