Tag Archive for: The Queen

The Queen joins British Champions Hall of Fame

The Queen has been inducted into the Qipco British Champions Hall of Fame.

Her Majesty becomes the first entry in the official hall of fame for British racing within the special contributor category, which is decided by an independent panel, in recognition of her commitment and long-standing patronage of the sport.

The Queen’s famous purple, gold braid and scarlet colours have recorded more than 1,800 winners since her first victory with Monaveen over jumps at Fontwell in 1949. She has twice been champion owner on the Flat in 1954 and 1957 and Her Majesty has enjoyed tremendous success this year.

John Warren, bloodstock and racing advisor to The Queen, said: “I suspect that The Queen will have a lot of inner pride in being invited into the Hall of Fame. The Queen’s contribution to racing and breeding derives from a lifelong commitment. Her love of horses and their welfare comes with a deep understanding of what is required to breed, rear, train and ride a thoroughbred. 

Her Majesty has been recognised for her special contribution to racing
Her Majesty has been recognised for her special contribution to racing

“Her Majesty’s fascination is unwavering and her pleasure derives from all of her horses – always accepting the outcome of their ability so gracefully.”

Sir Francis Brooke, The Queen’s representative at Ascot, said: “The inclusion of The Queen within the Hall of Fame recognises her unique contribution to the world of racing, not only as an enthusiast, but also as a successful owner and breeder and as its most important patron.”

Sir Michael Stoute, who has trained over 100 winners for The Queen, including Estimate, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013, said: “Her Majesty will be thrilled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She richly deserves it because her contribution has been enormous. She loves it so much.

The Queen greets Estimate and  jockey Ryan Moore after their victory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013
The Queen greets Estimate and jockey Ryan Moore after their victory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013 (Steve Parsons/PA)

“I’ve found that training for The Queen comes with no pressure. Because of her understanding, her deep knowledge and her thirst for more. She’s always thinking ahead – what I’m going to do with this animal, am I going to breed it, who should I breed it to, temperament, speed, stamina. She’s fascinated with the whole idea and we must remember it’s a very long time that she’s been doing it.”

She has bred and owned the winner of every British Classic apart from the Derby, including the Oaks and St Leger with Dunfermline in 1977 during her Silver Jubilee year.

In 2022, The Queen will become the first Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, and the Derby at Epsom will form part of the official celebration of her historic 70-year reign.

In recognition of her induction into the Hall of Fame and to mark her achievement, The Queen will be presented with a specially commissioned medal.

Reach For The Moon ready to test potential against Lusail

Reach For The Moon bids to confirm his top-level potential with victory in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Runner-up on his racecourse debut at Yarmouth in the spring, the Sea The Stars colt came close to providing the Queen with a Royal Ascot winner in June when pushing star Irish juvenile Point Lonsdale close in the Chesham Stakes.

John and Thady Gosden’s youngster has since impressed in winning a novice event at Newbury and the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown – and jockey Frankie Dettori is excited to see the colt test his powers at Group Two level on Saturday.

“In the last two races he hardly saw a horse, so this is the first big test,” said the Italian.

“We’re building him up, he’s getting more experience and he’s done nothing wrong so far.

“This horse is a work in progress at the moment. We’re keeping him busy. We feel the more experience he gets, the better he gets.

“Saturday will be another key point. I’ve got plenty of confidence in him. He’s exciting, and Her Majesty is our biggest asset in racing.”

The Queen looks on at Reach For The Moon after his run at Royal Ascot
The Queen looks on at Reach For The Moon after his run at Royal Ascot (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Reach For The Moon is already prominent in ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby, but Dettori is not looking that far ahead at this stage.

He added: “Everybody is thinking about next year – I’m thinking one race at a time. Let’s get Saturday out of the way, and then progress.

“All the boxes are ticked, and everything is going in the right direction.

“After the Solario, myself and John felt the experience of racing is doing him good – and that is why we are getting him out.

“To have a colt of this calibre for the Queen is exciting. She saw the horse at Ascot. She comes to the yard a couple of times a year, and we are so lucky to have the Queen support the sport.”

Thady Gosden is similarly keen to get this weekend’s assignment out of the way before considering a potential Classic campaign in 2022.

He said: “He’s progressed nicely. He ran a good race at Ascot, he progressed in a novice and he won well at Sandown in the Solario.

“He goes to Doncaster in good form. It’s a very competitive race – there’s Lusail in there, who has plenty of speed and won the Gimcrack.

“It’s a long way away from the Derby at the moment – but he’s heading in the right direction, so hopefully he progresses.”

The biggest threat to Reach For The Moon appears to be the Richard Hannon-trained Lusail, who has already enjoyed two big-race victories this summer – Newmarket’s July Stakes and the Gimcrack at York.

“It looks a very good race and it always is,” said Hannon.

“Because it’s towards the end of the year it’s the clash of giants. I’m very happy with my horse. He’s won a Gimcrack, won a July Stakes – you don’t do that unless you’re a very good horse.

“It would obviously be easier without a penalty, but he carried a penalty in the Gimcrack and dealt with that no problem. He’s a big, strong horse and he will carry a big weight.

“He’s not just a two-year-old. I’ve always known he’d get seven furlongs, and maybe further. He’s a Guineas horse for next year, and you might even see some improvement at seven.

“Reach For The Moon looked a very good horse when he won the Solario. Our horse has done it twice at Group Two level now. He probably is the one to beat, but it’s a good race and very competitive.”

Bayside Boy remains an exciting prospect
Bayside Boy remains an exciting prospect (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy looked a high-class juvenile when making a winning start to his career at Newbury, since when he has been narrowly beaten by Masekela in the Listed Denford Stakes at the Berkshire circuit.

Varian said: “It’s a strong race, but we’re keen to give it a go.

“He’s in good order and should run very well.

“I think there’s more improvement to come from him.”

The field is completed by Michael O’Callaghan’s Irish raider Twilight Jet.

Reach For The Moon on course for Champagne Stakes

Reach For The Moon headlines 11 contenders for the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Owned by the Queen and trained by John and Thady Gosden, Reach For The Moon narrowly failed to give Her Majesty a Royal Ascot victory when beaten just half a length by Point Lonsdale in the Chesham Stakes.

The Sea The Stars colt went on to land a Newbury maiden before registering a deeply impressive success in the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown last time out.

He faces another stiff test in Saturday’s Group Two heat, though, with the Richard Hannon-trained Lusail seeking a hat-trick at this level after lifting the July Stakes at Newmarket and then adding to his tally in the Gimcrack at York last month.

Dubawi Legend disappointed slightly on the Knavesmire when only third in the Acomb at the Ebor meeting, but he could be given another shot at Group race glory by Hugo Palmer in this seven-furlong contest.

Connections have Friday’s Cazoo Flying Scotsman Stakes as a potential alternative, however.

Palmer said: “I left him in the Champagne, and he’s in the Flying Scotsman as well, so we’ll just have to see.

“He appreciates fast ground and he’s a course-and-distance winner.

“The Champagne is a firm option, and so is the Listed race on the Friday.”

Native Trail is a leading contender for the Champagne Stakes
Native Trail is a leading contender for the Champagne Stakes (David Davies/Jockey Club)

Native Trail is unbeaten in two for Charlie Appleby – while Eldrickjones has been running with credit, if not successful as yet, in some competitive heats for Roger Fell.

Bayside Boy, Great Max, Maritime Wings, Masekela and Zechariah also remain in the mix – with Twilight Jet a supplementary entry for Michael O’Callaghan after finishing third in the Gimcrack.

Later on the card, Danyah could make his first start in Group Two company in the Cazoo Park Stakes.

Danyah may move up in class at Doncaster
Danyah may move up in class at Doncaster (Nigel French/PA)

Owen Burrows’ charge was due to contest the Hungerford at Newbury last month before being declared a non-runner, but he could now try to transition from handicap company after a fine effort in winning the International at Ascot.

Appleby is double-handed at this stage, with D’Bai and Glorious Journey, while Aidan O’Brien has both Horoscope and Khartoum among the nine possibles.

Richard Hannon’s popular eight-year-old Oh This Is Us, Laneqash, Rhoscolyn and Rhythm Master complete the potential line-up.

Chalk Stream roars to hat-trick at Ascot in colours of the Queen

Chalk Stream continued his progression with a convincing victory to complete his hat-trick for the Queen in the Lavazza Handicap at Ascot.

The three-year-old gelding had been on an upward curve this summer with wins at York and Ripon, and he stepped up again with a career-best performance.

Cieren Fallon had the William Haggas-trained son of Sea The Stars wide for a while in the early stages, as Auriferous and State Of Bliss cut out the pace.

Chalk Stream (13-2) then crossed over and slotted in nicely behind the lead, before being unleashed with a storming run to put the race to bed in a matter of strides.

He went on to win by four and three-quarter lengths from his stablemate Candleford, who was later disqualified for his jockey weighing in too light. True Courage was promoted to second with recent Racing League winner Champagne Piaff put up to fourth.

Haggas told Sky Sports Racing: “He won well. I was really pleased with him. He’s improving fast.

“He did surprise me how far he won by, but he is getting better and is behaving much better. Everything is falling into place. We’ve always liked him, he’s a beautiful mover, a very sound horse and he’s really coming good.

“This was a step up in grade today and he took it with aplomb.

“I think Her Majesty has equalled her best ever season, with lots to come, I hope.”

As for Candleford, Haggas admitted he was to blame for rider Adam Farragher weighing in 5lb light.

“That was trainer error. I unfortunately left the weight cloth on the travelling head lad’s bag instead of putting it on the horse. No wonder the horse ran so well,” said Haggas, who was fined £1,000.

“It was a disaster, I’m mortified. As soon as Adam came out and told me he had weighed in 5lb light, he didn’t have a weight cloth and I knew there was only one person to blame and sadly it had to be me.”

To add to the misery, Farragher was given a three-day ban for careless riding.

A change of tactics paid dividends for Top Secret in the Careys Foundation Supporting The Lighthouse Club Handicap.

Usually held up in his races, William Muir, who trains the four-year-old with Chris Grassick, instructed jockey Nicola Currie to make the running. It worked a treat with the 5-1 shot beating last year’s winner Documenting by half a length.

“Having lunch I said we were going to make the running. It had been difficult the first few runs for us. We had dropped him in in his races. Everything worried him,” said Muir, whose charge had won over course and distance in July.

“That day (at Ascot) I said to Rab (Havlin) make the running. He was held up, but got up and won. The next time he went to Newmarket, Rab dropped him in, they went no pace and he got beat.

“He’s going to get better. He’s a very talented horse and he just got away with the ground.

“This horse took a bit of rebuilding because he had a very bad quarter crack.”

Currie’s success was tempered by a two-day ban (September 18 and 19) for using her whip above the permitted level.

Ryan Moore finished the meeting on a high, taking the last two contests on the card courtesy of Ed Walker’s Popmaster (2-1) and the appropriately-named Mine’s A Double (11-10 favourite), trained by Clive Cox.

2022 Derby Festival to form part of Platinum Jubilee Weekend

The 2022 Cazoo Derby will form part of the official Platinum Jubilee Weekend to celebrate the historic 70-year reign of the Queen.

An official announcement confirmed the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee – or 70 years of service – will attend the Derby at Epsom next year, accompanied by members of the Royal family. The 2022 Cazoo Derby Festival will take place on June 3 and 4.

The Queen has had multiple runners in the premier Classic, with Aureole faring the best of them when runner-up to Pinza in 1953 – just three days after her coronation on June 6, 1953.

The Queen presents the late Pat Smullen with his trophy after Harzand's Derby victory in 2016course
The Queen presents the late Pat Smullen with his trophy after Harzand’s Derby victory in 2016 (David Davies/PA)

More recently, Carlton House carried the Queen’s colours to finish a close third behind French raider Pour Moi when favourite in 2011.

Phil White, who runs Epsom as London Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support Her Majesty The Queen has given to the Derby over several decades.

“To be afforded this opportunity to celebrate the contribution she has made to horseracing, to British life and the Commonwealth, is a real honour for all of us at the Jockey Club.

“Planning for this very special occasion has already begun, even before we have staged this year’s Cazoo Derby Festival this weekend.”

Tactical performance sets up Royal Ascot return

Tactical set up a return to Royal Ascot as he provided the Queen with a poignant winner in the bet365 European Free Handicap at Newmarket.

Successful at the Royal meeting last season, the Andrew Balding-trained Toronado colt had questions to answer as his form had tailed off.

When Oisin Murphy had his original path blocked by Adam Kirby on Royal Scimitar he looked like being an unlucky loser, as Naval Crown attempted to make all. But William Buick’s mount drifted off the rail, allowing Tactical just enough room to get up and win by a neck.

John Warren, the Queen’s bloodstock adviser, said: “Andrew and I had been discussing with the Queen about his trip and we needed to find out if he was a Jersey horse, a St James’s Palace one or Commonwealth Cup horse.

“Today was a learning mission to see if we’d come back to six (furlongs), but he’s proved seven is no problem so I think all roads lead to Ascot for perhaps the Jersey. He’ll probably have an entry in the St James’s.

“It’s been our imponderable over the winter why his form tailed off, there were mitigating circumstances in the Morny and perhaps he lost his way after that.

“He’d been working very well at home and Andrew was very happy with him. He’s trained on nicely.”

Murphy said: “Normally when you get stopped here it’s the end of your race, but watching the replay it didn’t perhaps seem as abrupt as it felt.

“Newmarket’s uphill finish means it’s the slowest part of the race which meant I was able to catch William.

“As he relaxes so well I wouldn’t rule out a mile, but at this time of year there are better options over seven.”

Hollie Doyle produces Desert Dreamer (left) to win the opener
Hollie Doyle produces Desert Dreamer (left) to win the opener (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The day started with another big-priced winning debutant as Stuart Williams’ Desert Dreamer left some better-fancied runners in her wake to win the bet365 British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Following on from 150-1 and 28-1 juvenile winners already this week, the daughter of Oasis Dream was sent off at 25-1.

She still had plenty to do coming out of the dip, but Hollie Doyle did not even need to pick up her whip to win by three-quarters of a length from another 25-1 chance, Bellarena Lady.

“We hadn’t had a juvenile winner on the Rowley Mile in 136 tries I believe, but I was pleased with her,” said Williams.

“She’s been very straightforward since the day we got her and I did fancy her, but when I got here I found out there were half a dozen that were fancied so I’d have been happy with mid-div!

“I hope she’s an Ascot filly, we’ll take her somewhere else first, the National Stakes at Sandown or the Marygate at York, and then hopefully we can think of Ascot after that.

Amanda Perrett’s Count Otto continued his good recent all-weather form back on the turf in the bet365 Handicap Stakes.

Count Otto (centre) brought his all-weather form to the turf
Count Otto (centre) brought his all-weather form to the turf (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Third in the apprentice race at Lingfield on Good Friday, he managed to hold off the late lunge of Chil Chil by a neck.

“He’s a wonderful little horse, he had an injury after Epsom last summer when something galloped into the back of him and that gave him a holiday,” said Perrett.

“He’s come back well since then and it’s great to see him do it on the turf.”

She added: “He’s run in the consolation Stewards’ Cup twice before and that might be his aim again or it would be even better if he got in the big one.”

William Haggas enjoyed a treble on the day
William Haggas enjoyed a treble on the day (Nigel French/PA)

Having won the Earl Of Sefton with My Oberon and the Nell Gwyn with Sacred, William Haggas completed a treble in the closing 10-furlong handicap with Mohaafeth (6-4 favourite).

“I don’t think the handicapper could have given him much more than 85, but I think he’s a nice horse,” said Haggas.

“We wanted to see if he’d be effective at this trip, which he clearly is. How far he’ll go, I don’t know.

“There are two routes. The obvious race is the London Gold Cup at Newbury or he could go for a Derby trial. He’s in the Dante, but the Dee Stakes could be interesting for him.

“I’ll talk to Shadwell and see what they want to do, but it’s very hard when you have a horse rated in the 90s, like he will be, to run them in a stakes race.”

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