Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has opened the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket.
The Queen is Patron of the National Horseracing Museum which houses an internationally significant collection of objects, paintings, trophies and silks, now showcased across 12 new galleries in the Trainer’s House and King’s Yard Galleries.
A gallery named ‘Under Starters Orders’ tells the story of how the sport originated and the role Newmarket played in the development of racing from the 17th Century onwards.
“Royal Connections” explores the stories and associations between monarchy and the “Sport of Kings”, from the time of James I onwards and includes items on loan from the Royal Collections.
Other galleries celebrate legends of the sport, featuring some famous names – both human and equine. The “Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred’ takes a closer look at the anatomy of the racehorse and science of the sport, offering visitors a chance to create the ‘perfect racehorse’.
The last gallery in the Trainer’s House, invites you to get up close to past and present personalities as they talk through their racing experiences.
Over in the King’s Yard the focus shifts to behind the scenes. Each “stable” houses a separate gallery, beginning with the skeleton believed to be that of Pot8os, son of the great Eclipse, discovered at Hare Park in the roots of an overturned tree after a storm and carefully pieced back together by a team at Cambridge University.
The Weatherbys Gallery explains the registration process, and here you can choose your own racing colours and name a horse on one of the computer-generated interactives.
The Roberts Veterinary Collection shows some of the equipment used by pioneering vet Professor Edwin James Roberts when he performed the lifesaving operation on Derby winner Mill Reef.
And of course, the Museum would not be complete without its popular racehorse simulator.