Thursday 8 December 2016

After formal events Queen indulges her love of horses

Tony Jones

Published 19/05/2011 | 13:14

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Jonny Murtagh during a visit to the Irish National Stud, one of the country's top horsebreeding centres, near Dublin, Co Kildare. Photo: PA
Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Jonny Murtagh during a visit to the Irish National Stud, one of the country's top horsebreeding centres, near Dublin, Co Kildare. Photo: PA
The Queen, pictured with Johnny Murtagh, is given a demonstration of a horse simulator at the National Stud. Photo: PA

The Queen has indulged her passion for horse racing with a visit to one of the world's top stud farms.

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The monarch's historic trip brought her to the national horse centre where her own thoroughbreds are sent for breeding.



At the Irish National Stud in Tully, County Kildare, one of the world's best racehorses Sea the Stars was bred and went on to win a string of classic races in 2009 including the Epsom Derby before being retired to stud.



The Queen arrived at the picturesque centre looking relaxed and wearing a sky blue outfit with white details.



In the immaculate grounds she toured small marquees showcasing the aspects of the horse racing world from farriers and trainee jockeys to some of the prized stud horses.



Minister for Agriculture and Food, Simon Coveney, summed up Ireland’s passion for the animals.



"Horse racing is part of what it means to be Irish and an important industry for us here," he said.



He added: "I think there are two phases to the visit. The first two days were very much about the emotive history of the two islands, reconciliation and moving forward and respecting the history. I think the Queen did that in an extraordinarily generous way.



"I think the second half of this visit is I hope more relaxing and she's very interested in racing and horse breeding."



The Queen has a love of racing and horses that she inherited from her mother and visits the races regularly both officially and as a private spectator.



One of the Queen's colts, Carlton House, is running in the Derby next month and is likely to start as favourite.



During their visit to the National Stud, The Queen and Prince Philip were given a demonstration of a horse simulator.



The simulator, ridden by 18 year old Sophie Ralston was turned from canter to full speed at the request of the Duke of Edinburgh.



According to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney: “He insisted on turning the horse simulator up to full gallop. That was a bit mischievous.”

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