From Shergar to Desert Crown – Stoute’s Derby super six

Desert Crown’s victory in the Cazoo Derby means his celebrated trainer Sir Michael Stoute has now won the premier Classic six times. PA Racing takes a look at his other winners:

Shergar (1981)

Shergar returns in triumph after the Derby at Epsom in 1981
Shergar returns in triumph after the Derby at Epsom in 1981 (PA)

Shergar’s victory in the Derby remains one of the most iconic of all Classic victoriese. His winning margin of 10 lengths is a record and stamped Shergar as a middle-distance horse of the highest quality. At the start of the season, Shergar was 33-1 in the ante-post market on the Derby, but went off the 10-11 favourite after winning Sandown’s Classic Trial and the Chester Vase very easily. With his young rider Walter Swinburn in the saddle, the opposition was routed in spectacular fashion. Shergar went on to confirm his class with further impressive victories in the Irish Derby and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes before disappointing in the St Leger, a race Stoute said recently he very much regretted running him in.

Shahrastani (1986)

Shahrastani (white face) holds off Dancing Brave
Shahrastani (white face) holds off Dancing Brave (PA)

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The 1986 Derby is more famous for the horse that failed to win rather than the one which actually did. Stoute’s Shahrastani, like Shergar owned by the Aga Khan, stole a few lengths over two furlongs out and it was an advantage he would not relinquish. When Swinburn kicked on, Guy Harwood’s 2000 Guineas winner Dancing Brave was at the back of the field, seemingly failing to handle the track. By the time Greville Starkey got him organised, Dancing Brave had many lengths to find but he set about doing so down the outside of the track, only to fail by half a length. Shahrastani went on to win the Irish Derby, while Dancing Brave would win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe among a plethora of Group Ones that summer.

Kris Kin (2003)

Kris Kin carrying jockey Kieren Fallon to Derby victory
Kris Kin carrying jockey Kieren Fallon to Derby victory (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

The victory of Kris Kin is remembered for one of the great Derby rides by Kieren Fallon, and an equally fine training performance from Stoute. Entered originally in the Derby, he was subsequently taken out following a setback. However, Stoute got him back in time to win the Chester Vase, after which he was supplemented back into the race. That was not all, in the week before Kris Kin suffered another hold up and many would have cried enough, but Stoute worked his magic and the rest is history – although Kris Kin never won another race.

North Light (2004)

Kieren Fallon wins the Derby again, this time on North Light
Kieren Fallon wins the Derby again, this time on North Light (Chris Radburn/PA)

After a big gap between his previous two Derby winners, Stoute only had to wait 12 months for another as North Light stamped his class on the race in 2004. Having only won a Goodwood maiden at two, Stoute made the bold decision to send him to York for the Dante, where he beat Rule Of Law by half a length, Come the first Saturday in June, his superiority over that rival had extended to a length and a half. Narrowly beaten by Grey Swallow in the Irish Derby, he went on to finish fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but a stress fracture in his pelvis meant he had just one run as a four-year-old before being retired.

Workforce (2010)

Workforce destroyed the Derby field
Workforce destroyed the Derby field (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Workforce often gets overlooked when remembering some of Stoute’s great horses, but to win a Derby and an Arc takes some doing. He also quashed the theory that those beaten in the Dante at York could not prevail at Epsom. Well beaten by Cape Blanco on the Knavesmire, he absolutely bolted up in the Derby by seven lengths and while under par in the King George dominated by stablemate Harbinger in the summer, he bounced back to win the Arc under a brilliant ride by Ryan Moore. At four he was second in both the Eclipse and the King George.

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