A congratulatory telephone call from the Queen helped to cement a memorable day for Sir Michael Stoute at Epsom on Saturday.
The Newmarket trainer landed his sixth Derby victory following a magnificent performance from the unbeaten Desert Crown, and although Her Majesty was absent from the meeting she made sure to pass on her feelings to Stoute, who has trained many big winners in the royal silks.
“Yes, I spoke to the Queen late afternoon. She was very pleased for the team,” Stoute said on Monday. The former cricketer Michael Holding is a close friend and was another to get in touch with Stoute, for whom it was a poignant success after the death of his long-term partner, Coral Pritchard-Gordon, in 2020.
“I’ve not spoken to Michael, but I think he rang my daughter and there was a piece in the paper where he had a lot to say. I will catch up with him very soon. I think a lot of people were also thinking that Coral wasn’t there. A lot of us missed her not being there.”
Stoute, who first won the Derby in 1981 with Shergar, is in no rush to make plans for his Saeed Suhail-owned winner. “The last 48 hours have been a bit hectic, but very enjoyable as well. He has only just run. He just had a nice long walk this morning and we will determine in the week how he has bounced out of it,” he said.
“You don’t get too excited – if you have been in this game as long as I have you keep calm! He has been there and done that [10 furlongs] in the Dante so that is not a problem, 10-furlong pace, but we won’t be deciding in a hurry, we will just take our time. I’ve no intention of making a plan two days after the race.”
In paying tribute to his staff, Stoute, whose return to the big time was welcomed by many who remember the great horses that have passed through his care, said: “We have a really experienced, dedicated team here. It is not just me there are many other links involved. They have all felt good including this one. Saturday evening, about eight or 10 people crept into the house and drank a lot of my wine!”
“We’ve got one or two very good individuals, but we are not brimming with talent. We just operate from the one yard now. We are grateful for what we have got and we will do the best we can with them.”