Anyone still think the Olympics won't catch on… Huge crowds turn out to watch Zara Phillips clutching flame at Cheltenham
23:26 GMT, 23 May 2012
She is better known as a former world equestrian champion but Zara Phillips rode past one of Britain's most famous national hunt racing finishing posts on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old royal rode the entire length of the finishing straight at Cheltenham.
Miss Phillips was reunited with Toytown – the horse she retired last year after winning the 2006 Eventing World Championships – marking the end of day five of the Olympic torch relay.
Olympic honour: Wearing the white and grey torchbearers' uniform, the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips took part in the fifth day of the torch relay on her beloved horse Toytown
What a sight: Huge crowds greeted Zara Phillips at Cheltenham
More than 16,500 people, including her mother the Princess Royal, were at the racecourse to see Miss Phillips trot past the finishing post to the theme from Chariots of Fire carrying the Olympic flame.
After dismounting from Toytown she stepped on to the stage and performed the duty reserved for the last torchbearer of each day – lighting the Olympic cauldron.
From the stage, Miss Phillips, who is married to former England rugby captain Mike Tindall, told the screaming audience: 'It was unbelievable actually, I'm shaking. It was an unbelievable experience and I am massively honoured for doing it.'
Good reason to be smiling: Phillips on Toytown
Phillips praised Toytown but said he was a little nervous at first of the noise of the gas-fired torch.
'He's awesome, he done us proud,' she said. 'He loves crowds, he was just a little bit… it makes a noise, so he was worried about that.
'It's unreal the amount of people that are here. Such a massive honour.'
She said that the torch was quite heavy and her biceps were aching at the end. 'It's not too heavy when you pick it up but if you're carrying it for a little while you can feel a little burn,' she said.
Another day to remember: The torch relay is already proving to be very popular
The Queen's granddaughter, whose mother received the Olympic flame in Greece last week, is a regular attendee at the four-day Cheltenham Festival, which has long received royal patronage.
Unusually the public were allowed on to the famous Cheltenham turf to watch the evening celebration.
The event marked the end of day five in which 129 people – including footballer Didier Drogba – were torchbearers. Thousands of screaming fans mobbed the 34-year-old striker, who has announced he is quitting Chelsea, as he carried the Olympic Flame through Swindon.
The town's bustling shopping district was turned into a sea of blue, red and white from the hundreds of Union flags, balloons and football shirts.
Man of the moment: Didier Drogba carrying the Olympic Flame on Wednesday
Also taking part in the relay was Drogba's midfield team mate Josh McEachran, 19, who ran in Calne, and two Olympic gold medallists from the 1968 Mexico City Games.
David Hemery, 67, who broke a world record when he won gold in the 400 metre hurdles, carried the torch through Royal Wootton Bassett.
Jane Holderness Roddam, 64, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, joined the relay in Shurdington, near Cheltenham. The event rider won team gold for Great Britain in Mexico City.
The 2010 World's Toughest Firefighter, Suzanne Enghed, 33, who serves with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue, ran her leg in Cheltenham.
The oldest torchbearer of the day was Mary Wixey, 91, a former games mistress who took part in Cheltenham.
Proud: Former Olympic champion David Hemery (left) and 16-year-old wheelchair basketball player Ben Fox (right) carry the torch on a hot day in the south west of England
All those with their moment in the spotlight had to brave the sweltering temperatures as the mercury reached 25C across Bristol, west Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
The fifth day started with a mishap when the Olympic torch convoy missed a turning in north Somerset – causing a 10-minute delay to the relay.
Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge was lit up with an impressive display of fireworks as Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Rebecca Pantaney stepped on to the Grade I-listed structure.
A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame on its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 27.