Educator, a three-year-old colt bred by the late Queen, will make a small piece of racing history on Thursday when he becomes the first horse to run in the royal silks for King Charles III.
The one-time Derby hope, who met with a small setback after winning first time out at Newmarket in April, is one of just four runners contesting the Radcliffe and Co Handicap Stakes, worth £11,500 to the winner, at Salisbury on Thursday.
Trained by William Haggas in Newmarket and ridden by Tom Marquand, who was successful on him at Newmarket, the son of Deep Impact, the Japanese super-sire, is likely to start evens favourite for the race despite a 170-day absence from the racecourse.
Marquand, no stranger to winning in the royal silks for the late Queen, said: “Naturally there will be a lot of interest in the race. He’s a horse we don’t feel has reached his full potential yet and we’re half working him out still.
“He got his head in front at Newmarket and hopefully he will do the same at Salisbury. It’s a significant and poignant runner and if we can get His Majesty off to a winning start it will mean a lot. They’ll be a lot of focus, he has a great chance and he’s a lovely horse for the future.”
Educator is not the King’s first runner as an owner though. He has had several which he had bred with the Queen Consort and even, in the early Eighties, rode over jumps as an amateur rider in his own silks finishing second at Ludlow on Allibar.
While the colour of the King’s hat at Royal Ascot may not something bookies will be prepared to bet on in the future (instead they are more go for the Queen Consort, who is expected to be the more hands-on when it comes to their racing interests) it did not take them long to come up with few special Royal bets.
William Hill makes King Charles 7-2 to own a royal Ascot winner next year, 25-1 to own a Cheltenham Festival winner and 33-1 to win the Derby which would require history, to a certain extent, to repeat itself. The closest the late Queen came to winning the Derby was with Aureole, a horse bred by her father, who finished second to Pinza in 1953 during Coronation week.