Queen's Derby hopes suffer setback after her best horse forced out of race

3 May 2022, 14:54 | Updated: 3 May 2022, 15:19

Queen's best Derby horse forced to withdraw
Queen's best Derby horse forced to withdraw. Picture: Alamy

By Stephen Rigley

The Queen suffered a huge setback in her long-cherished dream of winning the Derby after her top horse was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Reach For The Moon was fancied by many to a horse who could finally reward the monarch with one of horse racing’s biggest prizes. 

The Queen's horses have so far managed to finish second, third and fifth but the top prize has always eluded her and it would be a royal fairytale if she managed to land the face in her platinum jubilee year.

A royal Derby win would have added to the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of the Queen, with the Classic coming on the third day of an especially extended four-day Bank Holiday.

The horse suffered an injury late last year which meant he had a period of rest and hasn’t been seen on the racetrack since September.

Queen admires Reach for the Moon before race last year
Queen admires Reach for the Moon before race last year. Picture: Alamy
Reach for the Moon
Reach for the Moon. Picture: Alamy

Before his withdrawal was announced, the horse which is trained by John Gosden and due to be ridden by Frankie Dettori was third favourite at 7-1 for the Epsom showpiece race.

John Gosden told the Racing Post said: "Following a setback last autumn, Reach For The Moon has been given all the time and care he requires in his training programme.

"We had planned to run him in the Dante Stakes at York next week. However, in the best interests of the horse we have decided that this race is coming too soon for him. Consequently, he will not run in the Derby and will be pointed towards Royal Ascot."

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The Queen does have two other horses entered in the Derby, albeit they are big outsiders, and may not even line up in the race on the day.

Educator and General Idea are both trained by William Haggas. Their careers have been unremarkable so far, although for now the dream is still alive of a royal winner in 2022.