epsom derby

Epsom Derby Festival

The Epsom Derby is widely accepted as the biggest Flat race in the world and generally takes place at Epsom Downs racecourse in Surrey on the first Saturday in June. The 2019 race takes place on Saturday June 1 with a start time of 1630 BST.

The fourth Classic of the British season after the 1000 Guineas, the 2000 Guineas and the Oaks, the 12-furlong race is also the second part of the vaunted Triple Crown - which also includes the 2000 Guineas and St Leger. This treble was last completed by the mighty Nijinsky back in 1970.

The Epsom Derby is limited to three-year-old colts and fillies but is dominated by the former with the latter often running in the Oaks on the previous day.

The month before the Derby is littered with trials for the big race, including the Dante Stakes at York, the Chester Vase, the Lingfield Derby Trial and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial which is held at Leopardstown in Ireland.

338 yearlings were entered for the 2019 race back in 2017 for just £560 each, but the owner of any horse supplemented for the race at the final entry stage must fork out £85,000.

Hughie Morrison’s Telecaster - who won the Dante Stakes - and Aidan O’Brien’s Sir Dragonet – winner of the Chester Vase - were both supplemented for the 2019 running.

Epsom Derby Tips

The 2000 Guineas, run over a mile at Newmarket, can often be an excellent pointer towards the Derby, with Masar, Camelot and Australia among the recent winners of the Epsom race who had run previously in the opening Classic of the season.

In the last three runnings of the Derby – 2016, 2017 and 2018 - the winning horses have returned prices of 13/2, 16/1 and 40/1 so it can often pay to take on the market leaders and possibly opt for an unexposed horse, with many of the runners having never run over the 1m4f distance.

Espom Downs provides a tricky task for three-year-olds with a sweeping left turn at Tattenham Corner before they hurtle towards the straight, with a stiff finish in the last 100 yards that tends to suit the stayers in the field.

It can pay to have course experience at the tricky track, with both Cracksman and Dee Ex Bee having ran in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom recently before going on to place in the Classic.

Here at The Winners Enclosure, we analyse each horse in the field and highlight them in our race guide, which will be available in the days leading up to the Epsom Derby.

Our picks are always researched and chosen by our string of betting tipsters and they can be found on our daily horse racing tipping page here.

Betting on the Epsom Derby

The Epsom Derby market is often wide open and provides a great betting opportunity for those wanting a value selection at a huge price. Wings of Eagles won the race in 2017 at 40/1 so relative outsiders can win here and at The Winners Enclosure we will endeavour to find you the best value.

Many bookmakers will be offering free bets and extra places on the race, so keep your eyes peeled and check HERE for any special offers.

A large field is generally expected so bookmakers could be willing to offer as many as five places on the race, even though we will be hoping to just find the horse to cross the line in front!

With many horses having this as their aim for over a year, ante-post betting is usually very popular on the Epsom Derby.

2019 Epsom Derby Contenders

This year’s Epsom market is headed by Sir Dragonet (general 3/1), who roared to favouritism on the back of a bloodless debut win in Ireland followed by an eight-length romp in the Chester Vase. Stablemate Broome (9/2) was an impressive winner of the Derrinstown at Leopardstown while Telecaster (5/1) floored last year’s best juvenile Too Darn Hot in the Dante Stakes at York.

Another Ballydoyle inmate Anthony Van Dyck (6/1) took the Lingfield Trial while Bangkok (9/1) scored in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown.

At a huge price, Line of Duty (40/1) looks of interest on his 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf victory, but would need to bounce back from a disappointing seasonal reappearance in the Dante.

Epsom Derby Winners

With a total prize fund of £1.5million and over £850,000 to the winner, it is no shock that the Epsom Derby is one of the most prestigious and lucrative races on the Flat calendar. 2018 winner Masar has not appeared since taking the prize a year ago, while Wings of Eagles - who won the race in 2017 - ran just once more before retiring.

Looking further back, John Gosden-trained Golden Horn won the 2015 showpiece before securing the Eclipse Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The last horse to attempt the Triple Crown was Camelot in 2012, who won the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Irish Derby. However, the Ballydoyle-trained colt was foiled in his attempt at history when being beaten in the St Leger at Doncaster by Encke, ridden by Mikael Barzalona.

Lester Piggott is the most successful jockey in Epsom Derby history, winning the race an incredible nine times, including victories on iconic horses such as Nijinsky, Sir Ivor and The Minstrel.

The mighty Shergar still holds the record for the widest-margin victory in the race - a devastating 10-length success back in 1981.

Main Epsom Derby Races

Other major races across the two-day festival include the Epsom Oaks - the fillies equivalent of the Derby - as well as the Coronation Cup, run over the Derby distance but for horses aged four and above. Former winners of the Coronation Cup include Derby third Cracksman, Highland Reel and Postponed.

The Woodcote Stakes for two-year-olds can often provide Royal Ascot clues, with Buratino and Cardsharp on the roll of honour while the Group 3 Diomed Stakes has often thrown up future Group 1 winners.

Epsom Derby dress code

The Epsom Derby Festival has various dress codes, often depending on the enclosure you are in on the day. In the Grandstand Enclosure, it is a more relaxed affair although no sportswear or sleeveless vests are allowed. That said, you are encouraged to dress smartly and trainers are not permitted.

The Queen’s Stand has a stricter policy, with male racegoers asked to wear black or grey morning dress. Also, that should include a top hat or full national costume.

A formal day dress or tailored trouser suit is required for ladies, as well as a hat or substantial fascinator.

In all other enclosures (Lonsdale, Upper Tattenham and Hillside), the course has no dress code and only suggests that racegoers dress appropriately.

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