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The day Shergar ran away with it and turned Derby into a procession

The Begum Aga Khan with Shergar after his victory in the Irish Sweeps Derby at the Curragh on June 29th, 1981. File photograph:
The Irish Times

Before becoming part of folklore, or reduced to a shabby punchline, Shergar was one of the finest racehorses of the last half-century.

A tragic mystery due to his kidnapping by the IRA in 1983, it can get overlooked how revulsion surrounding such a grotesque act was bound up in the impact the colt made on the wider public consciousness doing what he was bred to do.

Saturday’s (June 5, 2021) 242nd Epsom Derby is the 40th anniversary of Shergar turning racing’s Blue Riband into an unparalleled rout.



His Highness The Aga Khan receives winner's trophy from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Epsom 2016-06-05

Epsom Derby 2016

Epsom Derby 2016

Queen Elizabeth presents His Highness The Aga Khan with the Investec Derby Trophy 2016-06-04

Harzand Gives Aga Khan Fifth Epsom Derby Win 2016-06-04

Queen Elizabeth presents the Investec Derby Trophy to His Highness The Aga Khan 2016-06-04

The Aga Khan homebred Harzand moved to the lead in mid-stretch of the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and fought off a challenge from Us Army Ranger to win the 1 1/2-mile classic June 4 at Epsom Downs.

Jockey Pat Smullen picked up his first Epsom Derby win after delivering a well-timed move, opening a clear advantage when passing Idaho in midstretch, and then fending off runner-up Us Army Ranger, the 7-2 favorite, for a 1 1/2-length victory in the £1,545,000 ($2.25 million) classic, the most lucrative race ever run in Great Britain.

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