Queen Elizabeth’s champion horse, Estimate, fails dope test
A horse owned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth which won one of England’s most prestigious races has failed a drugs test, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday.
Estimate, which lifted the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013 and came second in this year’s edition, has tested positive for morphine, a banned substance.
A statement issued by the Queen’s racing adviser said initial indications were the positive test had resulted from the “consumption of a contaminated feed product”.
The queen, renowned for a love and knowledge of horse racing which dates back to the 88-year-old monarch’s childhood, cheered on Estimate, saddled by top trainer Michael Stoute, when the now five-year-old filly won at Ascot last year.
A statement by John Warren, the queen’s bloodstock and racing adviser, said: “On Thursday July 17 the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced that a number of post-race samples, obtained from recent race meetings, had been found to indicate the presence of morphine, which is a prohibited substance on race days.
“Five horses, under the care of various trainers, were affected.
“I can confirm that one of those horses was Estimate, the five year-old filly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by the queen.
“Initial indications are that the positive test resulted from the consumption of a contaminated feed product.
“Sir Michael is working closely with the feed company involved to discover how the product may have become contaminated prior to delivery to his stables.
“As the BHA investigates this matter, including potential links between the different cases, Sir Michael continues to offer his full co-operation.
“Her Majesty has been informed of the situation.”
Morphine is banned by the BHA because it can be used to numb pain.
Even though morphine is not deemed to be a performance-enhancing drug, trainer and qualified vet James Given, speaking on Sunday before Estimate was revealed to have failed a test, said it was right it remained banned.
“You are not allowed to use prohibited substances and if you open the door just an inch then it will be kicked open and abused, as we saw last year with anabolic steroids,” he told the At The Races television channel.