2003 – Pinza and Sir Gordon Richards

2003 - Pinza and Sir Gordon Richards by William Newton

The Coronation Derby of 1953 saw the just knighted Sir Gordon Richards win his first Derby at his 28th attempt, beating the new Queen’s Aureole into second place.

It was essential for me to get a true understanding of both the 26-times champion jockey and his horse.  Sir Gordon’s daughter, Marjory, was extremely helpful.  The Pinza story is a romantic one.

Bred by fabled trainer Fred Darling, who had himself trained the winners of seven Derbys, Pinza was sold as a yearling to Sir Victor Sassoon.  Trainer Norman Bertie, Darling’s former head lad, asked if he could train the colt; Sir Victor agreed.  During Pinza’s long Derby preparation, the terminally ill Fred Darling was a constant source of advice and influence.  Pinza and Sir Gordon (who had been Darlings stable jockey) won by four lengths.  Three days after their Derby triumph, Fred Darling died.

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