Thursday, 30 May 2013

Derby Drama

We’ve enjoyed some great finishes at Cartmel during the last week, but thankfully nothing quite so dramatic as the Epsom Derby of 100 years ago, which is commonly known as the “Suffragettes  Derby”. 

Female jockeys are now a common sight on British racecourses and on Wednesday the three top jockeys at Cartmel were all girls: Samantha Drake, Emma Sayer and Lucy Alexander. Female trainers Dianne Sayer and Joanne Foster both trained winners. However, in 1913, women were still lobbying for the right to vote, never mind training and riding Thoroughbred horses on the track.

Much has been written and broadcast about Emily Davidson this week as the racing world prepares for the biggest race in the Flat Calendar which takes place on Saturday. She was the suffragette who ran in front of the King’s horse, Amner, as the runners reached Tattenham Corner. Through her subsequent death she became the first martyr for the cause of suffrage and her name has passed into the history books.

For many people, the race stops there and whenever the old newsreel of the race is played, we very rarely see the finish. The form book will tell you that Aboyeur was the winner, but it was actually Craganour who has his head in front at the line. Craganour was owned by Charles Bower Ismay, reviled by the establishment due to his family links to the ownership of the Titanic, sunk with the loss of more than 1,500 lives in 1912.

The stewards decided to disqualify Craganour for “bumping” in the final furlong, awarding the race to the 100/1 shot Aboyeur owned by one of the most successful gambling syndicates in the history of the sport. While there is no evidence to confirm that Craganour was disqualified because of his owner’s reputation, it is curious that the same horse also finished in front in the 2,000 Guineas and yet was placed second by the judge - who declared that he had been beaten by a head. He is the only horse in history to have passed the post first in two classics, winning neither of them.

Aboyeur was sold to stud in St Petersburg and disappeared during the Russian Revolution. He was rumoured to have been disguised as a cart-horse and evacuated to Serbia, but no one really knows. 

There is a very strong Irish entry for Saturday’s Derby. I’ll be hoping for a Yorkshire success courtesy of Libertarian; at 16/1 he is a good each way bet.


No comments:

Post a Comment