Was Shergar unbeaten?
Sadly, Shergar will always be best remembered for his abduction, at gunpoint, from the Ballymany Stud in Co. Kildare on the evening of February 8, 1983, rather than anything he achieved on the racecourse. A series of ransom demands were made, probably by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), but none were met and Shergar was never seen again.
Anyway, in happier times, Shergar was one of the truly great racehorses in the second half of the twentieth century. In 1981, as a three-year-old, he won the Sandown Classic Trial by 10 lengths, Chester Vase by 12 lengths, Derby by 10 lengths (still the widest winning margin in the history of the Epsom Classic), Irish Derby by 4 lengths and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 4 lengths. In so doing, Shergar achieved a Timeform rating of 140 which, at the time, had been bettered only by Sea-Bird, Brigadier Gerard, Tudor Minstrel, Abernant, Ribot and Mill Reef.
However, Shergar was beaten twice in his eight-race career. On his second start as a two-year-old, he was beaten 2½ lengths by subsquent Dante Stakes and Benson and Hedges Gold Cup winner, Beldale Flutter, in the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster. On his sixth and final start as a three-year-old, he was sent off at odds-on for the St. Leger, also at Doncaster, but ran inexplicably badly, trailing in fourth, beaten 11½ lengths, behind largely unconsidered 25/1 chance Cut Above.