The Anonymous Widower

The Day I Stood on the Queen

Putting up the story of the Queen’s Award Reception yesterday, reminds me of one of my other royal stories.

One Saturday, C and I were at a loose end, so we took the Cessna 340, Delta-Delta, and flew into Newbury racecourse.  It had an airstrip in those days in the centre of the course.

I,m not sure if we had a runner, but it may have been the day that Vague Shot ran in the Newbury Spring Cup, with the great, Steve Cauthen, in the saddle. When they assess the history of British racing at the end of this century and they rate the great jockeys, it will not be Lester Piggott, Frankie Dettori or Fred Archer, who will be rated the greatest, but the quiet impeccable American from Kentucky, Steve Cauthen. On the track, few could ever match his skills and especially his judgement of pace.  Vague Shot’s victory under top weight in the Royal Hunt Cup in very heavy going, could never have been achieved by any other jockey.  It was just one of many where he was totally at one with the horse in an impossible situation.  He did the same at Nottingham on a horse of ours called Golden Panda, that was named after a Chinese restaurant, which he coaxed home on the 8th of August 1988, which was a day the bookies regretted, as every Chinese restaurant in Suffolk helped themselves to odds of 12-1.

But it is Steve’s personality that made him the greatest.  To him every owner and horse was a friend to be treated the same.  If you were the local greengrocer with a horse in a selling plate, you got the same treatment as the Queen would have in a  Group race. One of my memories of Steve was of him at Haydock Park, between rides, where he spent perhaps twenty minutes talking to a young man in a wheelchair by the entrance to the weighing room. How many sportsmen would do that?

But to return to that day at Newbury and the Queen.  We were in the paddock with the trainer of Vague Shot, Clive Brittain, waiting to put the jockey up on one of his runners.  A horse in front of us, decided to rear up and as one does, C and I took a few steps back. However, at the same time another horse spooked at something and did the same thing, with those in between taking avoiding action.

I ended up stepping on the Queen.  When I realised what I had done, I apologised profusely.

She just gave a knowing smile, put a finger to her mouth and walked to a safer place.

December 9, 2010 - Posted by | Sport | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] At least I didn’t embarrass myself as I did in another meeting with the Queen, I wrote about in The Day I Stood on the Queen. […]

    Pingback by The Day I Shook Hands With The Duke Of Edinburgh « The Anonymous Widower | April 12, 2021 | Reply

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