By Ray Fleming

T HUS far 2011 has been an annus mirabilis for Queen Elizabeth and with a brilliant Diamond Jubilee in prospect next year it is difficult to think that there can be much left for her to wish for.

Except one thing -- to win today's Epsom Derby with her horse Carlton House.
In 1953 her first entry in the Derby, Aureole, came second but she still awaits a winner in a classic race and has not even had a runner in the Derby since 1981.

On the basis of breeding and performance Carlton House has been a hot favourite in the ante-post betting for the Derby for several months but earlier this week there was news from Newmarket that the horse had strained a near-fore ankle and was being treated with ice packs and cold hoses in order to reduce the swelling.

For three days there has been uncertainty about Carlton House's participation today but this was ended yesterday when his trainer Sir Michael Stoute included him in the declared thirteen runners.

Carlton House will probably still be favourite to win but yesterday his odds eased somewhat as anxieties persisted.
Horse breeding and racing are known to have been Queen Elizabeth's main hobby throughout her reign. It will be wonderful for her and for the nation if Carlton House carries her colours first past the post this afternoon.