Educator has to settle for second as the King’s first runner
Educator finished second as he became the first runner for the King in the famous royal silks at Salisbury.
While His Majesty has previously had runners in the colours he shared with the Queen Consort when they were the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, it is the first time the famous purple, red and gold silks took to the track in his name.
The William Haggas-trained Educator was the first horse to race in the colours since Improvise was beaten a short-head at Epsom on September 8, the same day the Queen died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.
Once viewed as a Derby hopeful, the three-year-old had been off the track since winning a Newmarket handicap back in April but was sent off the 11-10 favourite on his return in the Radcliffe & Co Handicap.
Educator travelled well enough through the early part of the race, but with three furlongs to run Marquand was pushing along to keep up as Okeechobee cruised into the lead.
Roger and Harry Charlton’s runner went on to win by four and a quarter lengths in impressive fashion, with Educator staying on for minor honours.
Marquand, who entered the parade ring to a ripple of applause before the race, said: “The plan was to win and it didn’t go to plan, that’s horseracing.
“Everyone would have loved to have got His Majesty off to a winning start, but it wasn’t to be and I think that’s probably a true sort of introduction to horseracing and that certain things don’t always go to plan.
“It’s an honour for, I’m sure William, and myself with this horse today.
“I had almost a bit of sadness because it’s a new era and while exciting, it is sad. All I have ever known, like most people, is just the Queen and it’s passed on to the King, it’s fantastic in continuing her legacy because she put so much hard work and passion into it. It was a passion project and it would have been a shame for it to end.”
“I met the King at Royal Ascot this year whilst riding for the Queen and I’m looking forward to riding winners for him in the future. Not the magical start, but so it begins.”
Maureen Haggas, the trainer’s wife said: “He ran all right, but he’s been a long time off the track and he’s a big lad who is quite full of himself and he needs racing basically.
“He was a bit distracted and not quite with the programme but he’ll get there, he’s a nice horse, a beautiful horse.”
The King’s racing adviser John Warren was similarly upbeat about Educator’s future prospects and believes the Deep Impact colt should sharpen up for the run.
He said: “You saw he wore the cheekpieces today and he is a horse that has lacked concentration. He had a setback in the spring which prevented William and Maureen from getting on with him and I think there’s no question that in his build up to today, although we thought he was a pretty decent horse, he just needs racing now, to get down to work.
“Obviously when horses have had an issue like he had, you don’t rush them back first time. In a typically great training performance, they’ve just allowed him his level of fitness today to come back, but he will strip much fitter next time.
“I think he’s a horse that probably just needs more racing. When he’s won previously twice, we’ve actually thought he should have won further and we thought we were ahead of the handicapper, but he’s a horse that only does enough.
“We had him in the Derby early on, we thought he was a Stakes-level horse, but they have to prove it and what they do at home and on course, they are two different animals.
“I should think next time he will strip much fitter, know his job better and be much more focussed and help the jockey because obviously today he was just distracted. He’s just got to know what he’s here for.”
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