As The World Celebrate Queen’s Seventieth Jubilee, Stoute’s Crown Wins Derby

All the jockeys who have worn The Queen’s distinctive colours paraded at Epsom to mark the Platinum Jubilee

This weekend has been an historic one for us in the UK but really, for the whole world as the celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee took place. Aidan O’Brien broke yet another record by winning the most number of British classic races ever with Tuesday in the Oaks. Sir Michael Stoute took the Derby in emphatic style with Desert Crown.

The magnificence of the British ceremonial pageantry was on full display for H. M The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  The nation, nay, the world celebrated The Monarch’s seventy years on the throne over four days. Days, which in Great Britain were full of joy and thanks for a single person who has given so much to the nation and the world in the dedication of Her whole life to others.

The Coldstream Guards at The Trooping The Colour who are famed for immaculate turnout and ceremonial duties

The events kicked off with the Trooping The Colour, a military parade in London celebrating the Monarch’s official birthday. This year was extra special for two reasons, the first, obviously it was the start of the platinum jubilee celebrations, but secondly, it was the first time the parade could be held in London for three years due to the covid pandemic. Buckingham Palace announced that The Queen would not attend the parade in person due to her mobility difficulties at the age of 96, but She would appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles took her place to take the salute at the parade as Her representative. It was the first time The Queen missed the parade in Her reign. The last time the monarch missed the Trooping The Colour parade was in 1951, when The Queen stood in for her father King George VI as he was too weak to attend himself. Following the parade, The Queen with all the ‘working’ members of the Royal Family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the special flypast of 70 aircraft. The crowds, ten deep along the Mall were allowed to travel up to the Palace for a better view. There must have been well over 100,000 well-wishers, all of whom enjoyed the spectacle of the flypast, but more especially to see their monarch looking well and happy.

In the evening, Her Majesty lit a beacon at Windsor Castle, the first of some 1600 beacons of fire to be lit throughout the land, but that was a fraction of the total number lit throughout the world and especially the 54 members of the Commonwealth countries.

Tens of thousands of well wishers for Her Majesty

The second day of celebrations started with a service of thanksgiving at St Pauls Cathedral, sadly missed by The Queen as Her exertions on the first day had left her even less mobile than normal. Again Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales represented his Mother at the service – again full of pomp and circumstance with rousing music, hymns, prayers and poems of thanksgiving. Just a few hours later, at Epsom, the third British classic of the season was run; The Oaks. This is a race for three year old fillies only and is over 1 ½ miles over the testing Epsom Downs course.

The Oaks had eleven runners lining up before the starter, and on paper certainly, this looked quite an open race. The betting had Emily Upjohn as quite a hot favourite after her explosive win of the Musidora Stakes at York in May. The second favourite, Nashwa was ridden by Holly Doyle and looking to be the first female rider to win a classic – with some decent chance. Both fillies are trained by John and Thady GosdenAiden O’Brien was also looking to collect his tenth Oaks winner as well as breaking the record for the most number of British classics ever trained by the same trainer. He had four runners with his son Joseph providing a fifth for the O’Brien team. The best of his runners was arguably Tuesday, who has run in two classics already this term in England and Ireland and was 3rd and 2nd  respectively. It also happened to be the filly’s actual third birthday. She was a late foal by the great Galileo out of Lillie Langtry, already dam of Minding and Empress Josephine, both classic winning fillies in their own right. Others of note before the off for this year’s contest were Concert Hall, another blue blooded individual trained by Aidan and the Charlie Appleby trained With The Moonlight. The preliminaries went well for all the runners, although Frankie Dettori had permission to take Emily Upjohn down to the start early as she can be difficult.

Aidan O’Brien’s Tuesday give the trainer a record number of British classic wins. (on right)

All calm and collected as the last one was installed; but when the gates opened, the favourite somehow missed the brake and tripped, nearly falling over completely and as a result was some way behind the rest of the field. Frankie Dettori never panicked, he just let her cruise up to the rest of the pack without exerting any undue pressure, which by the time half of the race had been run, Emily Upjohn had achieved. Tuesday was held up in the rear by Ryan Moore until into the straight when she went to the front. Frankie Dettori started his bid to get closer as soon as he was in the straight and came through strongly, but had to go around the whole field on the outside. This manoeuvre was not helped by Kawida ridden by Jim Crowley, who drifted further and further out, taking Emily Upjohn with him. Despite this, finally, Frankie was in the clear and coming at a storming rate down the outside managed to head Tuesday. In a thrilling finish, Tuesday rallied and in the final 200 yards, again took the lead, just, and at the line, Emily Upjohn was on the wrong end of the stride, whereas Tuesday was not which gave Tuesday the race by a very short head. Frankie’s disappointment was palpable, and by rights, he should have won but ‘that’s racing’ as they say! The third home was Holly Doyle on Nashwa – so we will have to wait more time for the first female jockey to win a classic!

What they all hoped to win – The Derby Trophy

Meanwhile, the jubilee celebrations continued, and day three of the jamboree, was Derby Day. The Queen originally had three horses entered in this year’s Epsom Derby, but two weren’t going to make the grade, and as we reported a couple of weeks ago, Reach for the Moon, a real live contender to give Her Majesty her final classic winner, was withdrawn. Buckingham Palace announced and confirmed press rumours that The Queen would not be attending the Derby this year due to Her infirmness. Very sad for the racing community, but there it is! Originally to be the centre piece of the jubilee celebrations was now rather in tatters, but the show went on anyway. One of the main pieces of celebration was to be all the jockeys, who had ridden Her Majesty’s horses in the Royal colours were to parade – in her colours, and thankfully, despite The Queen not being there in person, the plan held firm and it was a very emotional pageant of jockeys from the 1950s and on. As The Queen was unable to attend in person, The Princess Royal, Princess Anne with Zara Tindall were the guests of honour.

A final twist to the arrangements for this year’s Derby was very last minute.  With the death of the famous and most winning jockey of the Derby, Lester Piggott, the race was renamed in his honour. For this year only, The Epsom Derby would be known as The Cazoo Derby in memory of Lester Piggott.

Lester Piggott, in who’s memory the Derby was run this year

After his scintillating performance at York in the Dante Stakes, Sir Michael Stoutes’ charge, Desert Crown was the favourite to give Sir Michael his sixth Derby triumph. This year, there were seventeen runners, more than usual, but probably because it ended up being one of the most open Derbys for some years as the main protagonists, including Reach for the Moon had had to be withdrawn.  Others of note before the off were Stone Age, one of four in the race for the O’Brien contingent, and ridden by Ryan Moore. Others of note was Nations Pride – very apt considering the jubilee weekend – trained by Charlie Appleby and another O’Brien horse, Changingoftheguard.

In the parade ring, two horses stood out in terms of how well they looked. The first was Desert Crown and the second was Stone Age. There were few problems during the preliminaries for any of the seventeen runners although both Royal Patronage and Stone Age both got rather warmer at the start than the others. Unlike the Oaks, there were no mishaps as the gates opened with all coming out to an even break. Changingoftheguard took the field along until midway through the race – up the steep incline from the start to the 1 mile pole before the decent to Tattenham corner, by which time the main protagonists were lining up for the straight. Star of India and Glory Days were in touch until the pressure really came on when both rather dropped away.

Sir Michael Stoute takes his sixth Derby

Desert Crown was in fifth position at the three furlong marker when jockey Richard Kingscote asked the horse to get down to business. For only the third run in his life, the Sir Micael Stoute horse behaved like a consummate professional and easily went to the front. From the two furlong marker to the end, Desert Crown was never to be denied winning by a margin of 2 ½ lengths. Second home was Hoo Ya Mal trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by David Probert. He held on just, with the fast coming Westover, trained by Ralph Beckett and ridden by another first time jockey to ride in the race, Rob Hornby. It ended up being a convincing win for the winner, as well as a very popular one seeing the great trainer Sir Michael Stoute come back after a few years in the wilderness. It was the first Derby win for Sir Michael for twelve years and his sixth winner of the race. There is no doubt that Desert Crown is going to be one of the top three year old horses in the world this year. With only three runs under his belt and three wins, including an Epsom Derby – the world is at his feet.

HM Queen on Balcony at Buckingham Palace to end Jubilee celebrations

The people of the UK completed their collective thanks to Her Majesty for Her devotion to duty for the last seventy years with an amazing concert outside Buckingham Palace and a Royal Pageant through the streets of London ending up outside The Palace. Meanwhile in France, the French Derby over 1 mile 2 furlongs took place at Chantilly in Paris. There were a plethora of Group and listed races on the card. In the Prix du Jockey Club, (French Derby) there were fifteen runners headed by favourite from the UK and the Appleby stable, Modern Games. Several of the fifteen runners were prominent throughout the early stages of the race including Modern Games, El Bodegon trained by James Ferguson, Machete under the charge of Francois Chappet and the Andre Fabre trained Ancient Rome. El Bodegon and Modern Games were asked to finish the race. But Vadeni, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and ridden by Christophe Soumillon for The Aga Khan was always prominent, changed gear to take the lead easily when asked to win by 5 lengths as an easy winner. In fact from the 2 furlong marker, the race was in no doubt. Vadeni, another Derby winner with the world at his feet took the race with El Bodegon in second and Modern Games in third. The win for Vadeni gave Churchill his first Group 1 winner.

images courtsey BBC and Reuters

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