The Queen’s ambition to win the Derby in her Platinum Jubilee year has been thrown into doubt after her horse sustained a leg injury during training.
As I told you a few months ago, Her Majesty had high hopes for her colt Reach for the Moon romping home after good results saw him installed as second favorite for the classic race next June.
But the horse will now miss the rest of the season in England and face a race against time to get fit for the big day.
Trainer John Gosden revealed: “He sustained an injury during a routine canter and went to the vets to be checked out.
“He’s out for the rest of the season but hopefully we can get him back for 2022.”
Winning the Derby would give the Queen more pleasure than anything else during her celebrations of 70 years on the throne.
She has been racing horses since 1952 and has won FOUR of the FIVE classic races in England — the Oaks, the One Thousand Guineas, the St Leger and the Two Thousand Guineas.
But the closest she has come to winning the Derby, first run in 1780 on Epsom Downs south of London, was in her Coronation Year of 1953 when her horse Aureole was runner-up.
Top jockey Frankie Dettori, famous for his leap from saddles after victories, has been riding Reach for the Moon and says: “He was quite babyish at the beginning of his career but he's getting better and better.
“He has got a good size, a wonderful stride and he has got gears.
“He is a very exciting prospect.”
Slightly nervous before races — he wears a hood to the start — he is a product of the Queen’s extensive breeding program and was sired by an all-time great Sea the Stars.
One racing expert told me: “This is the best chance for the Queen for many years and a win at 96 in her Platinum year would be the icing on the cake of her racing career.”
The Queen will only have one chance at her “moon shot” — horses racing in the Classics have to be three years old and cannot race in them more than once.
Punters seem sanguine about his prospects despite the injury — he remains third favorite on 16-1.