Which horse was Princess Anne’s first winner?
Anne, Princess Royal, who turned 70 in August, 2020, became an accomplished equestrian at an early age. In 1971, at the age of 21, she won an individual gold medal at Eventing European Championship at Burghley and, in 1976, competed for the British equestrian team at the Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Later, Princess Anne also rode, under both codes, as a amateur jockey. Indeed, her mud-spattered visage was once mistaken for that of John Reid by Emlyn Hughes during a memorable episode of ‘Question of Sport’. After twelve unsuccessful attempts, she rode her first winner, Gulfland, trained by Gavin Pritchard-Gordon, to a 5-length victory in the Mommessin Amateur Riders’ Stakes at Redcar in August, 1986.
Princess Anne went on to ride a total of five winners on the Flat, including Ten No Trumps, trained by Bill O’Gorman, in the prestigious Dresden Diamond Stakes at Ascot in July, 1987 and Insular, trained by Ian Balding, in the Queen Mother’s Cup at York the following June. She also went agonising close to winning the Contrac Computer Supplies Ladies Handicap at Beverley in August, 1989. Her mount, Tender Type, trained by Richard Whitaker, was eventually beaten two short heads by the winner, Waterlow Park, having been impeded at a crucial stage. Winning jockey Clare Balding later recalled, ‘Oh God, I thought. I’ve carved someone up. At least it wasn’t the Princess Royal. She’d never swear like that.’
Under National Hunt rules, Princess Anne rode just one winner, Cnoc Na Cuille, trained by David Nicholson, in the Droitwich Handicap Chase at Worcester in September 1987. However, she did also have the satisfaction of owning Cnoc Na Cuille.