Tens of thousands turn out to welcome Olympic Torch to Chester

Jockey Jason Maguire after lighting the cauldron in Chester racecourse Photo: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire

Tens of thousands of people filled Chester Racecourse last night to welcome the Olympic flame to the city.

The 11th day of the Olympic torch relay came to an finished with a gala celebration at the racecourse.

For the final stretch the flame was carried by champion jockey Jason Maguire, who was riding Donald McCain Jr-trained horse Overturn.

Maguire was the winning rider at the 2011 Grand National on Ballabriggs, while his mount is a distinguished runner in both flat and steeplechase races.

Speaking after he passed the flame from the torch into a cauldron on stage in front of a large crowd of spectators, Maguire said carrying the Olympic flame had been "a brilliant feeling".

He said: "It was a great turnout from the crowd who came here and it was just an honour to do it.

"Overturn has done great tonight, he didn't let the crowd get to him too much and he's done a great job.

"The worry was that he might get a bit excited with the crowd and the torch but he has taken it all in his stride."

Jason Maguire riding Overturn as he carried the torch into Chester Racecourse Credit: Joe Giddens / PA Wire

Cheshire West and Chester Council said "tens of thousands" of people had turned out to see the torch as it made its way through the city.

Councillor Stuart Parker, the council's executive member for culture, said: "This is a day that Chester will never forget.

"It seems as though the whole of the North West is here celebrating with us."

Merseyside gymnast Beth Tweddle helped carry the flame between Saltney and Chester Credit: Chris Radburn / PA Wire