Stoute wants another crowning moment in the Piggott derby.

Queen Elizabeth II, Lester Piggott and Michael Stoute are indelibly linked to the Epsom Derby and accordingly all three will be front and center at Saturday’s renewal, which is part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Queen decided not to take part in the ‘Blue Riband’ on Friday, which is named in honor of Piggott, who won a record nine derbies as a jockey and died last Sunday aged 86 and whose favorite Desert Crown is coached by five-time winner Stoute becomes .

Aside from the 2020 and 2021 derbies affected by Covid-19, she has only missed the race in 1956 and 1984 in her 70-year tenure.

However, she will tune in to watch a race she has always longed to win but came closest when Aureole was four lengths behind Pinza in 1953.

“It is a rare occasion that the Queen is unable to join us at Epsom Downs but we are delighted that she is planning to enjoy Derby Day on television,” said Phil White, director of the Jockey Club.

There will be many reminders of the Queen’s close relationship with sport – her love for it is so great that she starts every morning by reading the Racing Post.

Five of her former racehorses will parade and 40 jockeys who have ridden for her during her reign will stand as a ‘guard of honor’ in her colours, a purple and scarlet jacket with gold braid and a black cap.

Piggott competed in Epsom like no other rider in the 20th century or this one – he won his first derby in 1954 at Never Say Die aged just 18 – and the racecourse pulls out all the stops to honor the ‘Long Fellow’.

The jockeys will wear black armbands and there will be one minute of applause on Saturday at 15:00 GMT, half an hour before the race is scheduled to start.

“Running The Derby in his memory, which we believe has not been done in the previous 242 editions of the race, is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest jockeys of modern times,” said White.

– ‘No more spring chicken’ –

At 76, Stoute is around 20 years younger than the Queen and gave her one of the greatest moments in racing with his first derby win in 1981.

The ultimately ill-fated Shergar, whom the Barbados-born trainer calls a “freak”, demolished his rivals in a 10-long rampage – John Matthias, the jockey of runner-up Glint of Gold, was so far behind that he momentarily thought he had done it won.

Whether Desert Crown has this offbeat talent remains to be seen, but Stoute doesn’t have the don qujote mentality to take on impossible challenges with his horses.

While he may not have had the firepower in his youth, his close friend, West Indian cricket legend Michael Holding says the old lad still has plenty of top wins to his name.

“Desert Crown could potentially win the derby and that would show people, yes, he’s not a jumping chicken anymore, but he hasn’t lost his talent,” Holding told AFP.

Desert Crown was drawn into stable 12 – from where Serpentine and Australia broke out to win the 2020 and 2014 race respectively – and meet 16 rivals in the biggest field since 2017.

Stoute is trailing three derby winners behind Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien, who has three runners led by Stone Age.

O’Brien, like his fellow coaches, is yet to win a Colt (male) classic this season as the English, Irish and French 2000 Guineas have all been worn by Charlie Appleby.

The rivalry between Appleby and O’Brien develops into that of Stoute and the late Henry Cecil, who dominated the middle of the Queen’s reign.

Appleby, 46, saddles three and is looking for three wins in the last five heats, with Nations Pride being the most popular after being raised for £75,000 ($94,000).

“It’s the one race everyone wants to win,” said Appleby, whose words will resonate with the Queen.

“The English Derby is the ultimate for any owner, trainer, breeder or jockey.

“More importantly for the boys on the farm, it keeps them warm through the winter.”


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