Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at her home in Balmoral, Scotland, on Thursday, September 8 at the age of 96.
The Queen, who celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in February this year, is a well-known supporter of horse racing and a successful racehorse breeder and owner. In her 70 years as UK's head of state, she paid three state visits to Singapore in 1972, 1989 and 2006.
Of her three visits, she graced the Singapore Turf Club on two occasions, the first of which was on February 20, 1972 when the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2200m) was inaugurated to mark her visit at the Bukit Timah racecourse.
The race was won by Jumbo Jet, trained by legendary trainer Ivan Allan and ridden by the great English jockey Lester Piggott, who passed away earlier in May this year.
Queen Elizabeth II returned for a second visit to the Singapore racecourse, this time at Kranji with her husband, the late Prince Philip, to witness the running of the Group 2 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) on March 18, 2006.
King And King claimed the top honours for trainer Steven Burridge, ex-jockey-turned-Kranji-trainer Richard Lim and Jumbo Stable, who were presented with trophies by the Queen after the race.
As Burridge remembered the departed Queen, he felt privileged to have been the winning trainer at that once-in-a-lifetime occasion, a day he also remembered for its many happy coincidences.
"It was such a great day for the Queen to be there presenting the trophies to us," said Burridge, who went on to bag two more QEII Cups with Trigger Express and Wild Geese in 2008 and 2014 respectively.
"It was a great honour for my wife (Julie), my son (Wade), Richard and myself.
"Our horse had green and white silks, and coincidentally, the Queen was wearing the same colours that day. I think King And King's name was a lucky omen.
"My wife also had a good chat with her as she came from England in Guildford."
Lim, who has since hung up his boots and became a trainer in his own right at the beginning of this year, was saddened by the news of the Queen's passing.
"We were still talking about her over dinner yesterday," said the Singaporean trainer, who won his first QEII Cup aboard the late Laurie Laxon-trained Saddle Up in 2001 before the second win five years later.
"And then we got the news that she passed away this morning. It's very saddening to hear that.
"When I won (the QEII Cup in 2006), I thought it was unbelievable. We did not talk much then but I remember she said 'well done' to me."
The Queen won her first horse race in 1949 with Monaveen, then co-owned with her mother. She was twice crowned Britain's champion owner in 1954 and 1957.
Her distinctive colours - purple with gold braid, scarlet sleeves, black cap with gold tassel - were carried to numerous successes, including four of the British Classics during her lifetime with Carrozza in the Epsom Oaks in 1957, the 2000 Guineas with Pall Mall in 1958, the 1000 Guineas with Highclere in 1974 and the Epsom Oaks and the St Leger Stakes with Dunfermline in 1977. The Queen also achieved one of her most popular victories when Estimate won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013.
Following her passing, she is succeeded by her son, Charles, Prince of Wales, who now becomes King Charles III.