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The Queen

The Queen and horse racing – an extraordinary success story of 530 winners and £7.5m in prize money


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Horses have played a huge part of The Queen’s life for the past nine decades with Her Majesty receiving her first riding lesson at just the age of three. Since then, the monarch’s adoration of horses has only continued to grow.

The 94-year-old now holds the accolade of being one of the most successful owners and breeders of all time with an impressive 531 wins next to her name according to research conducted by Royal Central.

At the time of publication, Her Majesty has saddled approximately 3,280 runners meaning she wins 16 per cent of the races she enters – a strike rate which will be the envy of any other racehorse owner.

In total, The Queen has won an estimated £7.5m in prize money owing to the success of her horses.

2019 was a particularly profitable year for Her Majesty as she earned an impressive £572,000. She wasn’t quite as successful on the racecourse in 2020 bringing in approximately £294,000 in earnings.

Although the prize money is dazzling, it should be noted that all of The Queen’s horses receive the highest standard of care which costs a serious amount of money.

Taking account of training bills, food & travel costs and vet bills, it typically costs approximately £25,000 – £30,000 to keep a racehorse in training each year.

In 2020, The Queen had an impressive 54 horses in training meaning she almost certainly spends more in the upkeep of her animals than she would ever receive back in prize money.

Of these 54 horses, 50 of them run on the flat, with Her Majesty only having four National Hunt horses in training.

Some of the trainers The Queen employs include Andrew Balding, John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute.

Nicky Henderson OBE trains the majority of Her Majesty’s jumps horses. Mr Henderson was recently appointed as a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order – a personal gift from the monarch in appreciation of his service.

The most successful of The Queen’s horses in 2020 was Tactical who amassed £59,169 in prize money. The Andrew Balding trained colt won the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot for The Queen – her biggest win in many years.

In her seven decades on the racetrack, her biggest triumph came in 2013 when her star filly, Estimate, won the Ascot Gold Cup – one of the world’s most prestigious races.

Never before had a reigning monarch won the Gold Cup. Images of the uncontrollable excitement on The Queen’s face were beamed around the world.

Indeed her win came as such a surprise that a last minute change had to be made to the trophy presentation. The Queen was due to present the prize to the winner, but thankfully, the Duke of York stepped in at the last minute to hand his mother the trophy.

According to The Queen’s Bloodstock Manager John Warren, the secret of the monarch’s success lies in her patience.

Mr Warren told Horse and Hound: “These incredibly highly charged creatures, full of blood and muscle, are developed from birth with kid gloves and the sophisticated jigsaw of trying to put all the pieces together is a constant challenge that continues to intrigue The Queen.

“To deal with the constant challenges and disappointments, as all horse people will know, the greatest asset you need to have with horses is patience – which luckily The Queen has in spades.”