A scandal in the royal stable!
Estimate, the 2013 Ascot Gold Cup winner owned by Queen Elizabeth II, tested positive for morphine during a recent round of drug-testing, Buckingham Palace confirmed Tuesday.
"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," John Warren, the queen's bloodstock and racing advisor, said in a statement. "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."
So what happens now?!
"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," Warren continued. "As the BHA investigates this matter, including potential links between the different cases, Sir Michael continues to offer his full co-operation. There will be no further comment until the BHA announces its considered findings. Her Majesty has been informed of the situation."
This matter must hit close to the queen's heart as well as close to home. At 88 she still enjoys her daily horseback rides and loves a day at the races. She even made sure to be back from her D-Day commemoration trip to Paris in time to be in Surrey for the Epsom Derby on June 7.
The monarch was in the royal box to see Camelot make history in 2012, smack in the middle of her Diamond Jubilee celebration weekend, and at the time had only missed the Derby twice in her 60-year reign.
She was all smiles a year ago when she accepted the trophy won by Estimate, the 22nd Ascot win overall by one of her horses but her first Gold Cup.
"It's a great honor to win for Her Majesty the Queen," Stoute said at the time"We know how much she loves this game."