The Queen’s active passion: horse racing meant so much to Her Majesty

The Queen

A reign that lasted an incredible 70 years ended on Thursday, but British horse racing has to much to be grateful for as we reflect on The Queen’s passing this week.

Her Majesty would often be seen at high profile sporting events across the country, but her true love without question was embodied in the equine form, through horse racing.

The Queen had been involved in the sport that we all cherish since 1949, and she must have got that winning bug when watching her beloved Monaveen win over fences at Fontwell, a horse that was owned jointly with her mother.

Heavily involved in the bloodstock side of the industry with a very hands on approach, Her Majesty tasted her first big success when Monaveen won the 1949 Queen Elizabeth Chase at Hurst Park.

Her excitement was so evident when watching newsreel footage of the 1953 Derby, where her star colt Aureole finished second just four days after the Coronation. The horse that beat her was Pinza who was given a sublime ride by Sir Gordon Richards.

The Royal Family were heavily invested in the Sport of Kings. King Charles II was responsible for launching Newmarket as a training centre, Queen Anne was heavily involved in getting Ascot Racecourse up and running, and her father King George VI was a hugely successful owner on the Flat.

Although she had good success over jumps in the early days, it was on the Flat where The Queen would make her mark. Aureole went on to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and went on to win to Coronation Cup in 1954.

The Queen’s first Classic win came courtesy of Carozza in the Oaks in 1957. That horse was ridden by the remarkable Lestor Piggott, who gave her an incredible ride on the day.

In 1958, Pall Mall ran out victorious in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket for Her Majesty, and after that she had a quiet enough spell for the bones of 15 years.

Other famous winners for The Queen over the years were Highlere (won the 1000 Guineas and Prix de Diane in 1974), Dunfermline (won the Oaks and St. Leger in 1977), and more recently Estimate (won the Queen’s Vase, Sagaro Stakes, Ascot Gold Cup & Doncaster Cup between 2012 and 2014).

The Derby alluded The Queen sadly which is an awful shame, but there is no doubting how much of a thrill she gained from horse racing. Her Majesty got as much of a thrill out of watching one of her horses win as we do having a winner. She will be sorely missed but we will always be forever grateful for what she has contributed to our sport.

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