How horse racing was Queen Elizabeth II’s longtime passion

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How can we forget the queen’s reaction at Royal Ascot – one of the UK’s top tracks – in 2013 when her racehorse, Estimate, won the prestigious Gold Cup?

It was a rare moment when the Queen – then 87 years old – with all the enthusiasm of a young woman, watched the race from the royal box and urged her horse to the finish line.

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It was an extraordinary moment that will remain in the memory of many observers, as it offered a human side rarely displayed amidst all the pomp and protocol.

Racing was among the few occasions when the queen could allow her guard to be let down in public for a few moments and she could mingle among those in attendance like a pure racing fan. However, as fans of the sport know, she was far from just a fan.

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Horses were central elements in the queen’s life from a very early age.

She was just 16 years old when she first visited a racing stable.

Her father, George VI, went with her to meet two top racehorses – Big Game and Sun Chariot.

“She saw them galloping before some big imminent races,” journalist and author Julian Muscat told CNN in 2018.

“Then she went and patted them on the head and loved the feel and silkiness of their fur.”

“The story goes that she didn’t wash her hands for the rest of the day.”

His love for horses has remained unchanged, whether it’s his success raising native ponies, his equine charity work or, most notably, his long and successful relationship with the thoroughbred racehorse, Estimate.

And while Estimate may have provided the Queen with arguably her best racing win as a horse owner, she has had widespread success with several winning animals to her name since her coronation in 1953.

She was named owner of the British Flat racing Champion in 1954 and 1957 and – with victories at the St Leger Stakes, Epsom Oaks, 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas – the only one of five British classic races that escaped her was the Epsom Derby.

Of all the successful horses she owned, most were domestic breeds.

It is an aspect of the sport in which she was particularly interested and is said to have been satisfied to have seen that horse as a foal, grow up and then go to races.

She made regular visits to the Royal Stud in Sandringham, Norfolk and once the horses stopped racing they remained in her retirement care. Her first public appearance after the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 was, of course, riding one of her ponies through the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The racing world was quick to offer condolences following the news of his death.

Italian jockey Frankie Dettori said it was an “honor of a lifetime” to ride for the queen on many occasions.

“As a man, it was a greater honor to have met such a remarkable person,” he added in a Twitter post.

“I will be forever grateful for the time, kindness and humor that Her Majesty warmly bestowed on me. Thank you Madam.”

It’s common to see coaches and owners sparring with jockeys before races, discussing tactics and opportunities, and the queen was no different.

If she had a horse racing to her name at Royal Ascot, there’s no doubt she would be chatting with the trainer and jockey while studying the other runners in the race.

Her racing knowledge was said to be encyclopedic and she was the unofficial leading figure in British racing.

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

Many of the foreign horses arriving at Royal Ascot from the United States, Hong Kong and Australia do not seek the prize money, which lags behind virtually every other race, but come for the prestige, much of which has been associated with the queen.

She missed the festival this year for the first time since her coronation due to mobility issues.

“Sitting with the queen is a memory I will never forget for the rest of my life,” said American coach Wesley Ward at the 2016 Royal Ascot.

“We had a wonderful conversation about the horses and she was very interested in talking to me as my horses raced forward and I was lucky enough to win some that way. And she was asking me all about my tactics and how I trained them to do that.

“So I looked at her and said, ‘Well, when you go to the front, they have to get you.’ And she said ‘This is what I give the coaches’…It was just you sitting and talking to someone who is at the races. You have to pinch yourself to realize you’re talking to the Queen of England.”

His interest in horse racing was passed from generation to generation, and while it was never stronger than in the Queen’s reign, there are high hopes that Prince Charles, now King Charles III, and the Duchess of Cornwall, who both had runners at Royal Ascot in recent years, continue the tradition of royalty.

PHOTOS — Britons and visitors pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Source: CNN Brasil

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