Her Majesty’s Derby hopeful has East Hoathly connections

THE Queen stands on the brink of achieving an ambition to win the Epsom Derby that she has vainly pursued ever since being introduced to racehorse ownership by her mother in the late 1940s, writes Jason Hall.

Tomorrow’s renewal of the world’s most coveted racing prize affords her the best opportunity yet to fulfil that dream when her first runner in the race for 30 years, Carlton House, goes to post as the red hot favourite.

However, the big question is will he make it to the track and be given the chance to create history?

After a routine piece of work in preparation for the race he was found to have a knock on his near fore (left front) and the injury was compared to a slight ankle strain.

A decision is expected today and the whole of racing is holding its breath and is praying for positive news – and the racing folk of our county particularly so.

The Sussex connection with the Queen’s horse and with the potential writing of an historic Derby moment is particularly strong.

The Brighton-born jockey Ryan Moore has been charged with the responsibility of guiding the horse to a place in racing folklore – and the breeding of the horse is closely linked to the famous Hesmonds paddocks, which was based at East Hoathly near Lewes.

Even the ice cool Moore will take a minute or two longer to nod off tonight and will wake a little earlier as he contemplates the enormity of the occasion that awaits him.

Valerie Griffiths worked for 27 years at Hesmonds until her retirement in 2006, during which time the dam (mother) of the Queen’s horse was foaled. “It was a wonderful for me to do a job that I enjoyed so immensely and it is great that Hesmonds and as a consequence Sussex is so closely connected to what might become such an important and historic moment in racing history. The dam of Carlton House is herself the daughter of Triple Reef who is in turn the daughter of Triple First who was the foundation mare on which the whole Hesmonds paddocks was built. Mr Goulandris has since sold the paddocks at East Hoathly. Their 10 mares have been relocated to the Lavington Stud near Petworth and are now under the care of the Macdonald-Buchanan family. I’m sure everybody connected with racing in Sussex will be cheering on Carlton House on Saturday.”

n Read Jason Hall’s views inside.