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Queen's horse caught up in morphine scandal

Queen Elizabeth at Royal Ascot 2014
Photo by Chris Jackson

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II’s champion filly Estimate has tested positive for morphine after placing in this year’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Morphine is banned on days when horses race. As a result, the five-year-old filly trained by Sir Michael Stoute Estimate will likely be disqualified of her second place finish and the Queen forced to forfeit her £80,625 prize money. Estimate won the Gold Cup in 2013

Although Queen Elizabeth’s horses have won 22 times at Ascot, the 2013 race was her first Gold Cup and she was beaming brightly as she accepted the trophy for Estimate last year. The results of this year’s race is sure to have cut her deeply. The 88-year old monarch truly loves going to the races, and has only missed the Epsom Derby twice during her 60-year reign, even making sure she was back from a commemorative trip marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day in France in time for the race on June 7th.

She even “kick-started” her Diamond Jubilee celebration by watching Camelot make history by winning the 2012 Derby, and still enjoys her daily horseback rides, often with Prince Phillip at her side.

According to an ongoing investigation by the British Horseracing Authority, Estimate was just one of 5 horses (all under the care of various trainers) to have tested positive for the drug after post-race samples were taken from recent race meetings. At present, the BHA seems to feel that the results were all tied to the ingestion of a “contaminated feed product,”

According to a statement made by John Warren, the Queen's bloodstock and racing advisor John Warren, “"Sir Michael (Stoute) is working closely with the feed company involved to discover how the product may have become contaminated prior to delivery to his stables. As the BHA investigates this matter, including potential links between the different cases, Sir Michael continues to offer his full co-operation. There will be no further comment until the BHA announces its considered findings. Her Majesty has been informed of the situation."