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Tanya Stevenson; My best bet was Terimon at 500-1.

Byline: Tanya Stevenson

THIS will be my 19th Derby and I still get goose pimples thinking about it.

They've all been memorable in their own way, even if I was just a kid at some of them.

My first visit was back in 1977 when Lester Piggott won on The Minstrel. Dad had a pitch on the Downs at the time.

I can't recollect whether it was a good result as at that age most of my time was spent on the rides at the fair.

But as he went back the following year I take it he at least broke level. I wasn't taken to the next two perhaps because I got under everyone's feet.

Dad did have his bookmakers' bag stolen one year. What the thieves didn't realise it was empty anyway. Not surprisingly it was soon located in a nearby toilet.

Luckily the babysitter went missing in 1981 so as an 11-year-old I was on the Downs to see the majestic Shergar.

At 12 I was officially working for the company, keeping dad up to date with the prices The only thing I can remember from Golden Fleece's victory is the lecture I got from mother for my not keeping up to date with the rivals' odds.

Being at the course itself I hadn't realised how badl y Greville Starkey had misjudged the ride on Dancing Brave in 1986. I certainly learned words of the English language that I never knew existed from disgruntled punters.

It was the last year the family had a pitch at Epsom

Kahyasi's victory in 1988 was memorable because after his victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial dad said he would jump off the stand if he won the Derby.

Luckily for him, I didn't ask him to perform the stunt when Ray Cochrane and said animal romped home.

My own bets were never that big, that was until the running of the 1989 Derby. Nashwan was a 5-4 favourite, but I wanted an each way bet on Terimon.

Sighs all round from my peers, together with a patronising pat on the head, that's got no chance darling. Terminon came second at 500-1!

He was a horse I had a real empathy with as I was on when he won the Earl Of Sefton and Juddmonte International.

Generous, in 1991, has to go down as my favourite Derby winner and his statue is situated overlooking the paddock.

Commander In Chief was the owner's second string when he won in 1993 and eyebrows were raised when I backed him because he looked cute with a distinctive white dot on his nose!

I wasn't so lucky in 1999, especially in the fashion strakes.

I decided to wear a beautiful pink dress but little did I know it was slightly transparent.

Punters and male colleagues were thrilled. I wasn't and spent a sweltering day in a full length anorak.

Very apt the winner was Oath. As I promised myself I wouldn't be doing that again.

2000 was the last time I walked the hallowed turf in Surrey. Bombarded with `lucky heather' and without the aid of Gypsy Rose Lee and her crystal ball I backed the winner Sinndar, owned by His Highness Aga Khan, trained by John Oxx and ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

The same connections, run Alamshar today and he even occupies the same box as Sinndar.

Through default I find myself on him. After reporting negative vibes for Refuse To Bend after an alleged poor performance on the gallop I prematurely rushed to the bookies and hurriedly wrote out betting slips for Alamshar.

I've no doubt the race for a fourth successive year will go to Ireland. In my view the final stages will be fought out by The Great Gatsby and Refuse To Bend. The former has been ridden as a pacemaker and with different tactics he has a chance in his own right plus he has Pat Eddery on board.

My Irish connections inform me that Pat Smullen is very confident of victory and he sees his only danger as Alamshar.

It could be that I will be eating humble pie just after 4pm. I said after Refuse To Bend's 2000 Guineas win to look out for Dermot Weld's wry smile come Epsom. I just wish I had kept faith in his stable star.

SELECTIVE has been finding it hard to win this season with his style of come from behind running.

Although second in the Lincoln he needs a strong pace and in a tactical eight-runner race he could well be second again in the 1.35 at Haydock.

He has already been defeated by Attache and With Reason is another strong rival.

WIN a pounds 20 betting voucher from Coral by answering my teaser each week. Willie Carson won the Derby four times, Troy in 1979, Henbit in 1980, Nashwan in 1989, who was he aboard when winning his final Derby in 1994?

E-mail your answer by Tuesday noon to racing@dailyrecord.co.uk with name and address and phone number. First correct contestant drawn at random will win the voucher. Answer last week was four. Winner was Jane Willis, Hampshire.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 7, 2003
Words:862
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