A bay colt with a distinctive white blaze, Irish racehorse Shergar won the 1981 Epsom Derby by a record 10 lengths, the longest winning margin in the race’s 226-year history. In fact, had jockey Walter Swinburn not eased up it could easily have been a 15 lengths victory over Glint of Gold. Shergar was named European Horse of the Year in 1981 and was retired from racing that September.
Unintentionally cementing his place in legend, Shergar was stolen from the Ballymany Stud, near The Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland by masked gunmen on 8 February 1983 and never seen again.
His 1981 victory earned him the 85th spot in The Observer newspaper’s 100 Most Memorable Sporting Moments of the Twentieth Century. Indeed, the Observer’s racing correspondent Richard Baerlein was supremely confident of the horse’s quality to the extent that he had backed the horse at 33-1 – and famously won enough money to buy a house in Sussex.
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