Queen Elizabeth could be involved in an unwanted English Derby spat

2017-06-02 13:50
Queen Elizabeth

London — Queen Elizabeth II could involuntarily become involved in a spat between a racehorse owner and the country's horse-racing authority over the barring of a jockey from competing in the prestigious English Derby.

The British Horseracing Authority has intervened to stop Gina Mangan from riding 1 000-1 shot Diore Lia in Saturday's race at Epsom, saying that the jockey was too inexperienced and the BHA had a "responsibility to place the welfare of our participants, both equine and human, first."

Mangan has competed in 69 races in her career and ridden one winner — in 2009.

Richard Aylward, who bred the horse, said Mangan has been left "badly scarred" and "in a terrible mess" by the BHA's decision. He entered Diore Lia in an attempt to raise money for his chosen charity, the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, of which Queen Elizabeth II is a patron.

The queen will be attending the Derby.

"It's my intention to speak to her about what has happened when she comes in the parade ring before the Derby," Aylward said.

"Our story needs telling," Aylward added, "because I've been left very, very upset about what has gone on and I feel so sorry for Gina."

Aylward still plans to enter Diore Lia for the Derby, whose prize money of $2.1m makes it the richest race ever staged in Britain. Paddy Pilley — an apprentice jockey with 34 winners to his name — was named on Thursday as the horse's rider.

Leading jockey Ryan Moore said the BHA "has done the correct thing."

"You would have been asking the horse and jockey to do something at Epsom that they simply weren't equipped to do," Moore told Betfair. "It is not quite like turning up at the start of the Formula One race driving a tractor, but it isn't far off. Perhaps more accurate would be sending someone out to war after they had only had experience in the army reserves."

The BHA said last week that there would be "no restrictions in place" to stop Mangan from riding at Epsom, but that race conditions could be discussed "on an ongoing basis, if appropriate."

"In the circumstances we believe they have taken the right decision," said Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, "albeit in hindsight it would have been far preferable not to have given Gina the public green light to ride earlier in the week."

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