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The Derby and Epsom Downs Racecourse

Published on: 09/08/2013

Situated close to Epsom in Surrey, the Epson downs racecourse is a highly prestigious and famous track. Taking it’s name form the rustic north downs, it is frequently cited as being amongst the most interesting of all flat racing courses. It is peculiar being a left handed track, in the formation of a horseshoe, with an uneven and undulating terrain, making for a thrilling fide for jockeys, and an exciting spectacle for the crowds. Two railway lines, the Tattenham and the Epsom Downs, link this curious course to the world. Such is its magnetic draw and fame that Queen Elizabeth herself frequently makes an appearance, travelling on the splendorous Royal Train.

The Epson Downs has an extremely long history of racing. There are historical records showing that has early as 1661 the site was being used as a well maintained course. For nearly 70 years (until 1730) the site was active on a regular basis, staging races for the local populace to enjoy. Racing was resumed on the site when Edward Smith Stanley set up a race to 3 year old fillies. This nobleman, who was in fact the 12th Earl of Derby, named the site The Oaks, a name taken from his grand estate nearby. In 1780 Sir Charles Banbury collaborated up with the Earl, and Inaugurated the now world famous race for fillies and colts, which would stand the test of time and go on to become the Epsom Derby. Initially this race was a simple mile long straight, but four years later, with the construction of the Tattenham Corner, that most renowned bend in all racing, the racecourse became the one and a half mile route we know it today.

The regency stand was altered in 1879, enlarged to cater for the growing popularity of the site. It became the Prince’s stand, and was frequented by the Prince of Wales, and even by King George IV. It was the proud location of a celebratory party marking the Prince’s victory in the Derby in 1788 with Sir Thomas. The racecourse was requisitioned by the military during the Second World War, and the Prince’s stand became the Officer’s Mess. As part of the bicentennial celebrations for the Derby in 1979 the Prince’s stand was painstakingly and extensively renovated. In 1992 the Queen’s stand was opened by the Queen herself; and in 1992 another royal visit by the Duchess of Cornwall opened the Duchess’ Stand.

A famous launch in The Epsom down’s interesting history is the Great Metropolitan Handicap: this was initiated in 1846. Five years later the City & Suburban Handicap was begun. Of course the racetrack sports numerous races, including the Coronation Cup, the Diomed Stakes, the Woodcote Stakes, the Investec Derby Trial, and the Elizabeth Stakes. The famous course has never been lacking in notable races.

Few people know that The Epsom Downs is the the largest racehorse training facility in the entire country. This high ranking is primarily down to highly skilled trainers of course, and there are as many as eleven world class trainers on site, such as Laura Mongan and Simon Dow. The most prestigious trainer at Epsom is Richard Hannon, a famous name worthy to work alongside such skilled jockeys as Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore. The racecourse is a beacon to those at the very pinnacle of the sport. Perhaps the most famous of the events put on during the thirteen race days is the Investec Derby Festival. The prize for this big race is a staggering £1,250,000, clearly making it the most financially rewarding race in Britain. The center of the racecourse features a generous public arena, enabling avid fans to view the Derby as no cost. The derby has always been immensely popular, and is one of the year’s most attended sporting events, drawing as many as 125,000 spectators. Seating prices vary, but for £149 a comprehensive package, including a meal and a complimentary bet, is available.

The Racecourse does not restrict itself exclusively to horse racing: there are ladies nights, charity events, business conferences, and other activates occurring throughout the year. Always popular is the Season Finale, which is held every September. For as little as £20 you can gain admittance – but if you want to splash out, a £29 ticket will supply you with a £2 betting voucher, a salad, and a soft or alcoholic drink. Tickets for all these events sell out fast, so why not plan a fun day out at the Epsom Downs for you and your family?

Published on: 09/08/2013 © Bet Bind
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