Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most decorated owners in the history of Flat racing, and yet victory in the Derby still eludes her.
There were hopes that Reach for the Moon would end a lengthy hoodoo that dates back six decades – winning the Derby at Epsom on, of all weekends, Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations of June 4.
But the three-year-old is still recovering from the injury that he suffered last season, and so John Gosden has had no choice but to withdraw Reach for the Moon from the Derby reckoning.
“Following a setback last autumn, Reach For The Moon has been given all the time and care he requires in his training programme,” Gosden confirmed to The Racing Post.
“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.”
The Solario Stakes winner was thought to be a decent contender for the Epsom renewal, and had been slotted in behind Luxembourg and New London as the third favourite for the Classic.
Aidan O’Brien, who has enjoyed more Derby winners than any other trainer in history, could add a ninth Epsom champion to his name with Luxembourg, who impressed despite finishing third in the 2,000 Guineas in April.
He’s the 5/2 favourite ahead of New London, who has won twice in a row for Charlie Appleby and comes from the formidable Godolphin stable.
Could the Queen Finally Win The Derby?
Any hopes of a long bank holiday weekend to remember for the Queen have somewhat been dashed by the absence of Reach for the Moon at Epsom.
She had two other horses, Educator and General Idea, on the docket to contest the Derby on her Platinum Jubilee weekend, however The Telegraph is now reporting that both of those will also miss out.
Either way, it’s likely that they would have to improve significantly to be competitive in Group 1 company, although Educator has now won both of his last two starts – the most recent by a nose in a Class 3 renewal at Newmarket.
It’s a huge shame for British racing that a potentially front page story – a positive one, for once – will now not take place, although there’s plenty for fans of the action on the Flat to savour.
Luxembourg stayed on well in the 2,000 Guineas, while the Godolphin-Appleby connection has accounted for two of the last four Derby champions – Masar in 2018 and Adayar in 2021. They will be hoping that New London notches a hat-trick of sorts.