A man who sponsored a horse race to propose to his fiancée by calling it the “Will You Marry Me Jodie Baker Stakes” was relieved to get a yes to his proposal.

Andy Simpson, 34, sponsored the race at Southwell racecourse, near Newark in Nottinghamshire, on 18 May, paying £4,000 for the privilege of naming the race. He then proposed to NHS optical technician Jodie in the parade ring and got in instant yes.

Clerk of the course, Roderick Duncan said when he first spoke to Andy he told him he thought the whole thing sounded risky.

He said: “The lad’s good at keeping a secret, I’ll say that for him. I was talking to him for months about this. When he first called me I was a bit stunned. I thought he was taking a big risk. But we were happy to accommodate him.

“On the day she didn’t twig the name of the race until she got in the parade ring and he got down on one knee. I guess you could describe her reaction as shocked.”

Andy, an artificial grass salesman, said: “Jodie loves horses and used to have one but I thought it would be the ideal place to propose. We never backed a winner all day but we ended up lucky in love. You can’t have everything and having Jodie say yes was the best result of the day.”

Jodie added: “When I went into the paddock I was still totally unaware of what was happening. Then when the race name came over the tannoy and Andy dropped down on one knee I couldn’t believe it.”

Clerk of the course Roderick said when Andy called and asked about the price of sponsoring a race, he didn’t baulk at the price.

He said: “I just told him the cost of sponsoring a race and he didn’t quibble, bless him.”

The race was won comfortably by 9-4 favourite Koo and the Gang.