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.