Queen’s horse Reach For The Moon – who Frankie Dettori calls ‘very exciting’ – puts Derby hopes on the line at Doncaster


THE Queen’s racing boss John Warren will crack open the bubbly if Reach For The Moon wins the Champagne Stakes.

Warren is praying the colt will prove to be solid gold as he dreams of a Derby runner for Her Majesty in her Platinum Jubilee year.

Reach For The Moon is the second favourite for next year’s Derby

Reach For The Moon, the 10-1 ante-post second favourite for next year’s Epsom Classic is due to run at Doncaster on Saturday.

And Warren hopes he will put in a performance in the seven-furlong Group 2 to keep the dream of a Royal Derby runner alive.

The Queen’s last runner in the Classic was Carlton House in 2011 who was sent off 5-2 favourite but had a troubled passage and could only finish third to French winner Pour Moi. He was ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

The usually deadpan Moore was close to tears after the defeat which saw Carlton House get a bump on the bend and then lose a front shoe.

The Royal defeat saved the bookies a mammoth payout as the whole country and their corgis were on the Queen’s runner.

Warren will hope things go better next June if Reach For The Moon continues his progression.

The Sea The Stars colt, who was bred by the Queen, was a very green second to Aidan O’Brien’s star juvenile Point Lonsdale in the Chesham at Royal Ascot.

But the John Gosden runner has backed that up with impressive victories at Newbury and Sandown – most recently dominating in the Solario Stakes – even though he was clearly still learning the job.

A third win on the trot in the Champagne Stakes will go a long way to proving he is Classic class.

Warren said: “Reach For The Moon is in really good form. He had a good blow last week and I think we’re all just getting our heads around his next start.

“He’s a horse who needs keeping on top of himself as he’s full of himself.

“I think John Frankie Dettori thinks it wouldn’t do him any harm for him to come out again and get a bit streetwise.

John Warren is the Queen’s long-term racing manager

“It will help us see if he’s going to be a Group 1 horse – the more education going into Group 1s the better.

“It would be fantastic for Her Majesty to have a runner in her Platinum Jubilee year.

“It would be so big for the country I can hardly dare think about it.

“However at the end of the day I think the horse is going to have to tell us. We can predict all day long what the horse might end up doing next year.

“The Queen will have an important input, but I think this year will give us a good indication whether he’s Group 1 class.

“We all want to get ahead of ourselves, but I suppose the Group 1s later in the year will tell us whether we’re on track for the Derby and then next spring we’ll have to see if we’re a miler or a mile-and-a-quarter horse or a mile-and-a-half horse.”

No one is more excited about the potential for a Royal Derby runner than big-race jock Dettori.

The legendary Italian, 50, has been in the saddle for each of the colt’s last three runs.

The Queen’s Carlton House was third in the Derby in 2011

He was left purring over his brilliant performance in the Solario – but heis trying to keep his feet on the ground.

Dettori said: “His last two races he hardly saw another horse so the Champagne will be his first big test.

“After all these years it is still very special to ride for the Queen in those famous silks. 

“She was at Royal Ascot to see him run and she comes to visit the yard a couple of times a year. It’s the Jubilee next year so hopefully it is written in the stars.

“He is very exciting and to have a good horse for Her Majesty is fantastic. 

“He’s got a wonderful stride and he’s got gears. He could potentially be her best ever horse. 

“I am going to dream like everyone else, but we have to take it one race at a time.

“He is a bit of a boy at home. Luckily I don’t have to ride him, I leave Rab Havlin to do all the hard work!

“He is definitely still a work in progress, but he is improving with his racing and keeps ticking every box.”

Five-time champion trainer Gosden certainly isn’t one to get carried away at this early stage in Reach For The Moon’s career.

But he has won the Solario Stakes with some of his best horses in the past, including the likes of Kingman and Too Darn Hot.

And he is hopeful Reach For The Moon can scale similar heights.

He said: “He’s very progressive and showed a bit of class at Sandown I thought.

“He is going to have a lot of attention around him because he is owned by Her Majesty.

“But he can’t hear all the talk so hopefully he will continue to improve on the track.

“All being well after Doncaster, you could look at one of the autumn Group 1s with him.”


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