Our summer season of events began in elegant fashion as Epsom Downs Racecourse opened its doors for another edition of the Investec Derby Festival. Considered as the highlight of the flat season, both days at the beginning of June attracted a bumper crowd and sold-out hospitality areas for this quintessentially British event.
Ladies day on Friday 1 June enjoyed an atmosphere of anticipation as the weather set fair for an exciting day of racing, complemented by the usual array of graceful garments and fashionable headwear.
Michel Roux Jr talks through his menu
Michel Roux Jr greeted guests of the Chez Roux restaurant to begin a memorable Ladies Day. In the below photographs he explains some of what goes into the day’s menu and the inspiration behind it. He briefly mentions the involvement of his father Albert and daughter Emily as they continue to prepare the dishes in the kitchen. Throughout the day, the trio pose for photographs with excitable guests.
Changes to The Winning Post
One of the major changes this year was the overhaul given to The Winning Post, which underwent a series of aesthetic modifications but still maintained its popular after party. Keith Prowse event manager Deb Smith considers it her highlight of the event: "It came together really well, and we had two fantastic after-parties, with more people staying than in previous years and great sets from our DJ, Dan Flack, and percussionist CJ Evans. Also, our guests have never been closer to the action in Winning Post as we had a large screen on the terrace."
Downs View Suite Refurb
The much-revered Downs View Suite was also redecorated this year and it was satisfying to welcome our guests to this exemplary space with its magnificent elevated views of the final straight.
Challenges for the events team
As with an event of this magnitude, our events team work tirelessly across the year to pull everything together and face a number of challenges, none more so than in the last few weeks before the event, when the construction of our temporary structures progresses. Deb explains:
"The marquee builds are always a challenge. This year the process started on 14 May. They have 11 days to build before handing over to catering and other suppliers so that they can begin their jobs, so it’s always a challenging schedule. But we were lucky with the weather this year which helped. Also, the bank holiday falling during the week of the event – it makes for a busy final three days before the event."
Whilst everything that happens behind-the-scenes is done to ensure the best possible experience for our guests, it’s always reassuring to receive praise for a job well done. One guest stated the following:
“All the hospitality staff were extremely friendly, personable and helpful”
“Don’t change anything. It’s better than Ascot!”
"The whole experience in the Tattenham Straight hospitality was very good and we had a wonderful time. It was the first time we had attended a race meeting and also using Keith Prowse"
At The Races
On the course itself, there was a surprise winner in the 16:30 Epsom Derby race on the Saturday. Godolphin's 16/1 outsider Masar, ridden by Irish youngster William Buick broke through on the final straight to win in style.
Masar received plenty of adulation as its owners looked on delighted at this famous win.
2019 event now on sale
The flat season continues through June with the Royal Ascot meet another season highlight but if you're already thinking about next year, we're pleased to reveal that the 2019 edition of the Investec Derby Festival is now on sale and you can book your spot in a matter of clicks via our website.
Whilst the dust has settled on our final horse racing event of the year, it's just the beginning of things to come as far as Keith Prowse are concerned, ahead of another big summer of world-class sport hospitality.
Our first cricket event of the season takes place at The Kia Oval as England’s all-conquering one-day side take on Australia in a day/night match on Wednesday 13 June.
A week later, attention turns to tennis and specifically the grass court season as the ATP circuit arrives in London for the week-long Fever-Tree Championships, where a number of big names are expected to take part.
At the beginning of July, all eyes will be on SW19 as The Championships, Wimbledon returns for another edition of the popular grand slam event. Taking place over two weeks.
England’s test cricket team then take on the world’s best as India are welcomed to both Edgbaston and The Kia Oval in August and September respectively whilst the Birmingham ground also hosts the annual Vitality Blast T20 Finals Day in between the two test matches.
As the curtain falls on the Great British summer, the doors open to the new East Stand at Twickenham Stadium with the first taste of our new hospitality on show during the Quilter Internationals in November.