My phone rang seconds after they crossed the line.
I knew who it would be. The Royal Britannia call alert confirmed it. Her Majesty just can’t help Herself.
“Did you see, did you see?”, the Queen asked, going close to losing that dignified tone we know so well.
Indeed I did Ma’am. I had watched her flying filly Estimate cross the line to win the Gold Cup.
The cameras told it all. High in the Royal box, they captured the smile of a successful owner. It doesn’t matter who you are, that thrill of victory is impossible to hide.
Those around the Queen forgot about protocol. There was jumping, and yelling. Like any winning camp.
I reminded Her Majesty she was supposed to present the cup. Was there a Plan B? Of course there was. One of the children was down there somewhere. There was no way she was missing out on this. The first Monarch to win her own race.
Mid-sentence, the call ended. That happens often between us. More than likely a security issue. Some bloke from MI5 cutting the line to Brisbane yet again.
You might not be aware, but the Queen loves racing in Australia. And I happen to be her main contact. There are frequent calls and texts.
When Beartracker won at Eagle Farm a few years back, the Royal congratulations were swift. ‘We are happy for you. Wish we’d taken the 10s last night.’
The messages weren’t so positive during Pintuck’s well-publicised battle with wet tracks last year. Apparently Prince Charles had taken a liking to the giant gelding, and was losing plenty of the Royal inheritance. ‘We are not amused. Find a dry track or you might be visiting the Tower. Permanently.’
Try telling that to the trainer. Rob Heathcote just shook his head, and made mention of the evils of rum.
As I pondered that strange conversation, the phone rang again. The presentation was finished, and Her Majesty wanted a chat. It’s what winning owners do.
I asked if she was going to have a tipple in the committee room? “One would love to, but these pesky cameras are still following me. It will have to be a cup of tea. Tell me, what did you do after the Bear’s great victory at headquarters?”
“Well Ma’am, funny you ask. They were serving the beer in seven-ounce glasses. So we had seven. Then they told us we had to go, because race two was about to start.”
“So you won the first race? One can imagine how that day ended up.”
As usual in such conversations, I played down our shenanigans. It’s not the done thing to let the Queen know you were singing The Gambler as they were coming back to scale after the last.
“Your Majesty, make sure you enjoy the moment. Soak it in. Remember us after Pintuck’s one and only win. We thought there would be plenty more. Now he’s a prancing showjumper. And we haven’t been back in the committee room.”
Security were obviously worried, because the line went dead once more. It was time for bed. I was happy for a fellow owner.
It showed that racing is not about the money. Last time I looked, the Queen wasn’t short of a quid. But nothing could buy the excitement of that victory.
The joy of racehorse ownership, on show for all to see. If only Her Majesty had been allowed to break into a bit of Kenny Rogers at the end of the day. I’ll explain it to her on our next call.