How horse racing was Queen Elizabeth II’s enduring passion

It was a rare moment when her public front slipped, as the then 87-year-old — with all the enthusiasm of a young girl — watched from the Royal Box and pushed her mare into the winning line.

It was an extraordinary moment that will live long in the memory of many observers, as it offered a human side that rarely appears amid all the grandeur and protocol.

Racing allowed the Queen to let her guard down in public for a few moments and blend in with the racing crowd as a mere racing fan. However, as sports people know, he was far from a fan.

Horses were in the Queen’s life from a very young age.

He was just 16 when he visited a racing stable. His father, George VI, went with him to watch the two leading horses in the race: Big Game and Sun Chariot.

“He saw him do a few laps before some big races that were close,” journalist and author Julian Muscat told CNN in 2018.

“Then he patted them on the head and loved the touch and silkiness of the coats.

“The story goes that he didn’t wash his hands all day.”

His love for horses did not diminish.

His success in breeding local ponies, his horse charity work or, above all, his long and successful relationship with the thoroughbred horse.

And while Estimate may have given the Queen her best win as an owner, she was very successful with several winners to her name since her coronation in 1953.

He was crowned champion of British racing in 1954 and 1957 and – with victories in the St Leger Stakes, Epsom Oaks, 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas – the only one of the five British Classic Races he missed was the Epsom Derby.

Of all his successful horses, most were homebred.

It is a side of the sport that he was particularly interested in and it is said that he took joy in seeing the horse as a colt, then grown up and raced.

He paid visits to the Royal Stud at Sandringham in Norfolk and, once the horses finished racing, they were left in his care in retirement. His first public appearance after the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 was, of course, a ride around Windsor Castle on one of his ponies.

The racing world was quick to react after news of his death.

Frankie Dettori said it was the “honour of a lifetime” to ride for the Queen so many times.

“As a man, it was an even greater honor to meet such a remarkable person,” he added. Twitter.

“I will forever be grateful for the time, kindness and humor Your Majesty has so warmly bestowed upon me. Thank you, madam.”

The Queen had a love for horses.

It’s a common sight to see trainers and owners debriefing jockeys before races, discussing tactics and options, and the Queen was no different.

If he had a horse running in his colors at Royal Ascot, there’s no doubt he’d be down in the parade ring, talking to the trainer and jockey, studying the other runners in the race.

His knowledge of racing was said to be encyclopedic and he was the unofficial figurehead of British racing.

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Such was his importance to the sport that race meetings were canceled in the UK as soon as his death was announced.

Many of the foreign horses that come to Royal Ascot from the United States, Hong Kong and Australia do not come for the prize money, which is behind almost every other race, but for the prestige, many of them. Associated with the Queen.

She missed the festival this year for the first time since being crowned as she continued to have mobility issues.

“Sitting with the Queen is a memory I will never forget for the rest of my life,” American trainer Wesley Ward told Royal Ascot in 2016.

“We had a wonderful talk about the horses and he was very interested in talking to me, as far as my horses shoot to the front and I’ve been lucky enough to win a couple like that. And he was asking me about my tactics and how I train them to do that.

“So I kind of looked at him and said, ‘Well, when you go to the front, you’ve got to get caught.’ And he said, “That’s what I tell my coaches.” It was like sitting down and talking to someone who’s in racing. You have to somehow break your head and realize that you are talking to the Queen of England. .”

His interest in horse racing was passed down through the generations, and although it has never been stronger than during the Queen’s reign, hopes are high that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who have raced at Royal Ascot in recent years, will continue with the King. the tradition