Queen’s horse Reach For The Moon will race in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, trainer John Gosden has confirmed. The colt missed the Epsom Derby and was redirected to the big summer meeting
The Queen’s ‘great’ wisdom in horse fitness inspired the training of her number one hopeful for Royal Ascot.
Reach For The Moon, the bookmakers’ favorite for the Hampton Court Stakes, is in preparation for John Gosden’s big Newmarket appointment.
After the colt suffered an injury last September, time ran out to bring him to the Derby in top form. His absence meant the Queen was without a rider in the only classic flat she failed to win as owner, the Platinum Jubilee weekend.
Reach For The Moon started its season with a second-place finish at Sandown in May, where it set out to do all the racing under Frankie Dettori. The match royal was then identified as his next target – and Gosden said that with Her Majesty’s patient approach, hopes are high that he can perform to the best of his ability on June 16.
“The great thing about Her Majesty, both owner and breeder of the horse – she said ‘you’re doing what’s right for the horse,'” Gosden said.
“So it was quite obvious that pushing and forcing to get to Epsom was the wrong thing.
“He got a little tired in the Heron (Stakes, Sandown, May 19) but he ran a great race to be second there. I was delighted with that and then we can carry on to Ascot and run a mile and a quarter.
“He could go a mile and a half in time, but he just wasn’t going to make it (Epsom). We’re doing the right thing by the horse, I’m happy with him and we’re looking forward to the Hampton To research.”
Reach For The Moon, who had been installed as one of the Derby favourites, was injured during a routine gallop at Newmarket. Gosden added that his charge spent around three months recuperating at stud at Sandringham Estate, before returning to training.
“It’s a long way back from that stuff,” Gosden added. “It’s a good thing he came back, it’s a testament to the horse and the care he received. He’s quite a character, he loves to play, he has a lot of spirit in him.
“Hopefully he puts a big point in there and we don’t have too wide a draw.”
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The Queen delighted fans by making an appearance at Royal Ascot last year. Reach For The Moon finished second in the Chesham Stakes, a highlight of the reigning monarch’s best 12 months for winners.
The Queen’s tally reached 36 in total as the runners collected over £500,000 in prize money. Next week the famous royal silks could also be worn by talented sprinter King’s Lynn and three-year-old filly Perfect Alibi.