Hot Then Cold: Three Odds-On Derby Favourites Who Flopped ; Sports Week

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One letdown in regal procession


King George VI (right) won four of the five wartime Classics in 1942, but missed the most important. His filly Sun Chariot won the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger; his colt Big Game, trained by Fred Darling and ridden by Gordon Richards, started at 4-6 for the Derby on the Newmarket July course after winning the 2,000 Guineas by an easy four lengths but proved a non-stayer and came in sixth behind his nearest Guineas pursuer, Watling Street. That was the Royal colt's sole defeat; he won the Champion Stakes on his only other run.

Richards' jinx strikes again


When Tudor Minstrel, another from the Fred Darling stable, finished fourth to the French-trained outsider Pearl Diver in 1947, some newspapers went as far as describing his defeat as a national tragedy. He had won the 2,000 Guineas in a canter by a record eight lengths, and providing Gordon Richards (pictured) with a first Derby win was supposed to be a formality. …