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Tribute to Her Majesty the Queen

Ed Chamberlin pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen and looks back on a traumatic week for the sport of horse racing.

The race has lost its greatest friend.

What a sad day it was Thursday when news reached Doncaster that Her Majesty The Queen had died aged 96.

She has been our sport’s biggest supporter as owner, breeder, owner of Ascot, but her influence goes far, far beyond that.

One need only read the tributes paid at home and abroad over the past 24 hours to realize the impact she has had.

There is no doubt that she is the most important figure in British horse racing history. Her first winner as owner was at Fontwell in 1949 and since then she has seen every drama, scandal and crisis possible, but has been that constant constant for horse racing all this time.

Much has been done in the wonderful media coverage of her passing of her love of racing, of how the Derby and Royal Ascot were the first dates rung in her diary every year, but we must also remember that she would a regular visitor on QIPCO British Champions Day too.

In the feature film we did with his race manager John Warren on ITV for Derby Day, we learned about his love of the Newbury Spring Meeting. It was the time when she visited all her trainers and it was obvious she was hungry for information, interviewing jockeys and trainers, but above all she was clearly the most amazing listener.

Gathering all the information about her horses to add to her encyclopedic knowledge of bloodlines was a time of year she cherished.

I got an amazing glimpse around the table that day with John Warren, Sir Michael Stoute and the man she called ‘her jockey’, Ryan Moore.

Above all, what shone through was his love of the horse. She treated everyone almost like one of her children, wanting them to do their best. If a colt or filly was able to achieve a C grade, say, on the racetrack, she would be thrilled to see them realize that potential.

Nowhere was his love of the horse more evident than when Estimate won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and during the race it was wonderful to see his joy in the Royal Box – our sport at its best being broadcast to the world entire.

But immediately afterwards, she just wanted to be with her horse, to connect with the mare in the winner’s paddock. There are amazing pictures and paintings of their special one-on-one time.

The only race that eluded Her Majesty was the Derby. She came so close to Aureole, but more recently, Carlton House was the one that got away.

He suffered the setback ten days before Epsom and then everything went wrong in the race itself, but he still came within a length of winning the Classic.

It’s very sad that she passed away and the sport is unified in grief, but it’s right to celebrate her incredible life and the race should be grateful for all she has done for us.

We were the queen’s sport, she our godmother, and I fully support the decision that St Leger should take place this weekend, moving to Sunday as a sign of respect.

We’ll be on the air on ITV from 1pm to pay tribute to Her Majesty The Queen and then show a spectacular racing day from Doncaster and the Curragh.

I hope the racetrack will be flooded with families wearing union jacks to pay their respects, but also to say thank you and celebrate his most amazing life.

It’s been such a difficult week.

On Wednesday, I traveled to Ireland to pay tribute to Jack of Bromhead, who died so tragically at the age of 13 in a pony racing accident.

Just wanted the Bromhead family to know that we are thinking of them and supporting them on this side of the Irish Sea.

They have so many dark and difficult years ahead, but I hope they can take comfort in knowing that they are in our thoughts – and will remain so.

The burial was so well taken care of. I was listening in the street outside the church among hundreds and hundreds of others, from Jack’s school friends to trainers, jockeys and owners. Everyone wanted to be there.

I listened on the tannoy as the priest said: ‘Bromhead’s family have taken us to the highest of sporting heights and now to the depths of heartbreak. We support them in both.

And we go.

We are heading towards the end of an extremely difficult week for our sport – and the country too.

I will leave my last words in this column to Paddington Bear, who has said it all for everyone.

“Thank you Madam, for everything.”


Tribute to Her Majesty the Queen

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