Queen Elizabeth the Second was well-known as a lover of the horse racing industry. The Queen was regularly seen at major events such as Newmarket and Royal Ascot, in addition to being a keen breeder and owner of horses herself.
A rider as well as a race-goer, Her Majesty was racing’s ‘best friend’, according to the famed trainer Nicky Henderson. Now it appears as though King Charles is looking to change the way in which the monarch interacts with the horse racing industry; at least if his sale of some of the Queen’s horses is anything to go by.
It was confirmed towards the end of October that King Charles III would be selling some of the horses that he’d inherited from his mother. The likes of Love Affair and Just Fine were amongst the horses that Tattersalls Auction House in Newmarket confirmed were going up for sale, with 14 in total being offered.
A spokesperson for Tattersall’s, Jimmy George, suggested that it wasn’t anything unusual and that ‘you can’t keep them all’, but it has led some to ask whether King Charles’ approach to the horse racing industry will be different from his mother’s.
Queen Was Always Into Horse Racing
Speaking in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, jump racing trainer Nicky Henderson was quick to point out that the former monarch had long been involved in horse racing.
Henderson was the trainer of the Queen’s horses and spoke with her once a week, usually on a Sunday, to discuss what the plans were for her horses. She followed racing ‘all the time’, according to Henderson, who said that she ‘knew what was going on on a day-to-day basis – not only her own horses – she knew what all the horses were up to.’
“It was a privilege and it was a pleasure, one can only say thank you because it gave us all something a little bit special. I don’t know what the future is going to hold – we’ve just got to let it all sink in – but I hope we’ll be running again. We have lost a real great friend.”
The idea of waiting to see what will happen is crucial and is something that everyone in the horse racing industry will be thinking. At this time, there is no real sense of what sort of relationship King Charles will have with the people tasked with training his horses.
More Than A Dozen Horses Sold
Whilst Sarah and disgraced former Duke of York, Andrew, inherited the Corgis in the wake of the Queen’s passing, King Charles III inherited the Royal horses. One of the first races featuring one of the Royal Family’s horses was a race at Leicester on the fourth of October. History was made when Just Fine became King Charles’ first winner, coming home at odds of 10/3.
It was the sixth horse to run wearing the royal purple, red and gold colours under the new King, winning the race by four and a half lengths from the favourite.
Sir Michael Stoute trained the winner, which was ridden by Ryan Moore, with the pair having combined to hand the Queen victory with Estimate in the Royal Ascot Gold Cup back in 2013. Stoute had himself overseen more than 100 Royal winners as trainer. Just Fine was then almost immediately put up for sale when it was included in the lot of horses being sold at Tattersalls Auction House. Another high-profile hose included in the sale was Love Affairs, which was the last winner that the Queen saw before her death on September eighth.
‘Nothing Out Of The Ordinary’
For those wondering whether this signals the start of a shift in approach to racing from King Charles, the news from the industry was that it is ‘nothing out of the ordinary’. That is what a spokesperson for Tattersalls, Jimmy George, had to say about the matter. He said,
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary. Every year they would sell horses. The Queen had brood mares of her own, she would breed them and sell them. You can’t keep them all. Every year owners sell stock. His Majesty is just doing what owners do.”
The Queen used horses as a ‘tremendous getaway’ from her other duties, according to her Racing Manager, John Warren. Representing the Highclere Stud in Hampshire, Warren said,
“I’m sure if the Queen had not been bred into being a monarch she would have found a vocation with horses. It was just simply in her DNA.”
She had inherited the Royal Stud from her father, King George VI, who set up the racehorse breeding centre at Sandringham. That is where many of her winners were bred out of and presumably will be for King Charles.
The Queen Consort Is Likely To Concentrate On Horses
King Charles has always keenly followed horse racing as a sport, though it was the Queen that had an unwavering passion for it. The former monarch bred around 180 horses, with her thoroughbreds winnings 24 races between them. Speaking to ITV about Royal Ascot, the Queen Consort praised Her Majesty’s knowledge of horses, saying,
“She can tell you every horse she’s bred and owned, from the very beginning, she doesn’t forget anything. I can hardly remember what I bred a year ago, so she’s encyclopaedic about her knowledge.”
The Queen Consort might well be putting herself down a little, given that many believe that it will be her that will predominantly take on the Queen’s role when it comes to the horses. When at Ascot in October, Camilla repeated the trick of Queen Elizabeth II when she spent time chatting with the jockeys and grooms. Camilla is also the President of the riding charity, Ebony Horse Club. Having spent her childhood doodling horses, it is fair to say that the Queen Consort is hardly new to the world of horse racing.