Epsomderby.org is your complete guide to the Epsom Derby and an indispensable aid to finding the winner of a race that is a national institution and one of the most prestigious thoroughbred contests in the world.
The Derby is one of five classics that are the cornerstones of Flat racing in England, and is the second leg of the English Triple Crown, preceded by the 2,000 Guineas and followed by the St Leger. It has had a long and remarkable history, having first been run in 1780 and is flat racing's equivalent to the Aintree Grand National.
The Group 1 race is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies and is run at Epsom Downs over a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 10 yards (2,423 metres). Witnessed by around 120,000 spectators at the racecourse and on the overlooking Epsom Downs hill, plus a tv audience of millions worldwide, it is the flat race that every owner, trainer and jockey want to win.
In its 230 year history The Derby has provided plenty of storylines, some of them tragic, some dramatic, but all of them equally compelling. This year was no different, as winner Pour Moi came from last at Tattenham Corner to clinch a dramatic victory on the line - a performance reminiscent of Dancing Brave, both in the Derby (when second) and the Arc (when winning).
The 4-1 second favourite, who became the first French-trained winner since Empery in 1976, was ridden by teenage jockey Mickael Barzalona. The 19-year-old produced an ice-cool ride on a sweltering day and jubilantly stood in his riding irons as he passed the winning line in his first Derby ride. He is the first teenager to ride the Derby winner since Walter Swinburn, also 19, triumphed on Shergar 30 years ago.
Barzalona waved the French flag after dashing the Queen's hopes of a first winner in the Classic for a reigning monarch in more than 100 years at her 10th attempt with favourite Carlton House, who unfortunately lost a shoe in the final furlong as he tried to gain ground and finished third.
The winner is owned by the Coolmore Stud trio of John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, who are also involved in the ownership of runner-up Treasure Beach, trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien. Magnier was magnanimous in victory. He said: "I wish that someone else owned Carlton House, but that is racing."
So what sets the Derby apart from other sporting events? The race takes place on the first Saturday in June each year on Epsom Downs, and both the course and the setting are totally unique.
For the horses, the course is reminiscent of a helter skelter with twists, turns, rises and falls throughout the mile and a half contest, making it the ultimate physical and mental test of a thoroughbred race horse. It also tests a jockey's skills to the limits and it is scarcely surprising, therefore, that those riders with the best Derby records are legends of the sport like Lester Piggott, Willie Carson, Mick Kinane and Kieren Fallon.
For spectators, the Derby has long been known for its unique party atmosphere and for the full range of social classes on view.
The Downs is a public area and so entry to the centre of the course is free, encouraging thousands of people to flock there on raceday to enjoy the racing and the massive fun fair that is set up especially for the occasion.
Those preferring a better view of the races hire double decker buses, which line the rails up the home straight right from Tattenham Corner to the winning post. In the Queens Stand, by contrast, a morning suit is compulsory and the atmosphere is more reminiscent of Royal Ascot (visit our enclosures and tickets sections for more details).
The race is big business too. The 2007 Epsom Derby winner, Authorized, won over £700,000 for his owners, Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar. In addition, the horse's value rocketed to around £10 million as a result of the fees a Derby winner can demand at stud. 2009 Derby winner, Sea The Stars, now demands even higher stud fees given his near perfect confirmation and unflappable temperament.
Our news section will keep you right up to date with all the developments in the run up to the big day, including the results of the numerous traditional trial races run throughout April and May, starting with the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and culminating with the Cocked Hat Stakes (previously the Predominate Stakes) at Goodwood.
Whilst the Derby is unquestionably the biggest and most prestigious flat race run all season, the Derby Festival is now very much a two day affair, with the Oaks being staged on Friday and the Derby on Saturday.
It is only fitting, therefore, for us to also provide previews and reviews of “the Derby for fillies” on this site. Our Oaks tips have been remarkably successful in recent years, most notably in 2008 when our four selections all finished in the first five, including advising that Moonstone and Look Here were "the best outsiders" - Look Here won at 33-1 and Moonstone was second at 25-1!
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about Cheltenham we recommend you check out the Cheltenham Festival website