Queen’s horse tests positive for morphine

Leading Light gets the better of the Queen's Estimate, center, and Missunited.
Estimate, at center, is among horses to test positive to morphine last week, with contaminated feed suspected as the cause.

Estimate, a thoroughbred racehorse owned by Queen Elizabeth, has tested positive for morphine, a prohibited substance on race days.

Estimate, who won last year’s Ascot Gold Cup, appears to have returned the positive test, along with several other horses, due to contaminated feed, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Last week, the British Horseracing Authority confirmed that five horses under various trainers had tested positive for morphine in their A samples. It spoke of a cluster of positive tests and said it could not rule out more positives.

A British feed company has since confirmed it had changed stocks of alfalfa oil as a precautionary measure.

Buckingham Palace, in confirming the positive test, said initial indications suggested the result arose from Estimate eating a contaminated feed product.

John Warren, the Queen’s bloodstock and racing adviser, confirmed in a statement that Estimate, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was among the five positive tests revealed by the British Horseracing Authority.

“Initial indications are that the positive test resulted from the consumption of a contaminated feed product,” Warren said.

“Sir Michael is working closely with the feed company involved to discover how the product may have become contaminated prior to delivery to his stables.

“As the BHA investigates this matter, including potential links between the different cases, Sir Michael continues to offer his full co-operation.

“There will be no further comment until the BHA announces its considered findings.

“Her Majesty has been informed of the situation.”

A feed company said it had been advised of a “possible component contamination” and, as a precautionary measure, it was exchanging all stocks of alfalfa oil.


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