The Queen will be filled with “inner pride” at being inducted into the British Flat racing hall of fame in recognition of her lifelong commitment to horses, her top racing advisor has said.
John Warren, bloodstock and racing advisor to the Queen, paid tribute to her “deep understanding” of training and breeding, saying her “fascination is unwavering”.
The Queen has become the first person hailed as "special contributor" in the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame, in recognition of her support for the industry and the global investment it can attract thanks to her interest.
She will be presented with a specially-commissioned medal, designed by Asprey. One of the judges, Brough Scott, said the panel is “thrilled that Her Majesty has honoured us by accepting the invitation to be inducted into the Hall of Fame”, adding: “Racing has never had, never will have, so great a supporter."
The Hall of Fame is chosen by an independent panel of flat racing experts to recognise “modern greats from 1970 to the present day” – either people or horses – with the Queen joining champion horse Frankel and jockey Lester Piggott in its inaugural year.
The Queen leading her Oaks winner Carrozza in 1957, with Lester Piggott in the saddle
A spokesman for the British Champions Series said the Queen’s love of racing had “attracted widespread interest and global investment in the sport, while her attendance on racedays continues to excite spectators and create immensely special occasions for British horseracing”.
John Warren, who has worked with the Queen for 27 years, said: “I suspect that The Queen will have a lot of inner pride in being invited into the Hall of Fame.
“The Queen’s contribution to racing and breeding derives from a lifelong commitment.
“Her love of horses and their welfare comes with a deep understanding of what is required to breed, rear, train and ride a thoroughbred.
“Her Majesty’s fascination is unwavering and her pleasure derives from all of her horses – always accepting the outcome of their ability so gracefully.”
The Duke of Edinburgh presents The Queen with The Queen's Vase after her horse Estimate won at Royal Ascot in 2012
Credit: Dan Abraham
Sir Francis Brooke, the Queen’s representative at Ascot Racecourse, said: “The inclusion of the Queen within the Hall of Fame recognises her unique contribution to the world of racing, not only as an enthusiast, but also as a successful owner and breeder and as its most important patron.”
The Queen’s purple, gold braid and scarlet colours, used by her father and great-grandfather before her, have recorded more than 1,800 winners since 1949.
She has twice made Champion Flat Owner in Great Britain, in 1954 and 1957, and is known to possess an encyclopaedic knowledge of the bloodlines involved in each of her horses.
She has bred and owned the winner of every British Classic – 2000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas, The Oaks and the St Leger – apart from The Derby, but is hoping for a win at Epsom to mark her Platinum Jubilee next year.
Sir Michael Stoute, who has trained more than 100 winners for the Queen throughout his career, said: "Her Majesty will be thrilled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"She richly deserves it because her contribution has been enormous. She loves it so much.
"I’ve found that training for The Queen comes with no pressure. Because of her understanding, her deep knowledge and her thirst for more.
She’s always thinking ahead – what I’m going to do with this animal? Am I going to breed it? Who should I breed it to? Temperament, speed, stamina.
"She’s fascinated with the whole idea and we must remember, it’s a very long time that she’s been doing it."
Ryan Moore, a three-time champion jockey who has ridden 71 winners for the Queen, said of riding Estimate to Gold Cup victory in 2013: “You can see with The Queen how much it means to her; the way she smiles when she’s looking at her horses, the enjoyment she was getting out of that.
“People want to see her do well and winning the Gold Cup, it’s hard to top that. It was such a special day.”
The Queen’s entry in the Hall of Fame reads: "The Queen’s lifetime love of horses has never diminished, with her devotion as a passionate fan, an owner, breeder and ambassador unwavering."
It described her as a "treasured figurehead" who "has been part of racing’s fabric for as long as anyone can remember".
It also references the monarch’s personal view on racing which she shared in a 1974 BBC documentary.
The Queen said: "My philosophy about racing is simple. I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people’s. And to me, that is a gamble from a long way back."
For almost seven decades, the Queen had been as regular a fixture at Royal Ascot but in June, for the first time in her long reign, she opted to watch the spectacle on television, leaving the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to lead the royal charge.
The Hall of Fame was launched in 2021 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the QIPCO British Champion Series.