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Article 27th April 2023 Newmarket

By Ben Cox

This is the horse King Charles III hopes can give him a historic victory at Newmarket next Saturday in one of the most prestigious races in Britain - to round off his Coronation Day in style.      

Less than six hours after the service at Westminster Abbey has begun on May 6th, Slipofthepen will bid to win the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at the ‘Home of Horseracing’, one of UK Flat racing’s five ‘Classics’ and a race the monarch’s mother, the late Queen, won in 1958 with the aptly named Pall Mall.

The three year old is unbeaten, having won his only two starts to date – the first as a two year old at Kempton Park in November and then again on April 10th this year back at the same Surrey track.

On both occasions the colt, who was bred by the late Queen and is trained by the father and son partnership of John and Thady Gosden in Newmarket, had started odds-on favourite.   

This morning (Thursday 27th April) Slipofthepen had a racecourse gallop at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse, where next Saturday’s 2000 Guineas will take place at 4.40pm. Connections will now decide whether or not to run him in the race, with final declarations for the race next Thursday (May 4th).

Speaking after today’s gallop John Gosden said: “He worked well and we’ll obviously make our decision over the next few days.”

Jockey James Doyle has ridden Slipofthepen for both of his victories and was on board for today’s racecourse gallop, but legendary rider Frankie Dettori – who retires later this year – is also retained by the Gosdens.

Asked who might ride the King’s horse on the day, Gosden added: “It depends. Frankie at the moment obviously has Chaldean, the Dewhurst winner, so we’ll just have to see.

“Depending on what else runs, James may well be available. There are decisions to be made.”

Earlier this month, John Warren – racing manager to The King and Queen Consort – said the monarch will watch the race on TV after the Coronation.

Speaking after the April 10th victory at Kempton Park, Warren said: “As far as the owners are concerned they won’t be able to think of anything else but the Coronation, but they would never prevent the horse participating if we recommended that is where he ought to go.

“It would be an added bonus and they would watch after the event. The King has had very good osmosis in tuning in to the bloodstock side of The Queen’s life.

“He has always said when he had the responsibility of taking the bloodstock portfolio on he would take it seriously and he has, wonderfully supported by the Queen Consort at the same time. It is a wonderful thing for racing they have both taken such an interest.”

Slipofthepen is currently 20-1 to win the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the first Classic race to take place in Britain in 2023.

Coronation Day forms the highlight of the three-day QIPCO Guineas Festival, from May 5th-7th, with the racecourse opening early to show ceremonial events in full.

There will also be local community and environment-themed celebrations taking place at the racecourse, to tie in with causes which are close to the Royal Family.

Tickets and more information are available at

Image credit: The Jockey Club (John Hoy/Megan Ridgwell)


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