Where, and when, did the Queen have her first winner as an owner?

Where, and when, did the Queen have her first winner as an owner?  Queen Elizabeth II was a fan of horse racing from a young age and her love affair with the sport has endured throughout her reign. In fact, Her Majesty was one of the most famous, and well informed, owner-breeders in the country and reportedly read the ‘Racing Post’ over breakfast every morning.

Down the years, the Queen had been fortunate to own several notable performers, including Carrozza, who won the Oaks in 1957, Pall Mall, who won the 2,000 Guineas in 1958, and Highclere, who won the 1,000 Guineas in 1974, to name but three. Indeed, twice during her reign, in 1954 and 1957, she won the British Flat Owners’ Championship.

However, the first racehorse the Queen, or rather Princess Elizabeth, as she was at the time, owned was a steeplechaser and she did so jointly with her mother, the Queen consort. Princess Elizabeth’s interest in National Hunt racing was apparently piqued by popular amateur rider Anthony Bingham Mildmay, second Lord Mildmay of Flete, who stayed at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot in 1949.

In any event, trainer Peter Cazalet found and acquired an eight-year-old Irish-bred gelding called Monaveen, who had run in the 1949 Grand National, on behalf of his Royal patrons. Monaveen made his debut for his new connections on October 10, 1949 in the Chichester Handicap Chase at Fontwell Park where, ridden by stable jockey Tony Grantham, he beat two opponents with plenty in hand.


Who was the first woman to train the winner of the St. Leger?

Who was the first woman to train the winner of the St. Leger?  The St. Leger is run over 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 115 yards on Town Moor, Doncaster in early September each year. Established in 1776, by the eponymous Major‐General Anthony St Leger, on Cantley Common, east of Doncaster, the St. Leger is the oldest of the five British Classics.

Remarkably, it was not until September 10, 2016, 240 years after the inaugural running, that Epsom trainer Laura Mongan became the first woman to saddle the winner of the St. Leger. On that occasion, Mongan sent out the Lawman colt Harbour Law who, according to official ratings, had 18lb to find with the odds-on favourite, Idaho, and was consequently sent off 22/1 seventh choice of the nine runners.

However, in an eventful race, Idaho stumbled and unseated jockey Seamie Heffernan with three furlongs to run, leaving Harbour Law to fight out the finish with Ventura Storm and Housesofparliament, who were officially rated 9lb and 11lb superior, respectively. Nevertheless, once galvanised by jockey George Baker in the final furlong, Harbour Law stayed in well to lead close home and beat Ventura Storm by three-quarters of a length, with Housesofparliament just a short head further behind in third place. After a stewards inquiry, the placings remained unaltered.

Reflecting on her historic victory, Mongan said, ‘It was brilliant. I think I screamed a lot. I’m in shock.’

Who was Fred Winter?

Who was Fred Winter?  The late Fred Winter dominated the world of National Hunt racing between the early Fifties and the early Eighties, first as a jockey and afterwards as a trainer. He is rightly remembered as one of the greats of the sport and is commemorated by the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, run annually at the Cheltenham Festival.

Winter was champion jockey four times, including three in a row between 1955 and 1957, and champion trainer eight times, including five in a row between 1971 and 1975. Indeed, he remains the only person to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand National and Champion Hurdle as a jockey and as a trainer.

At the time of his retirement from the saddle in April, 1964, Winter had ridden a then-record 932 winners. He began training at Uplands Stables in Lambourn, Berkshire with just five horses and, by his own admission, ‘no idea’ about his training ability. Nevertheless, he won the Grand National with Jay Trump in his first season as a trainer and again, with Anglo, in his second. Winter had to wait a little longer for his one and only Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Midnight Court, in 1978, but by that time had already won the Champion Hurdle three times, with Bula in 1971 and 1972 and Lanzarote in 1974.

Sadly, in August, 1987, Winter suffered a stroke, which left him wheelchair-bound and unable to speak or write. He was forced to cede his licence to Charlie Brooks, but had saddled 1,557 winners, imcluding 28 at the Cheltenham Festival.

When was Godolphin founded?

When was Godolphin founded?  Of course, Godolphin is the global thoroughbred breeding and racing operation founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who became Ruler of Dubai in 2006, following the death of his elder brother, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Godolphin was named after the ‘Godolphin Arabian’, one of the three foundation sires from which all thoroughbreds are descended.

In the winter of 1992/93, Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Maktoum and their two brothers took the hitherto unprecendented step of moving their horses to Al Quoz, Dubai where, even in winter, the average daytime temperature is a comfortably warm 25ºC. By 1994, Godolphin had become an international operation, famously winning its first Classic, the Oaks, with Balanchine, and two years later, in 1996, became champion owner in Britain for the first time.

Of course, the Maktoum family was well known to the British racing public long before the foundation of Godolphin. Indeed, Sheikh Mohammed and his elder brother Sheikh Hamdan, who established Shadwell Racing in 1981, had already been champion owner in Britain eight times between them before the first-ever Godolphin runner, Cutwater, won at Nad Al Sheba, Dubai on Christmas Eve, 1992.

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