The Epsom Derby, established back in 1780 for three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies, is today considered to be the most prestigious of the five Classics of the racing calendar, but there was nothing noble about the notorious Derby held in 1844. Marred by horse switching allegations, false age declarations, devious ownership transferrals and nobbling, it was set to become the most scandalous event in the history of the Turf. Drawing on a wide range of publications, newspaper articles, Jockey Club inquiry documentation and court evidence records, this book traces the web of deceit surrounding the original but subsequently disqualified 1844 Derby winner, Running Rein, and the audacious plan orchestrated by a certain Abraham Levi Goodman to ensure, by any underhand means at his disposal, that the Derby victory would be his, not for the glory of winning but as a monstrous betting coup. Twists and turns abound in the claims, counter-claims and conflicting witness statements when the case goes to trial, as attempts are made to determine the age and identity of the horse purported to be Running Rein, and this intriguing story provides a fascinating insight into the world of horse racing and betting, where the stakes are high and the unscrupulous are prepared to do anything to protect their own interests, with little regard for the impact of their actions on the reputation of the sport.
Keywords: derby, horse racing, 1780, 80s, racing, 1844, allegations, false age declarations, devious ownership transferrals, nobbling, jockey, winner. running rein, Abraham Levi Goodman, betting