Queen Elizabeth II to visit Cheltenham Race Meeting on Gold Cup Day, March 13th 2009

  March 12, 2009 at 9:23 am by

The Queen unveiling a bust of the Queen Mother

Click the image to see the photo at Getty

For the first time since 2003, when she unveiled a bronze bust of her late mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, HM will make an appearance at Cheltenham Racecourse on Gold Cup Day.

The Queen Mother, a jump racing fanatic, attended the Cheltenham meeting for many years, a tradition kept alive by following generations, most notably The Princess Royal and her daughter Zara Phillips, Prince Charles, Camilla, Dutchess of Cornwall, Sophie, Countess of Wessex or Prince William.

HM, also a keen horse enthusiast, is rarely seen at jump racing events, rather at prestigious flat race meetings like the Epsom Derby or Royal Ascot later in the year, where she has had numerous runners and winners, often descending from her own royal stud.

This time, and continuing the legacy of her late mother, Queen Elizabeth II will be back – with her own runner in the Gold Cup, the most prestigious jump racing event apart from the Grand National. Barber Shop, one of the last horses bred by The Queen Mother and foaled in the year she died, 2002, represents the best opportunity the Royal Family have had to win their first Cheltenham Gold Cup. The seven year old, trained by top trainer Nicky Henderson, will be ridden by Barry Geraghty in the Queen’s distinctive colours – purple, scarlet and black.

Watching from the royal box and witnessing one of her late mother’s horses win would be an emotional occasion for HM – unfortunately one unlikely to happen. Favourites to win the race are the Paul Nicholl’s trained trio Kauto Star (Champion 2007 and runner-up 2008), Denman (Champion 2008) and Neptune Collonges (3rd in 2008). At 16-1 Barber Shop is a good bet though – it is rumoured that not only Buckingham Palace staff but also HM herself have already placed a decent wager on him.

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