Of all of the Queen’s yearly engagements, it’s believed that the royal meeting at Ascot is the first to go into her diary. Throughout her long reign, she’s been an enthusiastic owner and breeder and has had 23 Royal Ascot winners as an owner.
This year, the Queen currently has two horses entered – Call To Mind, in the King Edward VII Stakes on Friday, and Dartmouth, who’s highly fancied to win the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday’s closing card. If you do fancy backing one of the Queen’s horses, matchedbets.com has the secret to getting the most out of your money.
Earlier in the week, there were rumours that the Queen would have to miss an afternoon’s racing – something which hasn’t happened since her coronation in 1953 – because of the opening of Parliament. Nevertheless, it’s since been reported that she will attend day two of Royal Ascot, in a similar course of events to 2001, when she gave the Queen’s Speech in the morning and then made it in time for the first afternoon’s race.
A royal winner is always popular amongst the Royal Ascot faithful – as can be expected. Perhaps the most exciting in recent years was Estimate’s Gold Cup victory in 2013 – constituting the first time in history that a reigning monarch’s horse had won the Gold Cup in its 207-year history.
Estimate was an 80th birthday present to the Queen from the Aga Khan, and was one of the favourites going into the race given previous form. Nevertheless, it wasn’t an easy race for Estimate – ridden by jockey Ryan Moore.
Estimate passed the grandstand for the first time in fifth, and was still in fourth with five furlongs to go. Moore made his move with just three go to, coming out eventual winner in a close, grandstand finish, and producing emotional scenes from the Royal Box.
Estimate eventually picked up three wins at Ascot, joining Whitechapel and Aureole to earn a hat-trick of wins for the Queen. Whilst success is harder to come by due to the ever-increasing number of owners and trainers, the Queen has continued to enjoy success as an owner in other races.
As previously mentioned, her most likely option for a 24th success at the meeting is Dartmouth, was last year’s Hardwicke Stakes winner and who also won in the Yorkshire Cup last May. Whatever the outcome, the Queen is sure to be an avid spectator at what is one of her favourite yearly events.