Willie Carson: Classic winner for the Queen ‘right up there in my career highlights’

Willie Carson, who rode Dunfermline to victory in the Oaks and the St Leger for the Queen in her Silver Jubilee year, paid tribute to the monarch following her death.

The Scot, who enjoyed innumerable success in the famous royal silks, said the Epsom victory for the Dick Hern-trained Dunfermline was "right up there" with his career highlights.

Carson said: "She was the most famous woman in the whole world and was the patron of horse racing and was the patron of the Jockey Club.

"She dedicated her whole life to service and to serving this country.

"One of her passions was the horse. She enjoyed horse racing, but I think she enjoyed breeding and seeing them develop and getting to the racecourse. That is what gave her most pleasure, seeing horses develop.

"Of course, the end result is seeing the horse win - she always enjoyed having a winner.

"Winning with Dunfermline in her Silver Jubilee year was right up there among my career highlights.

"It was one of those dreams that came true - not just for myself, but for Her Majesty, and I felt the country should have been joyful about Dunfermline winning the Oaks, the best mile-and-a-half fillies' race for three-year-olds of the year. It was a great occasion."

One of their last meetings came in October last year at Ascot - and Carson had her in hoots of laughter.

He explained: "She was telling me that she had just been inducted into the racing Hall of Fame and was on about the medal being so heavy.

"She then prodded, 'Willie, are you in the Hall of Fame?'.

"I replied, 'Oh no, Ma'am, you've got to be old or dead to get into the Hall of Fame. Old or dead!' - that was why she was laughing. She always did have a great sense of humour and understood racing inside out."

Carson, 79, who secured a second Classic with Dunfermline when she beat dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged in the St Leger at Doncaster, said the Queen's loss would be felt throughout the racing industry and beyond.

He added: "She has been a great supporter of the turf. She has been around for 96 years and unfortunately nobody can last forever.

"Her death is not just a sad loss - it is a monumental loss.

"There isn't a person you would say could be a bigger loss than Her Majesty The Queen. There is no bigger loss than her.

"She has been the glue that has kept us going, kept us together."

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