Dancing Brave Defeated in Derby 1986

The 80s gambling and sportings scene seems like another world now, light years away from online entertainment like https://www.bestusaonlinecasinos.com. Having won the Craven Stakes and the 2,000 Guineas with a minimum of fuss, despite stamina doubts over a mile-and-a-half, Dancing Brave was sent off well-backed 2/1 favourite for the Derby at Epsom in 1986. In the early stages, off a steady gallop, Dancing Brave was settled towards the rear of the 16-runner field by jockey Greville Starkey.

Approaching halfway, on the downhill run into Tattenham Corner, he was angled towards the outside and ridden along but, turning into the straight, Dancing Brave still only had two horses behind him. As the pace finally quickened, approaching the three-furlong marker, Dancing Brave started to make progress on the extreme outside. He continued to pick off rivals all the way up the straight, but inside the final furlong it soon became that the ‘bird’ – in the shape of second favourite, Shahrastani, who had struck for home under Walter Swinburn a furlong-and-a-half from home and wasn’t stopping – had flown.

Despite making up ground hand-over-fist in the closing stages, Dancing Brave had been set an insurmountable task and was still half a length behind at the line.Starkey had made the mistake – as later borne out by sectional timing – of lying too far out of his ground in a steadily-run race. He was widely pilloried for the defeat, which dogged him until the end of his career, so much so that, eventually, he refused to talk about the episode. Such a gesture seems rather tame in the context of today’s world. Nowadays we’d be too distracted with casinos online or angry tweets!

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