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1981 Epsom Derby

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Location  Epsom Downs Racecourse
Winning horse  Shergar
Jockey  Walter Swinburn
Date  3 June 1981
SP  10/11 Fav
Trainer  Michael Stoute
1981 Epsom Derby

The 1981 Epsom Derby was the 202nd annual running of the Derby horse race. It took place at Epsom Downs Racecourse on 3 June 1981.


The race was won by the Aga Khan's Shergar, at odds of 10/11 ridden by the nineteen-year-old jockey Walter Swinburn and trained at Newmarket, Suffolk by Michael Stoute. The winning margin of ten lengths was the largest in the history of the race. However, the winning time of 2:44.21 was the slowest since 1946.

Race details

  • Sponsor: none
  • Winner's prize money: £149,900
  • Going: Dead
  • Number of runners: 18
  • Winner's time: 2 minutes, 44.21 seconds
  • Full result

  • Lydian refused to enter the stalls and was withdrawn at the start
  • Winner details

    Further details of the winner, Shergar:

  • Foaled: 3 March 1978, in Ireland
  • Sire: Great Nephew; Dam: Sharmeen (Val de Loir)
  • Owner: Aga Khan IV
  • Breeder: Aga Khan IV
  • Two-year-old races

    Notable runs by the future Derby participants as two-year-olds in 1980:

  • Church Parade1st in Lanson Champagne Stakes, 3rd in Champagne Stakes
  • Glint of Gold - 1st in Gran Criterium
  • Kalaglow - 1st in Horris Hill Stakes
  • Robellino - 2nd in Chesham Stakes, 1st in Seaton Delaval Stakes, 1st in Royal Lodge Stakes
  • Sheer Grit - 3rd in William Hill Futurity
  • Shergar - 2nd in William Hill Futurity
  • The road to Epsom

    Early-season appearances in 1981 and trial races prior to running in the Derby:

  • Al Nasr - 1st in Prix La Force
  • Glint of Gold - 1st in Derby Italiano
  • Kind of Hush1st in Craven Stakes
  • Kings General - 3rd in Sandown Classic Trial
  • Riberetto1st in Lingfield Derby Trial
  • Robellino - 2nd in Blue Riband Trial Stakes
  • Scintillating Air - 3rd in Dante Stakes
  • Sheer Grit2nd in Lingfield Derby Trial
  • Shergar1st in Sandown Classic Trial, 1st in Chester Vase
  • Shotgun - 2nd in Dante Stakes
  • Sunley Builds2nd in Chester Vase
  • Subsequent Group 1 wins

    Group 1 / Grade I victories after running in the Derby.

  • Al NasrPrix d'Ispahan (1982)
  • Glint of GoldGrand Prix de Paris (1981), Preis von Europa (1981), Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (1982), Grosser Preis von Baden (1982)
  • KalaglowEclipse Stakes (1982), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1982)
  • ShergarIrish Derby (1981), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1981)
  • References

    1981 Epsom Derby Wikipedia