A Suffolk MP has been named Sports Parliamentarian of the Year in recognition of his work to promote horse racing and its role in the community.

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Matthew Hancock, West Suffolk MP, who recently shed two stones in ten weeks and learnt how to ride a racehorse to take part in and win a charity race, was handed the award in the House of Commons.

A spokeswoman for the Sports and Recreation Alliance, who organised the event, said the 33-year-old was selected due to his “well-earned reputation as a friend to racing.”

In August this year Mr Hancock battled against celebrity riders including actor Nathaniel Parker in the one-mile Blue Square Cavalry Charge, held as part of the Horsemen and Heroes charity day at Newmarket.

The event celebrates the link between the horse-racing industry and the Household Cavalry, and raises funds for the charities Racing Welfare and the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.

Mr Hancock, secured a notable win on Dick Doughtywylie, despite never having ridden in a race before. In preparation for the event, The MP learned the craft of race-riding at the British Racing School before fine-tuning on the gallops with Newmarket trainers Michael Bell and John Gosden.

Mr Hancock, who coordinated an all-night sit-in to ensure that his Private Members Bill on remote gambling received a slot in parliament, has argued racing’s case in seven separate parliamentary debates on the sport’s funding.

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