The Queen's Reach For The Moon ruled out of Derby date in Platinum Jubilee blow

Reach For The Moon: will miss Derby and now be aimed at Royal Ascot
Reach For The Moon: will miss Derby and now be aimed at Royal AscotCredit: Mark Cranham

John Gosden has ruled the Queen's Reach For The Moon out of next month's Cazoo Derby after running out of time to get the son of Sea The Stars back from injury for the Epsom Classic, for which he was generally 7-1 third favourite.

Speaking exclusively to the Racing Post, joint-trainer Gosden said: “Following a setback last autumn, Reach For The Moon has been given all the time and care he requires in his training programme.

"We had planned to run him in the Dante Stakes at York next week. However, in the best interests of horse we have decided that this race is coming too soon for him. Consequently, he will not run in the Derby and will be pointed towards Royal Ascot."

A royal Derby win would have been the icing on the cake of the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of the Queen, with the Classic being run on June 4, the third day of an especially extended four-day bank holiday.

Winner of two of his five starts as a juvenile, including the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown, Reach For The Moon was last seen finishing a narrow second to Bayside Boy in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September. Following that he was found to have picked up an injury which ruled him out of the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

The Queen also had two outsiders entered in the Derby in Educator and General Idea, both trained by William Haggas, but both were taken out at Tuesday’s acceptance stage.

The monarch's last runner in the race was Carlton House who finished third behind Pour Moi in 2011 when sent off 5-2 favourite. The race remains the only one of the five Classics she has yet to win.

The Queen was successful with all three of her runners at Newbury and Newmarket on Friday and has just one runner on Saturday, King's Lynn at Newbury
The Queen: celebrates her Platinum Jubilee this yearCredit: Charlie Crowhurst (Getty Images)

Reacting to the news, broadcaster Brough Scott said: “The Queen more than most knows that racing doesn’t deliver all that you hope for and she would be more realistic than anyone about these matters. Perhaps we were all getting a bit carried away and this gives us a dose of reality. Hopefully Reach For The Moon can make it to Royal Ascot and give everyone a boost.”

Derby day remains central to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and it was announced last month the Queen would be greeted by a guard of honour comprising 40 retired and current jockeys to have ridden in her famous purple and gold silks.

Rod Street, director of Great British Racing, said: "Obviously it's disappointing to hear that Reach For The Moon will miss the Derby. We're incredibly disappointed for Her Majesty the Queen in the year of her Platinum Jubilee but it's heartening to hear they are hoping to get the horse to Royal Ascot, which also means an awful lot to her.

“From a newsworthy status it's also disappointing as a runner for the Queen in the world's most iconic race is also very interesting to the wider public, but at the same time there has been so much work already undertaken by the industry, Epsom and Great British Racing and many others in celebrating the Platinum Jubilee there will still be a lot of coverage for horseracing. It will still be a big occasion, but we're just disappointed for her."

York had been set to benefit from the extra royal interest if Reach For The Moon had run as intended in next week's Dante, but the track's chief executive and clerk of the course William Derby was philosophical about the news.

He said: “It’s a shame for everyone in racing and the wider world in Platinum Jubilee year that Reach For The Moon won’t be at York and ultimately Epsom, but hopefully he can come back later on. We’re still looking forward to the Dante which has record prize-money this year and whatever wins it will be in the forefront of the Epsom picture, I’m sure.”

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Luxembourg is the current ante-post 5-2 favourite for the Derby after finishing third in Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas. He is followed in the market by Godolphin’s New London, who is unbeaten in two starts for Charlie Appleby and is set to run in Wednesday’s Chester Vase.

Coral's Dave Stevens said: "A fancied Derby runner for Her Majesty in her Platinum Jubilee year would have been very special but sadly it's not to be, although hopefully the colt could still star at the royal meeting."

Cazoo Derby (4.30 Epsom, June 4)

Bet365: 5-2 Luxembourg, 6 New London, 9 Walk Of Stars 11 Piz Badile, 14 Point Lonsdale, Eydon, 16 Buckaroo, Desert Crown, Cash 18 bar

Read these next:

Big-race trends: key stats for the Cazoo Derby and Oaks at Epsom

'We've always liked him a lot' - favourite Luxembourg heads straight to Derby

Appleby to unleash another star as Derby second favourite declared for Chester


Over 50% off Racing Post Members' Club! Members' Club is the only subscription racing fans and punters need in order to stay informed and make smarter betting decisions. Features include early access to the Racing Post digital newspaper, exclusive news and interviews, premium tips and form study tools to assist with betting. Select 'Get Ultimate monthly' and enter code TRYME to get your first month for just £14.99* – that's better than half price! Subscribe now If you decide that Members' Club is not for you, then you can cancel at anytime by contacting us.

*Members' Club Ultimate monthly first month will be charged at £14.99, renews at full price thereafter

Newmarket correspondent

Published on inNews

Last updated