The Epsom Derby is one of the most historic sporting events in Britain. It was first established in 1780 and is the most prestigious of the five Classics that take place during the racing season. Epsom is also known as Britain’s richest horse race and is often one of the most exciting for racegoers. A day at the Epsom Derby is a must do for an essential British summer.
What And When Is The Epsom Derby
The Epsom Derby is part of a two day festival of horse racing that takes place at the Epsom Downs racecourse in Surrey, and also includes the legendary Ladies Day. This year the Investec Ladies
Day will take place on Friday 1st June to be followed by the Investec Derby Day on Saturday 2nd June. Tickets for these two days are some of the most coveted in the summer season, as they represent the quintessential British racing experience.
Ladies Day – each year Ladies Day at Epsom sees style take over the stands, as female racegoers show off outfits and hats in an attempt to win the coveted Style Award competition. And, of course, there’s exceptional racing too.
Derby Day – on the Saturday, it’s time for the iconic Derby Day, which is without a doubt one of the greatest race days and social occasions on the summer circuit. Derby Day is all about the Epsom Derby itself - The Greatest Flat Race in the World – and is the peak of summer racing action. In 2017, the race was won by an outsider at 40/1 (Wings of Eagles), which added to the exciting atmosphere of the day.
Getting to the Epsom Derby
Gates open at 11am on both race days with the first race scheduled for 2pm and the last race for 5.50pm. Epsom Downs is located in the heart of the Surrey countryside but is easy to get to, whatever your transport of choice.
- Train - Tattenham Corner Station is a half mile walk from the race course and Epsom Downs Station is around a mile. Taxis are available to cover the short distance from station to racecourse and there is also a shuttle bus from Epsom Station. These stations are serviced by trains from London Waterloo and Victoria.
- Bus – the 460, 480 and 406F Metrobus service runs from Epsom Town Centre to Tattenham Corner Station.
- Road - KT18 5LQ is the post code to use with your satnav if you’re coming via road. The approach from Epsom town centre is just a few minutes on the B290 Epsom Downs Road. For those coming from the M25, it’s Junction 9.
- Air – Epsom is close to Heathrow Airport (27 miles) and also to Gatwick Airport (18.5 miles) and there are regular connections between the two. If you’re keen to arrive by helicopter then permission can be arranged to land within the grounds of the racecourse.
Epsom Derby Experiences with Tickets
Epsom Derby hospitality packages are fully inclusive of tickets and are the only way to truly experience the decadent and vibrant atmosphere of the event. Packages include a private
box with racecourse views or access to the exclusive Derby Suite with its fine dining and intimate atmosphere. The Winning Post is the place to be for those seeking a chic hospitality spot where the drinks are cold and the atmosphere exciting. The Downs View Suite and Tattenham Straight are also enormously popular hospitality options, which have delicious dining and key views at pivotal points in the racing. Keith Prowse offers a range of luxury packages for the Epsom Derby, from stylish dining to VIP views and exclusive service.
Epsom Derby Dress Code
There are seven enclosures at Epsom Downs and the dress code depends on the ticket option your choose. The most exclusive are:
- The Queen’s Stand – jacket, collar and tie are required for the men and a hat or fascinator for the ladies. Avoid denim, trainers, jeans or sports shorts.
- Grandstand Enclosure – the dress code encourages jacket, collar and tie for the men and a hat or fascinator for the ladies. Avoid vests, ripped, torn or frayed denim, sports trainers or fancy dress.
A day at the Epsom Derby is an opportunity to dress up and most guests like to look their best – especially if you’re planning to compete for the Ladies Day Style Award.
How To Select Horses
If you’re keen to pick a winner for the Epsom Derby then you can look at the form or you can pick the winner by eye.
- Reading the form – reading the form means looking at the horse’s past performance to determine how it might perform in the next race. For example, the numbers 1-9 on the race card will indicate where the horse finished in the last race (0 indicates the horse didn’t finish in the top 9). If you see the symbol “/” this means a long gap between races and the horse may have missed an entire season. Numbers that appear before the symbol “-“ are for last season. Some abbreviations to look out for include F (a fall), U (unseated jockey), R (refused), C (a win on this course before) and D (a win at this distance before).
- By eye – to select a horse by eye, head for the parade ring before the runners make their way to the course. Look for a relaxed horse with a shiny coat and bright eyes. A lean horse with good muscle definition and well developed rump and hind legs could all be a sign of a potential winner.
Book hospitality at Epsom and experience the greatest flat race in the world.