On Sunday, Eldar Eldarov presented coach Roger Varian with a second victory in England’s oldest classic race, the St Leger, which was postponed for a day as the races paid homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who died on Thursday at the age of 96, won the 1977 Saint Leger Prize along with her filly Dunfermline.
Racing was the sport with which she was most closely associated, and the authorities suspended horse racing meetings on Thursday and did not hold them on either Friday or Saturday.
There was a two-minute silence before the start of the races in Doncaster, and jockeys and coaches bowed their heads to the national anthem.
“It’s a void as we have lost a great friend and ambassador in the Queen,” said jockey Frankie Dettori, who has competed for her many times.
The exuberant Italian was not successful at St. Leger, indeed, although he finished second, he was subsequently disqualified and placed fourth.
It was David Egan who took the jockey honors in a landslide win over Bahrain owner Eldar Eldarov, named after the MMA fighter.
Egan, dressed like the other jockeys in black armbands, rose from his saddle as he passed the victory post, waving his whip wildly in the air in celebration.
Varian, who won the 2014 St Leger with Kingston Hill, was more inclined to praise the horse and jockey than to accept the applause himself.
“David is one of the nicest guys you would want to meet. He is calm about defeat and reasonable in his victories,” Varian said.
“He (Eldar Eldarov) is very tough and has great endurance, he needed all this today. It is impossible not to love him, and he has a big heart.
“I think we should recognize him for who he is and for being a stayer. I think he is an exciting horse for the future of distance racing.”
FYI, his plans for the future may include the Melbourne Cup in November when one bookmaker cuts his odds from 33/1 to 16/1.
Doncaster was not the only race to take place on Sunday as Chepstow was also racing while Musselburgh was canceled as the queen was on staff in nearby Edinburgh.
There will be no meetings on the day of the Queen’s funeral, Monday 19 September.