Written by Lauren Mitchell
There is no doubting that the big bay was amazing.
With his white blaze and four white socks, he was described by his
groom as a gentleman.
won the Sandown Classic Trail by a whopping ten lengths. The Chester
Vase with an even larger lead of 12 lengths. Starting as the 10-11
favorite in the Epsom Derby, he gained another victory by 10 lengths
which was a record lead in the Derby for that century. This great
feat was then followed up by winning the George VI and Queen Elizabeth
Stakes. Trained by Sir Michael Stout and ridden for the most part
by Walter Swinburn, this is the legend that is Shergar.
After his short racing career of eight races,
his first season at stud he covered thirty-five mares at £80,000
a time. With an estimated fifty-five mare visits for his second
season, Shergar was anticipated to be as great a sire as he was
8.30 PM - February 8th - 1983
A Foggy winter's night. Head groom, Jim Fitzgerald heard a knock
at his front door at the Ballymany Stud where he lived with his
family. His son, Bernard, went to answer the door when three masked
and armed men burst amongst the Fitzgerald family. Fitzgerald was
forced to lead one man to Shergar, while to two others stayed with
his family. Fitzgerald was then coerced into loading Shergar onto
a stolen horsebox and he too with his famous charge.
A few miles further on, he was dropped off and
told ''to walk, not turn around and not to call the police''. Jim
Fitzgerald then walked to the next village and called his brother.
Back at the Ballymany Stud, he called the stud manager, Ghislain
Diron who in turn, called Shergar's vet and the police. At four
AM on February 9th, 1983, one of the biggest searches in the Republics
The kidnappers had planned well. The theft happened
the day before Goff's Race Horse Sale, where there were countless
horseboxes travelling back and forth.
Endless conspiricies(sp?) followed. The Mafia
had stolen the Derby winner after being wronged by Shergar's owner,
Aga Khan, in a horse deal. Another - he was taken by Colonel Gaddafi
of Libya in return for supplying arms to the IRA. Even years later
Shergar is belived to be still alive, siring foals who lineage cannot
be divulged. The 'truth', in fact, is much more dire.
A former IRS agent-turned police spy, Sean O'Callaghan,
named seven other IRA supporters he claimed to be Shergar's kidnappers.Amongst
those named was Kevin Mallon, the apparent instigator. O'Callaghan
claims that the horse went beserk and broke his leg which reulted
in Shergar being shot. The IRA, supposedly, kept up the pretense
of the horse being alive in order to claim to £2,000,000 ransom
they were holding him for.
According to an unnamed former IRA agent, O'Callaghan
do not know as much as he thought. The truth was that the IRA were
so humiliated by what happened that it was all kept very quiet,
which only four or five people actually knowing what what had happened
The Army Council, the ruling body of the IRA,
guaranteed a safe path through Ireland to a remote farm at a county
boarder. The vet who was supposed to be looking after Shergar whilst
he was being held for ransom, backed out after his wife discovered
what he was about to do. This is where everything fell apart.
After repeated stalling from the Aga Khan, The
Army Council realised that the £2,000,000 ransom was not going
to be paid. Deeming the six time winner ''worthless'' they ordered
Mallon to release him. Mallon, who knew he was being surveiled by
police, could not release the horse from where he was being held,
nor could he move him without being caught. Mallon ordered the horse
shot. A horriffic scene followed with Shergar being shot numerous
time with a machine gun. The innocent animal was executed in the
same way as people who opposed the IRA.
The unnamed source claims that he does not know
the location of Shergar's final resting place. He insists that Mallon
and his followers did everything possible to keep Shergar's bullet-riddled
body from being discovered. Mallon feared the wrath of the horse
loving Irish....especially after the execution of the country's
Sire: Great Nephew (foaled 1963)
Dam: Sharmeen (foaled 1972)
Markings: Blaze, four white socks
Career highlights: Winner of 1981 Epsom Derby by a record 10 lengths,
the widest margin in the Derby's 226 year history.
Named European Horse Of The Year 1981