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New king is crowned after avenging Derby defeat; MEMORABLE KING GEORGES A week-long series looking back down the decades.

1980s: Dancing Brave 1986 DANCING BRAVE is remembered now as one of the great racehorses of the modern era and probably the unluckiest Derby loser of all, but in this week 25 years ago he still had to convince many that he was even the best three-year-old of 1986.

He had won the 2,000 Guineas before the Derby, and the Eclipse after it, but 11-10 favouritism in the King George was bestowed on Shahrastani, who had held Dancing Brave's late surge at Epsom and added the Irish Derby by eight lengths.

However, after the King George there would be no doubt who was best as the 6-4 second favourite emphatically reversed Derby form with Shahrastani, as well as seeing off a strong team of older horses in Shardari, Triptych and Petoski, the previous year's King George winner.

Pat Eddery - taking over in the saddle from the injured Greville Starkey, who had been criticised for his waiting tactics in the Derby - had only Triptych behind him for the first half of the race as Boldden and Vouchsafe, Petoski's pacemakers, went off at a suicidal gallop.

Dihistan, who did a better pace-setting job in service of Shahrastani and Shardari, took over more than half a mile out, but Eddery had crept closer on the rail and was on the heels of the Aga Khan's challengers.

Shahrastani was first to crack as Shardari went for home two out, with Dancing Brave cruising on the outer. Having checked for dangers, Eddery quickened clear just before the furlong pole.

The jockey admitted later he had been taken to the front so quickly that Dancing Brave pulled up on him, allowing Shardari to fight back. The gap closed to three-quarters of a length at the line, with Triptych well back in third and Shahrastani fourth, but the outcome was never in doubt.

Dancing Brave was the middle-distance king. And with his scintillating Arc victory just over two months later, his place in history was assured.

Nick Pulford Watch the race: TOMORROW 1997'S CLASH OF THE GIANTS


Pat Eddery steers Dancing Brave (left) to victory over Shardari
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2011
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