Matters of Racing Royalty. How One protests against The Queen. No foot kissing allowed.

June 25, 2016

It’s fair to say that The Queen and I were in contrasting states, as we waited for the late-night protest.

Her Majesty had taken a large cup of tea. I had taken a large bucket of wine.

She was in a magnificent blue dress, on the lawns of Royal Ascot. I was in my Cowboys T-shirt. In bed. Eating biscuits.

I’d arrived home in fine spirits, with the Moon high, to find world class racing on the box. And money in the account.

That’s when I had my Royal Encounter.

The Queen owns Dartmouth, who was first past the post in the Hardwicke Stakes.

I had twenty bucks on Highland Reel, who finished an unlucky lip away second. The stewards called an Inquiry. Which is Royal Ascot-speak for delaying things a few minutes until Her Majesty takes the trophy.

I had hoped that the protest hearing would be fair and telling, despite the players involved.

Those hopes faded ever so slightly, as my jockey kissed The Queen’s feet.

As the stewards grilled the race participants, I noticed a bloke hovering towards the rear of the room. I’d never seen his equivalent at Randwick.

He may or may not have been An Executioner. The large shiny sharp thing gave the game away. He seemed to be looking directly at my trainer.

I struggled to hear all the evidence, because the Stewards broke into a chorus of God Save The Queen as the video replay hit the furlong.

Once I saw them taking Royal selfies, I’d accepted my fate.

While I was gracious in defeat that night, there’ll be no such niceties if we don’t claim a different piece of Royal silverware at Eagle Farm this afternoon.

The Azkadellia camp would still be having nightmares, after their Stradbroke plan sank into the shifting track on day one back at headquarters.

I’m tipping the dreams will be more pleasant tonight, as the mare romps away with the Tatts Tiara.

The simple fact is, she’s better than these. By a stretch.

Watch for her flying down the outside, to win the final Group One of the season.

Only bad luck can beat her. Or owners who can make stewards sing.

I’ll be watching carefully if there’s a protest. The first hint of feet-kissing, and you’ll find me back eating those biscuits.

A right Royal celebration. How I helped the Queen party after Royal Ascot.

June 22, 2013

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.