The passing of Queen Elizabeth II has left the British nation in mourning and spread deep sadness across the global population. Serving her country for 70 years and 214 days. She served the racing and breeding industry for a mirrored amount of time. Racing truly has ‘lost its best friend’. When tasked in a recent job interview to “List one of the biggest stakeholders in our sport”, I had no hesitation: “The Queen.”
Champion owner in 1954, predominantly due to the successes of Aureole, and then again in 1957 with her own-bred Oaks heroine Carrozza, who provided The Queen with her first British Classic Winner. This Classic win came just five years after Her Majesty inherited the racing and breeding stock of her father, King George VI, after his passing on February 6th 1952.
Her Majestey’s next Classic triumph came the year after, in 1958, when Pall Mall won the 2,000 Guineas. During the 1970’s, The Queen enjoyed prolific Classic success with two of her best fillies, Highclere and Dunfermline, the winners of the 1974 1,000 Guineas and the 1977 Oaks and St Leger respectively.
The Queen used both fillies as breeding prospects and Highclere produced the Royal Ascot Ribbesdale second (Group 2) Highbrow I, and was the granddam of the stallion Blueprint. Sadly, the Derby was the only British Classic the Queen didn’t grasp, however she did have a number of valiant attempts, most recently when Carlton House came third under Ryan Moore in 2011.
In the last 33 years The Queen has enjoyed blacktype success in over 80 races. One of her favoured victories was Estimate’s Gold Cup win at Royal Ascot in 2012 over two-miles-four-furlongs (4,000m). I had the privilege of caring for Estimate at the Aga Kahn’s base in Ireland for the 2021 breeding season, and knowing how much the mare meant to the Late Queen and her late husband Prince Phillip is truly special.
Ascot Racecourse stated on Prince Phillip’s passing: “One of the most memorable moments was in 2012 when His Royal Highness The Duke Of Edinburgh presented Her Majesty The Queen with the Queen’s Vase after Estimate’s victory.”
The Queen and Prince Phillip’s invaluable input to the sport of racing was returned to them in the form of delight, enjoyment and cherished memories from their days together at the course.
The stud expands across 300 acers, and the Norfolk base has been used by The Queen to breed over 1,000 winners. Home to the former stallion and top class two-year-old sprinter, Royal Applause, who retired from stud duty in 2014 at a fee of £9,000. The Middle Park Stakes winner peaked at a fee of £20,000 in 2006 with his best progeny being the sire of sires – Acclamation. This is a stallion having an invaluable global influence on the breeding scene, with 140 stakes performers across America, UK, Ireland and France. Acclamation now has several sons at stud with Mehmas, Acclaim and Dark Angel just to name a few, and their current success ensures Royal Applause and the Royal memory live on in our breeding lines.
King Charles III will now inherit this beautiful landscape, let us hope he has just as much success on the track as our beloved Her Majesty.