Reach For The Moon could yet be a royal representative at Cheltenham

One-time Derby hope Reach For The Moon could yet have a starring role for the royal family after being entered for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old had been viewed as a potential Classic contender for the late Queen in 2022 after winning the Group Three Solario Stakes as a juvenile, but an injury dashed those hopes and the son of Sea The Stars struggled to regain his form.

Out of luck in five subsequent starts, Reach For The Moon was last seen when beating just three horses in last year’s Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, on what transpired to be his final start for John and Thady Gosden.

Now with Jamie Snowden, Reach For The Moon has yet to jump a hurdle in public, but his trainer feels his Flat rating of 105 merits at least having the Festival option, should things fall into place ahead of the March 12 feature.

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Queen Elizabeth II with Reach For The Moon at Royal Ascot in 2021
Queen Elizabeth II with Reach For The Moon at Royal Ascot in 2021 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Snowden said: “He was obviously a very good horse for John and Thady Gosden and he was a leading contender at one stage for the 2022 Derby.

“He had a few little issues on the Flat hence the reason why he has ended up jumping with us as opposed to doing anything else.

“With a horse that has that kind of rating on the Flat, we have to give him an entry in the Supreme, but we will see how he takes to everything over the next month to six weeks.

“Racing is steeped in the tradition of the royal family. The Queen Mother loved it, and the late Queen was a big supporter of the sport.

“It is wonderful that the King and the Queen are supporting racing as much as ever before.

Desert Hero was a winner for the King and Queen at Royal Ascot last year
Desert Hero was a winner for the King and Queen at Royal Ascot last year (David Davies/PA)

“They have got a nice team on the Flat, and it was great to see them have a Royal Ascot winner last year in Desert Hero, who won the King George V Stakes.

“We have got some nice horses for them and hopefully Reach For The Moon can fly the flag high. We are lucky to have a horse of his talent and hopefully we can do him justice.”

Snowden has been satisfied with Reach For The Moon’s recent progress but has yet to decide on a starting point over obstacles for the gelding, who is owned by the Queen and former Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick.

Snowden added: “He is a very talented individual and has taken well to his jumping. He did a lot of jumping when he came in off the Flat and then he went for a bit of a break back at Sandringham.

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“He worked around the bowl (a gallop in Lambourn) nicely and his jumping is great. Hopefully he will be ready to run mid-February.

“We will see how he progresses and runs first time out over hurdles and then we will make a decision.

“We don’t need to make any big decisions just yet, but we have stuck the Supreme entry in as if you aren’t entered, you can’t run.

“He is a very exciting horse to have in the yard and it is great to have the support of the royal family.”

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