The Queen may be posthumously honoured with a coveted Horse Of The Year prize for her thoroughbred First Receiver
- The Queen is in the running to receive a top equestrian trophy posthumously
- Thoroughbred named First Receiver, bred at Sandringham, could win prize
- Horse of the Year is prestigious title and part of the Equestrian Championship
- Horse’s rider said that ‘one thing’ Her Majesty wanted was to get a win at show
The Queen is in the running to receive a coveted equestrian trophy ‘from beyond the grave’ next week.
A thoroughbred horse named First Receiver which was owned by the late Queen and bred at her Sandringham stud is in line for a Horse of the Year prize – one of equestrian sport’s most prestigious titles which is part of the Equestrian Championship, which started in 1949 and its described as ‘The World’s Most Famous Horse Show’.
In the later decades of her life, the Queen became as successful in the world of horse showing as she was in horseracing.
But, just as she never won the Epsom Derby, the coveted Horse of the Year prize always eluded her.
A thoroughbred horse named First Receiver (pictured) which was owned by the late Queen and bred at her Sandringham stud is in line for a Horse of the Year prize
First Receiver’s rider Katie Jerram-Hunnable, who has ridden Royal show-horses for 20 years, spoke exclusively to the Mail on Sunday last week to express her excitement.
‘The one thing Her Majesty wanted to do was win at the Horse of the Year Show. I would love to make her proud by doing it with her home-bred horse from Sandringham. It would be a dream to win for her, I want her to win the prize from beyond the grave. I have been Reserve Champion four times on her horses, I’ve nearly done it so many times.’
Thousands of horses try to qualify throughout the year for the Equestrian Championship, which begins on Wednesday and is often likened to ‘Crufts for horses’.
‘The one thing Her Majesty wanted to do was win at the Horse of the Year Show,’ First Receiver’s rider told the MoS
First Receiver qualified to compete in the ‘Racehorse to Riding Horse of the Year’ category just four days before the Queen passed away.
The qualifying event was took place at the prestigious Burghley Horse Trials on September 4, at which the Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Tindall also competed in front of 170,000 people in the Three Day Event.
Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter, was presenting prizes and First Receiver, affectionately known as ‘Firsty’ earned a first-place rosette, the Queen’s last ever one.
Ms Jerram-Hunnable reported the news immediately to the Queen’s stable manager, Terry Pendry.
‘As soon as I came out of the ring, I rang Terry. He called Her Majesty straight away and she was so ecstatic that he had won that class that day. It was my last win for Her Majesty, that makes me emotional’ adds Jerram-Hunnable who has ridden around 30 horses for the Queen over 20 years.. I didn’t know Firsty would be ready for this and I was holding him back so it feels ironic that he finally felt ready just before the Queen passed. He was amazing at Burghley and I’m so proud. I pray to the Lord that he comes out making her proud at Horse of the Year.’
First Receiver ridden by Frankie Dettori (left) at Royal Ascot in 2020
First Receiver, who is five years old, started life as a racehorse trained by Sir Michael Stoute and was ridden by top jockeys including Frankie Dettori.
Less than two years ago he was still racing, but the Queen – ever conscious of animal welfare – changed his career to reduce his chances of getting injured.
Wednesday’s contest will be the greatest challenge Firsty has faced in his new occupation.
Hundreds of horses try to qualify and the class lasts for an hour. The horses are expected to stand in line and ride around in single file.
They must not be tempted to try to race other horses, which for First Receiver will be challenging due to his racing background.
First Receiver, who is five years old, started life as a racehorse trained by Sir Michael Stoute and was ridden by top jockeys including Frankie Dettori
First Receiver would certainly be the crowd favourite to win and Jerram-Hunnable thinks he has every chance.
But beyond the competition she is unsure what will happen to him or to the four other horses she rode for the late Queen, which now belong to King Charles.
‘Horse of the Year could be my last day riding these beautiful horses, so we are all very emotional about it’ she said last week, after a 20 day hiatus of riding due to Royal mourning.
‘None of us know what we are doing and what the plans are. I just pray that they will remain with us but none of us know. If we won, it would mean the world to me knowing that I had actually completed the task that I was asked to do- which is to be crowned Horse of the Year. I hope we continue to make her proud.’
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