Plans are being put in place to ensure the Queen will be able to cheer her horses on from the royal box at the Platinum Jubilee Epsom Derby – and perhaps bag the ‘fairytale’ racing win that has so far eluded her.
Although she has been suffering increasing mobility issues and royal aides have indicated that she cannot yet commit to any of the events planned to mark her 70 historic years on the throne, it is understood that staff are ‘moving heaven and earth’ to ensure she can attend the most prestigious race meet of the year.
This includes changing the route of her official car so that it can draw up directly outside the Queen’s stand so that she only has to walk a few yards to get a lift straight up to her seat.
A source said: ‘She really is absolutely determined to attend.’
The Cazoo Derby on Saturday June 4 is one of the official national celebrations over the four-day jubilee weekend in June and one that has particular personal resonance for the monarch, who turns 96 tomorrow.
Known as the world’s most prestigious flat race, it remains the only one of the five ‘Classics’ Her Majesty is yet to win as a life-long racehorse owner, despite having finished second with Aureole in 1953 – just four days after her Coronation – and third in 2011 with Carlton House, the last horse to contest The Derby in her colours.
The Queen, who is patron of The Jockey Club and has had more than 1,800 winners globally, has three contenders in this year’s race: Reach For The Moon, who was also bred at the Royal Stud in Sandringham, Educator and General Idea.
Legendary royal jockey Willie Carson, 79, who rode the Queen’s filly Dunfermline to win two Classics – The Oaks at Epsom Downs and the St Leger – in 1977, said it would be a ‘fairytale’ for her to finally win the Derby in her Platinum Jubilee year after coming so close after her coronation 69 years ago.