A line-up of 40 retired and current jockeys all wearing their purple and gold silks will set up on the track to welcome his arrival at the world’s most prestigious flat race, which this year will celebrate his contribution to horse racing during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on June 4.
The Queen’s Stand, opened by her in 1992, will be renamed The Queen Elizabeth II Stand as a constant reminder of her passion for the sport in time for racing, which is expected to attract over 100,000 spectators and even more betting bonanza than usual if one of the three potential 96 year old king horses who enter for the race are confirmed to be runners and enter with decent odds.
Race organizers pray that the king, who has struggled with mobility issues and other health issues, will be healthy enough to attend. His aides had predicted it would be a top priority over the double bank holiday anniversary weekend to celebrate his 70th year on the throne.
The jockey’s welcoming party will include four-time Derby winner Willie Carson, 79, who also rode Queen’s Oaks winner Dunfermline in 1977, and John Reid, who won the Derby in 1992.
Drivers currently joining the line-up will include Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore, both of whom have won the Derby twice, and Queen’s other regular jockey, Hayley Turner.
The Queen has three horses currently entering the race – Educator, General Idea and Moon Reach – and she will be hoping she can break her Derby duck.
This race remains the only one of the five British Classical Horse Races that he has not won as a racehorse owner. The closest he came to was in 1953 when his horse Aureole finished second in 1953 just four days after his coronation. She also came third in 2011 with Carlton House, the 10th runner in the race and the last horse to contest the Derby in her colours.
The victory for him would be the second time the reigning king has won the Derby after Edward VII’s success with Minoru in 1909.
The Jockey Club, which runs the racetrack, expects 35,000 spectators with a capacity of 35,000 spectators at the ticketed stables with thousands more watching from the free stables at what is known locally as The Hill.
Phil White, London regional director at The Jockey Club, said: “We are delighted that this year’s Cazoo Derby will be a part of the official Platinum Jubilee celebrations and are excited and proud to take the opportunity to thank Her Majesty The Queen. for his outstanding contribution to horse racing over the years.
“We know that the Queen intends to be with us on the day and to mark her arrival at the racetrack, we will be setting up a guard of honor for about 40 retired and current jockeys all wearing Her Majesty’s silk. We also invite members of the local community and several local charities to support the honor guard as flag bearers.
“Derby Day always has a spectacular carnival atmosphere and we look forward to a performance from the Red Devils and a military band performance from the National Anthem which will all add up to a great event.”
Mr White added: “In addition to her extraordinary relationship with horse and horse racing, the Queen also has a special relationship with The Derby. He has only missed four since his Coronation and two of them in the last two years during the pandemic.
“To recognize this permanently, we are renaming the Queen’s Stand to the Queen Elizabeth II Stand. A plaque recognizing this will be unveiled on community night at the racetrack on Thursday 2 June.”