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Grundy v Bustino: the greatest duel to grace the Flat

Grundy (near side) beats Bustino in the 1975 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – widely regarded as the race of the century
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Say one and people will immediately think of the other, and vice versa, and rightly so as Grundy and Bustino served up an equine indulgence to feast on and savour for an eternity and a day - one deemed by many the race of the century.

The pair met at Ascot on July 26, 1975 for a duel that needs little reintroduction but is no less enjoyable for being told again and again.

Bustino was the St Leger-winning four-year-old who bust the track record in Epsom's Coronation Cup as he prepped for the King George.

In the opposing corner was Grundy, Peter Walwyn's champion whose CV already contained a Derby and Irish equivalent.

Getting weight, he went off favourite but Bustino's camp were up for the scrap, employing pacemakers Highest and Kinglet to set the type of scorching pace that might put Grundy's stamina under the spotlight.

Their initial zest, however, meant a predictably early finish as they faded, leaving their stablemate - ridden by Joe Mercer - to shoot for home.

It was a move that appeared decisive as Pat Eddery, who had not been able to give Grundy a breather, did not look like he had a double handful.

But Bustino had put everything into Ascot's showpiece prize and began to tire as Grundy got going to play his crucial part in the most thrilling home-straight shootout in the history of British racing.

A dead-heat might have been the fairest result but Grundy edged ahead late on, etching his name into turf folklore.

It should not have been a two-horse race with dual King George heroine Dahlia, Irish Oaks winner Dibidale and Star Appeal, who would go on to land that year's Arc, in the field but it was and what a treat it was.

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A dead-heat might have been the fairest result but Grundy edged ahead late on, etching his name into turf folklore.
E.W. Terms