The Queen may not have a runner in the Epsom Derby but she now has a horse to cheer on the day after one of her thoroughbreds was entered into a race.
Just Fine will feature in the penultimate race on Saturday and comes after three of the Queen’s horses were withdrawn from the Derby.
The Queen is no longer planning to attend the sporting event during her Platinum Jubilee weekend according to reports, as the 96-year-old monarch is said to want to pace herself during her milestone celebrations.
Her hopes of winning the Derby during her Platinum Jubilee year ended earlier in May when her horse Reach For The Moon, who was among the favourites, and two others were withdrawn.
The head of state is a passionate horse owner and breeder, and would have been looking forward to seeing her horses take on the best in the world in the famous classic.
Thoroughbreds owned by the Queen have won four out of the five flat racing classics – the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger – with only the Derby eluding her.
Reach For The Moon was returning from injury but John Gosden, the horse’s joint trainer, said the Derby had come too soon for the thoroughbred, the Racing Post reported.
The Queen’s horse Just Fine has been entered into the World Pool Northern Dancer Handicap, staged over the full Derby course and distance of one mile and four furlongs.
A final decision on whether it will run will be taken on Thursday, which is the 48-hour “declaration stage” for the race.
Hayley Turner, one of the Queen’s regular jockeys, told thejockeyclub.co.uk: “I know she’ll always watch the race. I ride for Andrew Balding and he’ll always say, ‘She’ll be watching!’
“If she’s there in person she comes to the paddock before the race and she doesn’t come back unless the horse has won. The trainer will give her the feedback.”