Stable boy to 1949 Epsom Derby winner given surprise Newmarket presentation, 73 years on

A former stable boy has received a surprise trophy presentation - 73 years after he helped saddle the 1949 winner of the Derby.

Johnny Tolton, who is 99 and lives near Newmarket in Cambridgeshire, looked after stallion racehorse Nimbus who won the big race at Epsom decades ago.

On the day, Mr Tolton had the honour of taking Nimbus to the winners' enclosure but had not been presented with any tangible memento for his role in the victory.

However, at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket on Thursday, his contribution was finally recognised with a special ceremony that was organised with the help of his granddaughters Melanie and Allie.

The former groom was presented with a trophy and two cut-glass tumblers to give him something to remember the day by.

Nimbus won the Derby in 1949. Credit: PA

"Unbelievable. I didn't know what to expect. And one of my grandaughters got riled because no-one was telling what was going on," he told ITV News Anglia.

"It was such a surprise."

Mr Tolton is due to turn 100 in September, and credits his longevity to his tipple of choice - a cocktail of whisky and Baileys.

He is now planning to put his new glasses to good use, and granddaughter Melanie said it was great to see him smiling after a tough few years.

"Every family with Covid has gone through bad times. We lost nanny, and it was like granddad lost his right arm," she said.

"It's great that granddad can have his time and enjoy it. He's a couple of months from 100 so he deserves everything."

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