Royal links renewed for The Newmarket Challenge Whip

24th September 2014

The Jockey Club's Patron, Her Majesty The Queen

The Jockey Club's Patron, Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen is set to have a runner in the historic Newmarket Challenge Whip on Friday as part of Shadwell Day at the Cambridgeshire Meeting. ‘The Whip’ was first run at The Rowley Mile in 1830 and such is the heritage of the race it has a direct link to the origins of Flat racing in Newmarket.

Originally the winner of The Whip was awarded an actual whip as a trophy, which contains hairs from the tail and mane of the great stallion Eclipse and is now displayed at the Jockey Club Rooms in the town. The whip dates back
to the reign of King Charles II (1660-1685) who is understood to have carried it in races himself.

Her Majesty The Queen, the Patron of The Jockey Club, has the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old filly Micras declared in this year’s renewal, among a field of 11 declared runners, with Ryan Moore booked to ride.

The Whip is run as a Handicap over one mile and a quarter open to horses rated 0-85. Top weight (9st 11lb) will be Highland Castle, followed by Flemish School (9st 10lb), Compton Bird (8st 13lb) and Micras (8st 13lb). This historic race is complimented by a stellar cast of leading jockeys, including Richard Hughes, Ryan Moore, William Buick, Frankie Dettori and Jamie Spencer.

Part of the unique tradition of the race is that to qualify for entry horses must be majority-owned by a Member of The Jockey Club or Jockey Club Rooms. Governed by Royal Charter to exist solely for the long-term good of British racing, today The Jockey Club is the largest commercial group in the sport, with assets including the racecourses at Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket, the world-class training grounds at Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs and The National Stud.

The Jockey Club elects a circa 150-strong ‘membership’ on merit with the criteria being people who have made a major contribution to British racing. Members are in effect Trustees of The Jockey Club as they may not profit from their role and must ensure that the organisation lives up to its mission to act for the good of the sport. This includes reinvesting back into British racing every penny it makes from its commercial operations, particularly through prize money contributions at its 15 racecourses.

John Warren, Racing Manager to The Queen, said:

“The Queen is delighted to have a filly contest the Newmarket Challenge Whip. It’s great fun for The Queen to have a runner in this historical race and fingers crossed that Micras puts up a bold show.”

Roger Weatherby, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, said:

“We are delighted that through her horse Micras, Her Majesty The Queen has renewed the Royal links to this historic race. In amongst the thousands of contests that take place in Britain there is a place for celebrating and protecting traditions like this. Our heritage is what makes us different from other racing nations; we just have to keep investing and modernising in our future at the same time.”

Andrew Balding, trainer of Micras, said:

“It is a race with a long heritage and history and I know The Queen is very happy to support it. We are delighted to have a runner and I hope she runs well.”

A stunning bronze sculpture designed by Caroline Nunneley will be awarded to the winning owner to keep.

Recent winners:

2013 – Mr J Richmond-Watson’s Gone Dutch
2012 – Mr J C Smith’s Odin
2011 – The Hon. P and Mrs F Stanley's Vita Lika
2010 – Mr J C Smith's Scottish Boogie
2009 – Mr P D Savill's Dreamwalk