The Epsom Derby, which is open to three-year-olds but excludes geldings, followed closely on the heels of the Epsom Oaks in 1780. Like in the previous Classics, the horses carry nine stone and zero pounds, with fillies getting a three-pound allowance. It is raced over one mile, four furlongs, and six yards and is widely regarded as the most prestigious of the Classics and the wealthiest event in Britain.
Why is the Epsom Derby Famous ? The Epsom Derby is known to be the Queen Mother’s favourite race. Alongside the 2,000 Guineas and St Leger, this event is part of horse racing‘s so-called Triple Crown. Other premier races throughout the globe have adopted the moniker “Derby,” with the Kentucky Derby being the most well-known example.
The Queen will be without a runner in this year’s Derby after all three of her remaining entries in the Classic, Reach For The Moon, Educator and General Idea, were taken out of the race, which will be at the centre of the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.
The Epsom Derby – The Race and the Racecourse
The Derby Stakes, commonly known as the Epsom Derby or the Derby and, for sponsorship purposes, as the Kazoo Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in England open to three-year-old colts and fillies. It is held annually on the first Saturday of June at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey over one mile, four furlongs, and six yards (2,420 metres). It made its debut in 1780.
It is the wealthiest flat horse event in the United Kingdom and the most famous of the five Classics. It is frequently referred to as the turf’s “Blue Riband.” The race is the middle leg of the historically significant Triple Crown of British horse racing, preceding the 2000 Guineas and following St Leger, though winning all three is rarely attempted in the modern era due to changing priorities in racing and breeding, the demands placed on horses.
The Epsom Derby – Alex Greaves (1996)
It took almost 200 years for a woman to compete in The Derby. Of course, there had been female trainers and owners at the time, and many had achieved success, but it took two centuries for a female jockey to go to the track.
Alex Greaves was the pathfinder, a pioneer for women in racing in various ways. She was the first woman to ride a Group One winner, the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 1997, and she went on to win almost 300 races in her distinguished career.
Greaves’ first historical moment occurred in the 1996 Derby when she partnered with Portuguese Lil on the legendary Epsom course. Portuguese Lil, priced at 500/1 by the bookmakers, didn’t have a chance in the fast circumstances, but Greaves put up a brilliant performance on a historic day for women in the sport.
The Epsom Derby – Hayley Turner (2012)
It’s unclear why it took 16 years for the next female rider to be granted a purse in The Derby. However, it was not surprising that the lady jockey in question was Hayley Turner, one of the most prolific jockeys of that period, who once had more than 100 wins in a single season back in 2008.
Turner won the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes, and she was picked to ride Cavaleiro in the 2012 Derby as a safe set of hands. The couple didn’t quite make it on the day, but the runout confirmed Turner’s place as one of the essential personalities in women’s horse racing.
She would become the first female rider on the Dubai World Cup night, winning an international Grade One race in the Beverley D. Stakes. All the lady jockeys who became fully-fledged did so thanks to Haley Turner, a pioneer in the jockey ranks in that period.
The Epsom Derby – Pertinent Statistics
- In 1996, Alex Greaves was the first woman to ride in the Derby, last on 500/1 chance Portuguese Lil, trained by her husband, Dandy Nicholls. Hayley Turner became the second woman to have a mount in the Premier Classic in 2012, finishing last on 25/1 chance Cavaleiro.
- In 1893, Harry Barker accomplished coming second in the Derby and the Grand National. At Epsom Downs, he rode Ravensbury to a second place in the Classic, and at the iconic Aintree Racecourse, he rode Aesop to a second place in the Grand National.
- Steve Donoghue is the only jockey to have ridden three Derby victories in a row, the three record-breaking victories coming on Humorist in 1921, Captain Cuttle in 1922, and Papyrus for his three in a row in 1923.
- Walter Swinburn, who died in a house accident in December 2016 at 55, won the Derby three times. Firstly, the brilliant Shergar in 1981, then Shahrastani in 1986, and finally on Lammtarra in 1995.
The Epsom Derby – 2022 Running and checking the Betting Exchanges
On Saturday, June 4 2022, at 4.30 pm, the 243rd annual Epsom Derby will be run at Epsom Downs Racecourse. The 2022 running, to be sponsored by Cazoo, will feature a race restricted to three-year-old colts and fillies. Sir Michael Stoute’s Desert Crown tops the ante-post betting for the Classic at 2/1, followed by Aidan O’Brien’s Stone Age at 3/1. Currently, twenty-one horses are still eligible to run, with the next stage of confirmations on May 30 2022.
More than 40% of the money traded on Betfair in the Derby market has been on the top two in the betting, with Desert Crown the current 3/1 favourites, having been matched at a high of 49/1, and Stone Age trading at 5.5/1 from a high of 79/1 when betting opened on the Exchange.
Both were impressive winners of their preparation races leading into the big race and will be popular betting propositions for amateur and professional horse racing analysts alike. However, an outsider upstaging the two favourites cannot be ruled out, and horse racing enthusiasts will eagerly watch the next confirmation stage.