Tag Archive for: The Queen

The King and Queen appointed joint patrons of the Jockey Club

The King and Queen have been appointed as joint patrons of the Jockey Club.

Both are honorary members of the organisation, which was founded in 1750 and is governed by royal charter to return all profits from its 15 racecourses back into the sport.

Queen Elizabeth II was patron of the organisation for 68 years, from 1954 until her death in September 2022, and her role will now be taken up by her eldest son and his wife.

The King and Queen share a longstanding interest in the equestrian world and enjoyed their first Royal Ascot winner when Desert Hero claimed the King George V Stakes at the meeting last year.

Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: “We are honoured that their Majesties have accepted our invitation to become joint patrons of the Jockey Club.

“They have shown great enthusiasm and support for equestrian sports over many years and everyone in racing in Britain and overseas was thrilled to see them enjoy success at Royal Ascot last year.

“Their patronage of the Jockey Club is a recognition of horseracing not only as a sport which provides entertainment to millions of people, but one which is also part of the fabric of British life, contributing so much both financially and in broader terms to the local communities in which it operates.”



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Reach For The Moon found to be lame after hurdling bow

Jamie Snowden will give The Queen’s Reach For The Moon a thorough overhaul after the one-time Derby favourite returned lame having finished fourth on his hurdling debut at Sedgefield.

Owned by the late Queen Elizabeth II in his days on the Flat, he won the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown for John and Thady Gosden and was twice the runner-up at Royal Ascot.

Having lost his way in that sphere, he was sent to Jamie Snowden and prepared for a hurdling campaign and he reappeared in the colours of the Queen in a partnership with Sir Chips Keswick, the former Arsenal chairman.

Reach For The Moon seemed to enjoy his jumping
Reach For The Moon seemed to enjoy his jumping (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Everything seemed to be going well in the first half of the race as Gavin Sheehan tracked the hot favourite Schmilsson (11-10) but a slight mistake three out stopped him in his tracks and he was immediately on the back foot.

As Schmilsson powered clear in the second division of the Betting.Bet New Betting Sites Maiden Hurdle, Reach For The Moon eventually lost two places on the run-in, although a reason quickly appeared for his lacklustre finish.

“He’s lame behind, unfortunately, but nothing obvious has come to light as to why,” said Snowden.

“We’ll reassess him when we get back home and hope it’s nothing serious.”

He went on: “One thing he did enjoy was the jumping, which I was almost certain he would, as he had done in all his schooling at home.

“As an ex-Flat horse maybe that ground was just too taxing for him so one thing we will look for next time out is better ground.

“Without knowing where he went lame… (but) obviously the ground won’t have helped his cause on that front today.

“So, we’ll hope it’s nothing serious, look for better ground and take it from there.”

The Queen, whose husband the King was diagnosed with cancer on Monday, and Keswick had another Snowden-trained runner at Ludlow, but Schematic also finished unplaced.



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Moon fails to reach Sedgefield heights

The Queen’s Reach For The Moon was reported to have finished lame after coming home unplaced on his jumping bow at Sedgefield.

Owned by the Queen in partnership with Sir Chips Keswick, Reach For The Moon was a Group Three winner and one-time Classic hope for Queen Elizabeth II before he lost his way on the Flat.

Switched to the care of Jamie Snowden, Reach For The Moon embarked on a National Hunt career in the second division of the Betting.Bet New Betting Sites Maiden Hurdle, but after racing in second through the early exchanges, he was beaten at the turn for home.

Reach For The Moon was fourth at Sedgefield
Reach For The Moon was fourth at Sedgefield (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Schmilsson was was sent off the 11-10 favourite and successfully made all the running as Reach For The Moon dropped away, with Snowden eager to check on the gelding straight after the race.

He said: “He showed he’s got the aptitude for jumping but he’s returned lame, so we need to check that he’s OK.”

The Queen, whose husband the King was diagnosed with cancer on Monday, and Keswick had another Snowden-trained runner at Ludlow, but Schematic also finished unplaced for connections.



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Royal winner of Leger would be huge for racing, says Carson

Racing will be the winner, according to Willie Carson, if Desert Hero is able to replicate his historic achievement aboard Dunfermline and carry the royal silks to Classic glory in Saturday’s Betfred St Leger.

It was 1977 when Carson famously got the better of Lester Piggott and Alleged to give the late Queen Classic success in the Doncaster showpiece, during the same season the duo also tasted Oaks glory at Epsom in the height of the Silver Jubilee celebrations.

Dunfermline remains the last royal Classic winner, but now 46 years later the attention is once again on Town Moor as the William Haggas-trained Desert Hero attempts to add his name to the history books.

Dunfermline (left), ridden by Willie Carson, winning the Oaks at Epsom
Dunfermline (left), ridden by Willie Carson, winning the Oaks at Epsom (PA)

Having already provided the King and Queen with their first Royal Ascot triumph, the son of Sea The Stars, who will be ridden by Tom Marquand, now bids to add one of the sport’s crown jewels to his ever-growing CV.

“If the King wins then that will help racing, without a doubt,” Carson told the PA news agency.

“I rode two Classic winners for the Queen, but she wasn’t there either time. She was too busy with the Silver Jubilee celebrations for the Oaks and she was at Balmoral for the Leger, but I spoke to her on the telephone after.

“It’s a very good race, our oldest Classic, and it has the makings of a good horse race and the makings of a good story and we’re looking forward to a marvellous race.

“And if the King does arrive at Doncaster on the day and wins, then there is only one winner – racing.”

The King and Queen celebrate after Desert Hero's win at Royal Ascot
The King and Queen celebrate after Desert Hero’s win at Royal Ascot (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Carson won the St Leger three times, but 35 years after his final Doncaster triumph aboard Minster Son, another member of the family now has his chance to add his name to the annals of Britain’s oldest Classic.

That is because Desert Hero has been helped in his preparation for the big race by Carson’s grandson Luke, who rides the King George V Stakes and Gordon Stakes scorer in his work and is a key figure in the colt’s journey to the top.

“He’s looked after and ridden every day by my grandson, his name is Luke Carson,” continued the 80-year-old, who partnered 17 British Classic winners during his decorated career.

“He rides him in the morning, looks after him, he’s his baby.

“So I will be very happy if the King wins, for all sorts of reasons. He’s obviously got a chance, but I wouldn’t say he has as good a chance as Dunfermline did.

“Not only was that Leger famous because the Queen won it, but it was the only time in his career Alleged was beat. It was an incredible race and she was a very good filly, Dunfermline.”

Willie Carson (left) with Frankie Dettori who will ride Gregory in the St Leger
Willie Carson (left) with Frankie Dettori who will ride Gregory in the St Leger (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Not only does Carson have the family connection with Desert Hero to look forward to, he also owns a half-sister of the dam of ante-post favourite Gregory, and it promises to be a huge afternoon for the Scotsman, who may struggle to juggle his loyalties in the closing stages.

He added: “It’s a race I won three times. The race was quite kind to me.

“The horse Gregory, I own the dam’s half-sister called Leah. For me it is a big day all round.

“We’ve got a few irons in the fire and I guess I’ll be shouting for them both. Maybe a dead-heat!

Gregory heads to Doncaster Moor as market leader despite losing for the first time in the Great Voltigeur at York.

It was Aidan O’Brien’s Continuous who lowered the Golden Horn colt’s colours on that occasion, but Carson believes Gregory could be seen to better effect this weekend.

He said: “I saw an interview that John Gosden gave and I agreed with everything he said about why Gregory got beat at York.

“Unfortunately Frankie (Dettori) rode a fantastic race in the following race that day (Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International Stakes), but he fell into a bad trap on Gregory by going too fast.

“John Gosden pointed that out and he also pointed out that when the race was over and he was beat, and Frankie had decided that was it, the horse still ran on.

“So Continuous is not certain to beat him at Doncaster. I think Frankie thought he would be able to dictate at York, but I’m afraid the dictation got thrown out the window because he had two people annoying him all the way round.”

He has also narrowed the stamina-sapping one-mile-six-furlong contest down to the three at the head of the betting and is relishing the prospect of three of the weighing room’s best slugging it out to lift the trophy.

“It looks like those are the three (Gregory, Continuous and Desert Hero) that should be winning the St Leger and I would say it will be the horse that gets the best ride, basically  – the one who it clicks for and whoever gets it right,” said Carson.

“O’Brien will organise the pace and it will be up to Frankie, who is normally very astute when it comes to tactics, I imagine he will not get it wrong this time. Of course, Ryan Moore will just sit on the tail of Frankie, that’s how I see it, whether it happens is another matter.

“You’ve got three of the top jockeys at the top of the game and we’re in for a treat.”



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Monday Musings: Trainers with Form

A few hours from now (I’ve started even earlier than usual today) UK betting shops will be opening for the first time in three months, writes Tony Stafford. Those frustrated souls who do not have access to computer or telephone betting will therefore be back in the game. With the two-metre social distancing rule, sort of still in place, it will be interesting to see how it will be managed by designated employees.

Over time, many betting shops have become denuded of staff, often appearing at quiet times to be one-man or –woman affairs. So while Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrison, Lidl, Asda and the like can provide employees to monitor the outside queues, who can be spared by Hills, Coral, Ladbroke and the rest to ensure safety entering the betting emporia?

But, as we saw in various public demonstrations last week, the British red-blooded male (and sometimes female) is all-too-willing to ignore such niceties when the mood takes it. Let’s hope the much-sought-after “R” number was not too much inconvenienced by the various scrums in London town and elsewhere.

On my weekly analysis, Monday to Sunday, another 452 fewer deaths brought the latest tally to 1156, a fall of more than 32% on the week, more than maintaining the trend. So if the premature return to lemming-like crowd scenes did not damage the “R”, the return of the public to the racecourse in probably a limited degree, might not be too far off. Goodwood and York must be the two tracks most hoping for that prospect.

Many other shops are opening – even hairdressers! – from today, so anyone dressing up at home for Royal Ascot as I’ve promised myself to do tomorrow, can go for a quick tidy-up in preparation.

The overnights for the first two days are now set and the trainers who have made the most dynamic re-start, Messrs Gosden, Johnston, Hannon and Balding, all have double-figure representation. Six extra races have been added, bringing more opportunities for smaller stables, but the top teams still dominate with multiple chances in the handicaps especially.

From the first two weeks’ action, John Gosden, who will be expecting success from 11 overnight declarations on the first two days, and with Stradivarius in the Gold Cup to wait for on Thursday as he goes for a third Gold Cup, clocked up 29 wins from his 93 starters. Mark Johnston has 17 declared on the first two days, and he too has made a flying restart, with 20 winners from his 128 runners.

A Saturday four-timer, all in Michael Tabor colours and with Seamie Heffernan in the saddle, projected Aidan O’Brien on to the domestic 13 mark at home in the first week, plus Love in the 1,000 Guineas. The Saturday quartet was spearheaded by Peaceful’s emphatic triumph in the Irish 1,000, yet another Classic winner, along with Love, for Galileo. The suggestion – it must have come from somewhere, but I’m not sure where – that Peaceful might join the team and come over for Saturday’s Coronation Stakes is both mouth-watering and eminently possible, knowing the ambition of owners and trainer.

I’ll be hoping to be still wide awake around 1 p.m. today waiting for the five-day entries. If only we could go on Saturday. The eight races kick off with the Silver Wokingham, like Wednesday’s Silver Hunt Cup, a 24-runner innovation, with the Wokingham itself staged as the seventh race on the card.

Then it’s the Queen Mary, the Coronation, the Coventry and St James’s Palace, with the chance of 2,000 Guineas runners coming on from Newmarket and Ireland. It would be great to see Siskin, especially after his fine display in the Irish 2000 Guineas, his power finish seeing off the Ballydoyle hordes. It’s more likely, however, to expect a few of the supporting cast from Newmarket and The Curragh to get an entry. Then it’s the Diamond Jubilee, the Wokingham and ending fittingly with the Queen Alexandra as the 36th race of the week. I can’t wait.

Eight races and, as so many are saying, a great chance for racing to get a bigger profile than has been the case hitherto. ITV will make it accessible to all who want to watch it, but without the pomp, ceremony and fashion we’ve come to love. Maybe this emasculated, work-a-day version will leave us with as much regret as pleasure, but I think the BHA and racing’s trainers and owners, jockeys and stable staff, and racecourses, have all done a wonderful job in getting the show back on the road in the  most challenging of circumstances.

The Queen has had plenty of interest from her horses on the track in the past fortnight. So far only First Receiver, a facile seven-length winner at Kempton in the opening week for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, has been successful; and he looks to hold a great chance in Wednesday’s Hampton Court Stakes. I thought it also reflected well on the organisers that they were able to do the low-key televised Trooping the Colour ceremony from Windsor Castle on Saturday, on her official birthday. She was actually 94 on April 21st and the way the cameras picked up her still mobile, fully engaged and alert self was a great pick-me-up for everyone watching.

How irritating it must have been for her that the usual venue for the ceremony, Horseguards Parade, tucked in between the Cenotaph and Trafalgar Square in Central London, was being invaded by rent-a-mobs at the precise moment her first official engagement since lockdown was continuing with such dignity and efficiency 25 miles to the west.

If there is one constant irritation for me even in the general goodwill generated by the simple fact of there being some racing – and good stuff – to watch, it’s that “his stable has been in form” routine by various presenters. Form is governed by opportunity and the 200-plus stables by definition, just as the top riders, can have a string of fancied losers, but get another good chance in the next race after which the inevitable “in good form” line is trotted out.

What I think is worth noting, is to identify the up-and-coming operations. Archie Watson has already gone from upstart to top trainer usually with horses sent forward from the start. That rewarding pattern, almost A P McCoy-like, has been a constant factor, apart of course from natural talent, in the emergence of Hollie Doyle, already flying past the 50 mark for the year.

Now she’s getting the best out of all her mounts, for Archie and everyone else, and from the back of the field as well as the front. She, no doubt, will be one of the riders gaining the most attention, if not necessarily the most success, in the coming week.

Among the trainers, it’s been very good to see the emergence of Tom Clover. He had the good sense to learn his trade as assistant to the highly-accomplished David Simcock, and even more to marry Jackie, daughter of the late, great Michael Jarvis.

Last year the couple made the switch from Willie Musson’s Savile House just around the corner from Newmarket’s Clock Tower, a few strides up Fordham Road to Kremlin House, scene of Michael Jarvis’s greatest achievements.  So the Tottenham fan married into an Arsenal household, but harmony is clearly the name of the game. And talent, too, as Tom has fired in six winners from only 16 runners in the two weeks since the restart and 11 from 42 overall this year.

That puts him within reach of last year’s tally of 19, following seven in each of the previous two years, his first two full campaigns as a trainer.

Another to have switched yards even more recently is William Knight, up to HQ after a longish stint in Sussex to take over Rathmoy Stable, formerly the base for the legendary Neville Callaghan and more recently David Lanigan, who is departing for the US.

Knight has also been quick off the mark, and in his case, the “trainer in form” comment is fully deserved. From 14 runs, he’s sent out three winners (13-2, 22-1 and 33-1) and three third places. Four of the eight also-rans have started at 50-1 and above, and talking of opportunity, the average price of ALL his runners has been 33-1. Gosden’s 93 have averaged 4-1. Now that’s making the most of one’s opportunities and Knight I’m sure will continue to be a man to follow, as will Clover.

- TS



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