Queen finds the winner's circle after four-year drought at Ascot
The wind ran wild at Royal Ascot on Friday (photos below), causing havoc for all the fancy hats that adorned the patrons. All except the Queen's, of course, which remained tightly and discreetly secured to her head.
Typical. While all about lose their heads, leave it to the Queen to keep her's.
After going winless for four years at this exclusive five-day horse racing meet practically in her own Windsor backyard, Queen Elizabeth was finally back in the winner's circle with her horse Estimate.
Ridden by Ryan Moore, the Michael Stoute-trained filly won by five lengths on the two-mile course, much to the crowd's and the Queen's delight. In the winner's circle (right), Prince Philip presented his wife with her trophy ... The Queen's Vase. (Sorta like bringing coal to Newcastle, isn't it?)
It was the Queen's 21st win at Royal Ascot, but her first since 2008 with Free Agent. The most well-known horse in her stable may be Carlton House, but it lost earlier in the week, putting all the pressure on Estimate to break the winless string and put a shine on the Diamond Jubilee year.
"It's a great thing (to have a winner for the Queen)," said Stoute. "We'd hoped to do it with Carlton House, but we've done it here. I think the whole country would have appreciated a victory for Her Majesty."
The horse, a gift from the Aga Khan, went off as the odds-on favourite at 3-1 and gave the Queen her biggest smile of the week.
As she entered the winner's enclosure for the official photographs of horse and owner, the winds and clouds of the day had passed on and the sun was shining again.
What else could a monarch want?
A racegoer struggles with his umbrella in strong winds on the fourth day at Royal Ascot. The weather made the day a challenge for all patrons at the annual meet which is a high point on the British social and horse racing calendars. More evidence of the havoc is below. (Reuters)
PHOTO GALLERY: The winds of Ascot