This weekend, Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 90th birthday, and what a 90 years it’s been!
The young Elizabeth received news of her father’s death in February 1952 whilst staying in a remote part of Kenya. She has since become the longest reigning monarch in the history of the UK, overtaking the record set by Queen Victoria in September last year.
But did you know that the Queen is an avid horseracing fan, and owns several top-class thoroughbreds? Not only that, but she has also enjoyed 71 wins at the famous Ascot Races in Berkshire.
The first Ascot race meeting
In 1711, Queen Anne was riding her horse near Windsor Castle and came across an unused area of open heath. She commented that the area would be ideal for horses to gallop at full speed. It was later that year, on the 11th August, that the first race meeting at Ascot took place.
Queen Elizabeth II’s first win at Ascot
In 1953, Choir Boy was the first Royal Ascot winner owned by the Queen. Doug Smith, one of the leading champion jockeys at the time, rode the horse to victory.
The young Queen was accompanied to the races by the Queen Mother and Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent.
Estimate win 2013
The first Gold Cup success for a reigning monarch was won by the Queen in 2013, when four year old Estimate crossed the finish line. It was jockey Ryan Moore who rode the horse to victory.
The Queen won £155,000, which she distributed between Sir Michael Stoute, who trained the horse, Mr Moore and other who were involved in the win.
As the Queen was due to present the trophy to the winner on the day, it was her son the Duke of York who stepped in and presented her with the gold cup.
2013 was Estimate’s second win for the Queen, his first being the previous year. Other horses that have won more than once include Whitechapel, Aureole and Optimistic.
Facts about the Queen at Ascot
- Ryan Moore, the jockey who rode Choir Boy to victory in 1953, has enjoyed the success of winning for the Queen four times.
- In 1955, the race was moved forward a day, at the Queen’s request.
- The most recent winner for the Queen was Dartmouth, in 2015.