UK racing has mourned the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who is recognised as horseracing’s “greatest and most influential supporter.”
Yesterday afternoon, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s patronage of British racing supporting all levels of the sport.
Queen Elizabeth was a keen breeder of racehorses and endorsed equine welfare as a global ambassador of The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Breeders Association.
BHA Chair, Joe Saumarez Smith, said: “The BHA extends our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family and all those affected by this sad news.
Racing owes an incalculable debt of gratitude, not only for Her Majesty’s dedication and commitment to the sport but for her public advocacy of it, something that doubtless has driven the sport’s popularity and attracted a great number of fans.”
There will be many who work in racing who have enjoyed relationships with Her Majesty through the training and breeding of her horses and will be grieving.”
Racing was Queen Elizabeth’s favourite sport, and since her coronation in 1952, she had served as an unwavering patron of the Royal Ascot Festival.
Ascot Racecourse issued the following statement by Chairman Sir Francis Brooke Bt: “The world of racing has lost one of its greatest supporters.
We at Ascot are privileged to have so many memories of Her Majesty The Queen at this her racecourse, including some wonderful victories in the Royal colours. We offer our deepest sympathies to His Majesty The King and the whole Royal Family.”
In 1949, at 22, Elizabeth saw her first horse Monaveen win the Chichester Chase Handicap, which ignited her passion for breeding.
Her Majesty’s champion thoroughbreds included Carrozza and Highclere and the unforgettable Estimate who won Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup in 2013.
Paul Darling OBE KC, Chairman of Horserace Betting Levy Board, said: “On behalf of the Levy Board, I extend our deepest condolences to the Royal Family. Her Majesty made an incalculable contribution to horseracing and breeding and to the horse world in a life of duty and service.”
Tomorrow the BHA will announce when racing will resume, together with additional information detailing how the sport will continue to mark the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.