When it comes to flat racing in Britain, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. Officially called The Derby Stakes, known by most as just The Derby, it is a Group 1 race that is open to 3yo thoroughbreds only. If you live anywhere near Epsom, and if you can get a ticket, keep next June free and see if you can get along to watch the Derby. It's one of the best races in the world and for me, the highlight of the flat racing season.
It's hard to describe exactly what makes the Derby great if you haven't actually seen one live, so here's a recap of this year's race so you can see for yourself.
This Year's Derby
The 2015 Derby was won by Frankie Dettori riding Golden Horn. It was a magnificent performance by both horse and jockey, and a thoroughly deserved win. Watch the full race here.
History Of The Derby
Britain’s richest race, the Derby represents the middle leg of the Triple Crown, with the 2,000 Guineas before it and the St Leger after. This classic triple crown is very rarely attempted these days but there is no doubt this is the flat race every owner, trainer and jockey wants to win. The last horse to complete the Triple Crown was the great Nijinsky in 1970.
First ran in 1780, the Derby has been contested at Epsom every year apart from during the two World Wars, when Newmarket hosted the “New Derby”. The Derby has spawned many imitators and similar events across the racing world including Italian , German, Irish and French versions. A number of races in the USA have adopted the “Derby” name including the famous Kentucky Derby and the Santa Anita Derby. Despite others copying the Derby name, nothing can compare in terms of prestige to the original British version.
Lester Piggott is the leading jockey in Derby history having ridden nine horses to glory including the legendary Nijinsky in 1970. The overall leading trainer position is shared by three men; Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling. Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor share the title of leading owner with 6 wins a piece.
In 2010, Workforce recorded the fastest time in Epsom Derby history , stopping the clock at 2 minutes 31 seconds. The incredible Shergar logged the widest winning margin in 1981, beating second-place Glint Of Gold by some 10 lengths. This was probably the best Derby performance of all time, and I have included a video of the race below so you can relive Shergar's incredible run.