In The Sport of Kings, The Queen Always Came Out a Winner
-A Royal Appreciation-
Although she never won the Epsom Derby, considered the grandest prize in Flat racing, Queen Elizabeth will forever be remembered as one of the greatest horsewomen and owners to grace the legendary sport of kings and queens.
Like millions of us, (and like her own mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, the late Queen Mother, who died in 2002, leaving considerable racing debits) Her Majesty undoubtedly “loved a flutter”.
And as the owner-winner of more than 1,800 victories in a long and illustrious racing career stretching, as her reign, over 70-years, she must have pocketed millions – all, most certainly, one imagines, returned for the welfare, ongoing training, breeding and retirement of her beloved horses.
The mother and grandmother of Olympic equestrians Princess Anne and Zara Phillips, the Queen was given her first horse, a Shetland pony called Peggy, as a fourth-birthday present from her grandfather George V.
And she carried on riding horses even in her 95th year.
“Her passion is her horses and you can see that in the way she is around them. She smiles and enjoys every minute of it when she watches them,” said one of the royal trainers in a recent interview.
“All other relationships are complicated because she was the Queen,” explained Brough Scott, a well known Broadcaster and Racing Journalist.
“One has to follow all sorts of rules of etiquette in her company, so it must have been very hard for her to be natural around all that.
“She appeared to be at her most natural around horses and around the people with those horses.”
Perhaps the late queen’s greatest horse racing victory was winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with Estimate in 2013. Hers was the first royal winner in over 200-years.
And a statue of the great thoroughbred, that now takes pride of prominence at the Royal Studs and estate of Sandringham in Norfolk, was commissioned to mark the event.
Five-time British Champion jockey Willy Carson spoke of what it meant to ride in the royal purple, gold and scarlet.
The Most Famous Woman in The World
“The Queen is the most famous woman in the whole wide world,” he once said. “When you put the royal colours on, a jockey grows six inches.”
Last year the Queen was inducted into the British Champions Series Hall of Fame in recognition of her success as a breeder and an owner.
She was twice champion flat racing owner in Great Britain, in 1954 and 1957, and won four of the five British Classic races at least once.
Only the Derby eluded her; the closest being in 1953, soon after her coronation, when her horse Aureole came second in a famous race won by Pinza, ridden by Sir Gordon Richards.
Concluded John Warren, the Queen’s longest-serving Racing Manager: “I’m sure if the Her Majesty had not been bred into being a monarch she would have found a vocation with horses. It was just simply in her DNA.”
“I was deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty The Queen,” said Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the gambling industry’s representative Betting and Gaming Council,
“Her remarkable life and dedication to service are unlikely to be seen again. Her Majesty was passionate about horse racing, which gave her great joy and was shared with everyone around her.
“She will be sorely missed.”