'Come in, my warriors' – The Queen's love of racing in her own words as millions prepare to watch funeral across world | The Sun
THE QUEEN was never happier than when at the racecourse.
During her 70 year reign, the sport was her one true love away from the serious stuff.
At any spare moment, she would pore over the form and study the bloodlines of her horses. Nothing got past her on or off the track.
Whether Her Majesty was with a trainer, fellow breeder or jockey, she was always at ease around those in the sport.
On a rare occasion, even just slightly, she could let her hair down.
She was known to crack a joke and even mimick some trainers’ accents when she would call them.
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I’m not sure any dared do it back!
She had many stars run in her famous purple and gold silks over the decades.
Royal Ascot winners like Estimate and Classic heroine Dunfermline were the standouts. But she loved her lowly handicappers as much as she did her Group 1 superstars.
It was the personality and quirks of any horse that she loved more than anything.
At the time of her death, she had a total of 43 horses in training. These were based with trainers across the country over both the jumps and on the Flat.
Those closest to her racing operation have paid an emotional tribute to her since her death.
But maybe Her Majesty’s own words across the years sum up her love of the game and the effect she had on it more than anyone else's could.
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Her Majesty on her earliest racing memories
“I suppose I first became interested in racing during the war, when my father had leased Big Game and Sun Chariot from the National Stud. My father took me down to Beckhampton in 1942 to see them working, which I'd never seen before, and I was able to pat them in the stable afterwards. I had never felt the satiny softness of a thoroughbred before. It's a wonderful feeling.”
The Queen would surely have loved the time to go racing more often, as she proved with a joke here
“Were it not for my Archbishop of Canterbury I should be off in my plane to Longchamp every Sunday.”
The Queen left no stone unturned when it came to breeding the best
“My philosophy about racing is simple. I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people's. I enjoy going racing but basically I love horses.”
She came mightily close, but Her Majesty never realised her Epsom Derby dream
“A thoroughbred epitomises a really good horse to me. My particular hope for the future, like all breeders of horses, is to breed the winner of the Derby.”
Her Majesty’s humour on display once more after a visit to Richard Hannon Sr's yard
“It's one of the few places I go that doesn't smell of fresh paint!”
As ever, The Queen took her high-profile defeats in the best possible manner. Aureole ran in the Derby just four days after she was crowned
“It was very exciting to have a horse so soon as an owner to run in the Derby but Aureole ruined his chance in the parade. And one shouldn't really be sad not to win because Sir Gordon Richards had won his Derby at last.”
The Queen was quick to put Phillip in his place after he said her horses looked too thin at Ian Balding’s stable
“If you did but know it, that is how a fit racehorse should look!”
Her Majesty’s most famous racing manager was arguably Lord Carnarvon
“My racing manager and I have argued how important the breeding and the influence of the past is. We have had a lot of fun out of it. And now, having put him in charge, we have even more arguments and even more fun.”
You simply can’t say The Queen didn’t love the sport. Her she wrote to jockey Joe Mercer after he steered her homebred Highclere home in front in the 1974 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
“For once I don't remember much about the race, owing to the excitement, but I do know that a homebred Guineas winner has given me more pleasure than anything for a long time.”
Her Majesty welcomed back trainer Dick Hern and jockey Joe Mercer for a celebration at Windsor after Highclere won the Prix de Diane in France. Can you imagine her saying this to anyone outside of racing?
“Come in, my warriors.”
Ryan Moore has ridden the most winners for The Queen and Her Majesty has a special name for him. You won’t ever get him to admit it in public though.
“He’s my jockey.”
Estimate’s win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2012 was one of her racing highlights. The pictures of her celebrating covered the front and back pages of newspapers around the world. Royal Ascot won’t be the same without her.
“Thanks to their hard work, we can look forward to many years of racing in a world class environment. Ascot is a special place.”
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