Queen Elizabeth II’s sporting fascination was racing: ‘I like horses’

It was a basic and comforting sight on the British sporting calendar, Queen Elizabeth II smiling and waving from inside a horse-drawn carriage main different members of the royal household in a procession alongside the racetrack at Royal Ascot.

The monarch would then spend the day watching the races from the Royal Enclosure, cheering on her horses – win or lose.

And he or she gained loads.

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Horse racing was the massive sporting fascination of the queen, who died on Thursday on the age of 96. She first rode a horse on the age of three – and was instantly besotted with them – and would inherit the breeding and racing inventory of her father, King George VI, when she acceded to the throne in 1952.

She turned one of many greatest faces of British and world horse racing.

The queen was additionally current at among the most well-known events in British sporting historical past.

She handed the Jules Rimet Trophy to England captain Bobby Moore when the nationwide soccer crew gained the lads’s World Cup by beating West Germany at Wembley Stadium in 1966.

She was within the Royal Field on Centre Courtroom at Wimbledon when British participant Virginia Wade gained the ladies’s singles title in 1977, the championship’s centenary yr.

And, extra lately, she had a cameo within the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012, filming a comedy sketch with James Bond actor Daniel Craig the place the queen – properly, a stunt double, anyway – jumped out of a helicopter and parachuted into the Olympic Stadium. She allowed Danny Boyle, who directed the ceremony, and his crew entry to her quarters at Buckingham Palace for a one-day shoot a couple of months earlier.

Horse racing was her large love, although, and she or he was typically seen visiting The Royal Stud at her property at Sandringham, patting her horses tenderly.

“My philosophy about racing is straightforward,” she mentioned in a BBC documentary, The Queen’s Racehorses: A Private View. “I get pleasure from breeding a horse that’s quicker than different folks’s.

“And to me, that could be a gamble from a great distance again. I get pleasure from going racing however I suppose, mainly, I like horses, and the thoroughbred epitomizes a very good horse to me.”

The queen had approaching 2,000 winners as a racehorse proprietor, along with her jockeys at all times carrying purple, gold and scarlet – the colors of the storied royal racing silks additionally utilized by father and nice grandfather, King Edward VII.

Her first winner was a horse known as Monaveen, at Fontwell in 1949, and she or he went on to win the entire so-called “classics” in British horse racing apart from The Derby, one other occasion she attended for many of her life.

One of many queen’s most well-known wins got here at Royal Ascot in 2013 when Estimate turned the primary horse owned by a reigning monarch to win the celebrated Gold Cup. It was her first win in an elite race since 1989 and she or he was seen clapping enthusiastically as jockey Ryan Moore powered by to complete first by a neck in entrance of 61,000 racegoers.

Michael Stoute, who skilled the queen’s horses, mentioned profitable races gave her a “particular thrill.”

“She actually loves this recreation,” he mentioned after Estimate’s victory, “and it is a fantastic recreation for her.”

She was the champion proprietor in British flat racing on two events, in 1954 and ’57.

The queen even attended America’s best horse race, the Kentucky Derby, in 2007 whereas visiting the center of U.S. racing in Kentucky bluegrass nation.

Following the announcement of the queen’s dying, the British horse racing Authority mentioned racing in Britain for the remainder of Thursday and Friday could be suspended “as we start to grieve Her Majesty’s passing and keep in mind her extraordinary life and contribution to our sport and our nation.”

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