Horse Racing Event News

Return of the Racecourse: BHA’s new plan for British Racing

Light at the end of the tunnel as BHA release a nine-step plan intending to bring spectators back to racecourses as soon as possible.

Epsom Derby Winners History

The world-renowned Epsom Derby, or ‘the Derby’, is a race notable for many prominent reasons. It‘s where suffragette Emily Davison brought down the King’s horse in 1913, Britain’s richest horse race and regarded as ‘the greatest flat race in the world’.

Each year thousands flock to Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey to witness some of the nation’s most refined and exhilarating horseracing.

The Derby stands as one of the five classic Group 1 horse races run in Britain alongside Epsom Oaks, 2,000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas and St Leger Stakes.

Discover the aristocratic origins of the Derby and some of the most iconic Derby winners over the years.

How old is the Epsom Derby?

The Epsom Derby dates back to 1780, with the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury supposedly flipping a coin to determine whether the race would be named Derby or Bunbury Stakes. The ‘Derby’ name has since been adopted by other renowned horse races around the world, most notably the Kentucky Derby in the United States.

Though Bunbury may have lost the coin toss, his name would later be featured the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.

The Derby first commenced on Thursday 4th May 1780 and was won by a Charles Bunbury owned colt named Diomed, with prize money of £1,065 15s. The race distance began at 1 mile and was eventually amended to 1 and a half miles, which remains the distance today. The Derby tends to be run by three-year-old colts but is also open to fillies.

During its first 50 years, the Epsom Derby thoroughly established itself as a premier racing event, becoming a much-loved day out for Londoners. Derby Day sparked immense excitement throughout the nation, becoming an experience in which both aristocracy and the working class united in the name of horseracing.

Naturally, the Derby is steeped in Royal affiliations. Queen Elizabeth II famously has an extensive passion for horseracing and loves to be in attendance for both the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot each year. She is yet to produce a Derby winner but has come a close second in previous years. 

Those close to The Queen have revealed that an Epsom Derby winner would mean everything to her. Hopefully, next year will deliver a champion for her majesty!

When is the Epsom Derby?

The Epsom Derby opening day has altered numerous times over the years. The Derby initially began running on a Thursday during late May to early June. However, it wasn’t until 1995 that it altered to become the first Saturday in June.

How much is the Epsom Derby worth?

There’s a reason why Epsom Derby is known as Britain’s richest horse race! The prize money stands at £1.5million, with £850,650 awarded to the Derby winner.

Epsom Derby winners through the years

Considering the Epsom Derby has been running since 1780, it’s fair to say that there has been an abundance of notable winners over the years! Here are just a few of them:

Epsom Derby winner 1970 – Nijinsky 

Of course, Nijinsky has to be mentioned in an Epsom Derby winners list! 1970 saw Nijinsky make his spectacular Epsom win, having already been victorious at 2000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse. Nijinsky eventually won The Triple Crown, the first horse in 35 years to achieve this and a feat which has yet to be repeated.

Epsom Derby winner 1981 – Shergar

1981 was the year that jockey Willie Carson believed he could win the Derby for the Queen, riding Church Parade. Sadly, this was not to be as he ended up in fifth place. Instead, the Derby winner was none other than the mighty Shergar! 1981 was a winning year for Shergar, taking the crown at Guardian Newspaper Classic Trial, Chester Vase, Derby Stakes, Irish Sweeps Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.

Epsom Derby winner 2001 – Galileo

Galileo secured a triumphant Derby win in 2001, beating rival Golan in what was a nail-biting dual. However, Galileo was full speed ahead, claiming victory by three and a half lengths. The Epsom champion has set a record for the number of Derby winners sired at five.

Epsom Derby winner 2007 – Authorized

2007 saw top jockey Frankie Dettori claim his first Epsom Derby win. Authorized took the lead by five lengths and, as you can imagine, the crowd roared with excitement. Dettori experienced victory again in 2015 on Golden Horn, but the first win is always the most meaningful.

Epsom Derby winner 2011 – Pour Moi

Pour Moi’s victory alongside 19-year-old jockey, Mickael Barzalona, really was a standout moment in the Epsom Derby winners timeline. Struggling to take the lead for the majority of the race, Pour Moi miraculously burst forth during the final furlong as Barzalona, stood up in celebration of the win.

When is the Epsom Derby 2021?

The Epsom Derby 2021 will take place between Friday 4th June – Saturday 5th June 2021. The Derby opens with the spectacular Ladies Day which sees both ladies and gentlemen adorn their finest attire in a bid to claim the Style Award. Day two is one of the most anticipated race days within the entire horseracing calendar, Epsom Derby Day.

We cannot wait to return to Epsom Downs Racecourse in 2021 to welcome back our clients to one of the world’s most iconic flat racing events. Want to be part of the action? Head on over to our Epsom Derby hospitality page to view the exquisite hospitality packages we have on offer for this historic meeting. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on one of the most prestigious meetings within the racing calendar!

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?

Thinking of heading to the Cheltenham Festival in 2021 for a four-day bonanza? The annual event shouldn’t be missed and takes place at…

Cheltenham Hotels: Where To Stay

To help our guests who may be travelling from a little further afield we have put together a list of our Top Five places to stay when visiting the Cheltenham Festival.

The Cheltenham Festival’s Biggest Shocks

Take a look at our 5 biggest surprises that left racegoers in awe as the unthinkable unfolded in front of their very eyes.

Food & Drink at Cheltenham Racecourse

Wondering where to find food and drink at Cheltenham Racecourse? Discover all the eateries and bars in each enclosure here.

Cheltenham Festival: Our guide on the Prestbury Park courses

Cheltenham provides the ultimate tests for horse and jockey, but how much do you know about their signature racecourses?

QIPCO British Champions Day – The Preview & Final Fields

Held at Ascot Racecourse, QIPCO British Champions Day is the spectacular finale to Britain’s beloved flat racing season and most definitely the highlight of the British racing calendar. It is the last meeting in the QIPCO British Champions Series, which hosts a number of other racedays throughout the year at racecourses such as Newmarket, York and Epsom to name a few.

Champions Day is also the most expensive race day in Britain, boasting a prize fund in excess of £4.3 million, as well as being the only event in the series that hosts four Group 1 contests! Aside from the on-track action, Champions Day also sees the top performers of the Flat crowned for their efforts. Last year, Silvestre De Sousa claimed the title for the second consecutive year but this year Oisin Murphy is looking like the most likely to be crowned the Flat Jockey Champion.

He has an impressive tally of 168 wins this season, which is 35 ahead of second place finisher, Daniel Tudhope. Murphy’s unrivalled tally is not only a personal best but the highest win sheet since Richard Hughes recorded his 208 victories in 2013. On his crowning, the Irishman will become the youngest to receive the title since Ryan Moore back in 2006, who was age 23 at the time. He’ll be wanting to exit the 2019 flat racing season with a bang before claiming his first title and with a strike-rate of 20%, there’s no doubt that he will.

QIPCO Sponsors & the Champions Series Evolution

Although QIPCO British Champions Series was only incepted in 2011, it has evolved into one of the biggest brand names in UK horseracing – hosting some of the finest flat racing meetings across the country.

The QIPCO Holding belongs to a privately-run family investment company, headed by Chief Executive, Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani. The company itself is situated in Doha, Qatar and aside from their other business avenues, they own a global thoroughbred racing and breeding operation based in the United Kingdom, with the majority of its horses residing in Gloucestershire.

QIPCO is also an official partner of Ascot Racecourse and both partnerships with Ascot and the Champions Series are in effect until 2024. They open and close the series, as the Champions Series begins in Newmarket with the QIPCO Guineas Festival before concluding with Ascot Champions Day in October. Altogether there are 35 races in the Series, held at various leading racecourses across the country.

QIPCO Champions Day alone attracts some of the world’s top horses to its meeting. In 2019, an unprecedented 84 runners will participate in its six races, some of these being The Revenant, Lord Glitters, Kew Gardens and Magical who, under Donnacha O’Brien, will be looking to seal back-to-back victories in the highly valuable QIPCO Champions Stakes.

QIPCO Champions Stakes 2019

QIPCOThe Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Stakes race is 1 mile 2 furlongs in length and the most expensive race of the day, with a prize pot of £1.3 million. Last year, Cracksman – son of Frankel, who ended his career by winning the 2012 QIPCO Champion Stakes – rode to glory and secured a treble for trainer, J H M Gosden. It was a close call between him and Crystal Ocean but the colt galloped powerfully to finish ahead in the final stages of the race.

This year, Aiden O’Brien’s Magical, will be one of nine runners in the Champions Stakes. Last year the young filly made a name for herself on Champions Day, winning her first Group 1 race after outrunning Coronet by a length. She has spent much of this past year chasing Enable but with her phenomenal form and Enable not being in contention for the title, should be in good stead for a top place position.

Oisin Murphy will also be riding to seal another Group 1 victory with Deirdre. Together they made history at the Qatar Goodwood Festival as Deirdre became the first Japanese-trained horse to win a QIPCO British Champions Series Group 1 stakes. She is looking like prime competition for Magical, with those that know her best believing she has what it takes to win the title. She prefers faster ground but is a tough horse, Murphy himself has stated “if she does handle the ground, she’s probably the best horse in the race.” Can the duo land another huge prize tomorrow?

Queen Elizabeth Stakes II – Europe’s most expensive mile-long race

Ascot Runners and RidersAnother highly anticipated race on Champions Day is the QIPCO Queen Elizabeth Stakes II. This mile-long race is the most expensive in Europe, boasting a prize fund of £1.1 million, with over £600K of that sum going to first place.

Last year Roaring Lion, much like his name, powered down to the winning post to claim his fourth Group 1 of that season. He was a 2-1 favourite and Murphy demonstrated professionalism, composure and mastery to lead the strong horse to victory despite his resentment for the ground. He was put under pressure in the closing stages of the race but thanks to the chemistry between him Murphy, nothing gave way.

This year 16 horses will enter the Queen Elizabeth Stakes II, including French star, The Revenant, home favourites Benbatl and Accidental Agent as well as King of Comedy who’ll be led by Frankie Dettori.

Oisin Murphy will ride Benbatl who is looking incredible this year. At Newmarket he ran riot against King of Comedy, beating the young colt by five lengths in the Group 2 race, which is fantastic given the circumstances. Before the Newmarket race, Benbatl had an 11-month racing absence but should he perform how he did at Newmarket, surely only success can follow. Saeed bin Suroor’s wonder-colt is also the only horse to have won at Royal Ascot before achieving first place positions in Dubai, Germany and Australia.

Amongst the star-studded cast, France’s The Revenant, who has won his last six starts is coming up as the punters favourite.

The Hotly Contested QIPCO Champions Sprint Stakes

Ascot Racing ActionOnly six furlongs in length, the 2019 Champions Sprint stakes will be one of the most thrilling races to watch. It wasn’t run as Group 1 stake until 2015 but is now a firm favourite for racegoers and racers alike, providing wild excitement as the speed demons sprint down towards the winning post, chasing the trophy.

Last year, Sands of Mali took the punters by surprise, outclassing the in-form Harry Angel by a length. It was Harry Angel’s last race and the colt fought wildly to try and out pace his younger rival though to no avail. In 2019, Sand of Mali will be returning to defend his crown and will face competition from 2016 winner, The Tin Man and One Master.

It is The Tin Man’s fifth consecutive race in the Champion Stakes, though his form has dipped a little in the past year, so he may struggle in this one. One Master is coming in at 4/1 in the odds, so punters this could be the horse to bet on! She won back-to-back victories at the Prix de la Foret and jockey, P C Boudot expects conditions to be in her favour this weekend at Ascot Racecourse.

Betting Agents in Uproar?

Frankie Dettori: Ascot RacecourseSpeaking of odds, it seems the legendary Frankie Dettori is causing disruption for the betting agents this weekend. Should all eyes be on Frankie (which they tend to be), this could result in a huge loss for the betting industry as the punters tend to follow him no matter what and could result in multiple bets placed on the Ascot race master. In the past this led to one racegoer scoring a £500,000 pay-out!

It seems that the bookies won’t be imposing any restrictions on multiple Frankie bets on Champions Day but will have to closely monitor the costs, should any issues begin to arise. Dettori will ride in four of the six races at his most beloved racecourse and is looking like the favourite in at least three of those races. Do you think Frankie will win all three?

We can’t wait for tomorrow’s QIPCO Champions Day, which has a cast of some of the world’s most talented horses and leading jockeys. It’s a bittersweet ending to the flat racing season as in one respect we don’t want it to end but on the other we’re excited to see what tomorrow brings. If you’re unable to attend QIPCO British Champions Day 2019, we’ve already got packages available for 2020! Don’t miss out on: QIPCO Champions Day – book now and experience Britain’s most expensive raceday in true VIP fashion.

A History of Chester Races

Discover the history and origins of Chester Races, as well as what racegoers can look forward to in present day!

The York Ebor Festival: A Racegoer’s Dream

Eventmasters are delighted to provide official York Ebor Festival corporate hospitality packages at the illustrious York Racecourse for 2021. This fabulous festival represents one of the final major meetings of the tremendous flat racing season and features Europe’s most affluent flat handicap race – The Ebor. Treat your valued clients and guests to one of the greatest racing events with the Dante Suite, Roberto Pavilion and Knavesmire Stand Private Box facility all providing an outstanding VIP experience to savour.

When is the York Ebor Festival?

The York Ebor Festival takes place annually each August and is undoubtedly one of the finest sporting and social events of the British summer. The Ebor Festival features world-class horse racing action across four glorious days on the venerable York Racecourse. The splendid York Ebor festival attracts the very finest horses year-on-year-out along with some of the most decorated jockeys in the business all vying to compete on the Knavesmire for the ultimate sporting accolade.

What races take place at the York Ebor Festival?

Taking place over four fabulous days, there are a number of fantastic races and events to look out for during the York Ebor Festival. Avid racegoers can indeed relish a delightful day of unrivalled racing with the feature races in particular certain to catch the eye.

Juddmonte International Day

The feature race on day one of the Ebor festival, Juddemonte International Day, is without a doubt, the Juddmonte International. The race is ranked as the singular best horse race in Britain by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities since 2015. This outstanding contest has been won by some of the sport’s finest specimens including the seemingly invincible Frankel, who soared to victory in 2012. The stunning win signified the colt’s thirteenth straight win, enhancing his reputation as one of the greatest horses in the sport’s colourful history.

Another year to remember was 2016 when Postponed continued his fantastic season as he took the Group One race in stunning style, a moment which trainer Roger Varian has reflected on as the highlight of his career.

But Juddmonte International Day does not only comprise one signature race as fans also take an avid interest in the Great Voltigeur Stakes; a competition which has produced 13 winners of the final classic of the season – the St Leger Stakes.

York Ebor Festival Ladies Day

York Ebor Ladies Day takes place on the second day of the festival and represents one of the most splendid events in the social and sporting calendar.

This sumptuous social occasion is synonymous with class, elegance and sophistication and is the signature event combining the very best in fabulous fashion and riveting horse racing. Ladies will once again flock in their thousands to York Racecourse for this extremely attractive day out as they compete furiously for the coveted prize of ‘Best Dressed Lady’.

Some might say that this wonderful day of revered fashion is just as important as the occasion itself. But the finery and luxury of the social event of the British summer belies the fact that it merely provides the backdrop for world-class, high octane action on the racetrack.

The sporting highlight of the day is certainly the Group One Yorkshire Oaks which takes centre stage on the sun-splashed second day.

Nunthorpe Day

Friday represents a fabulous day the at prestigious York Ebor Festival with Nunthorpe Day, offering distinguished guests the chance to witness one of the fastest and most exciting sprints of the season – The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. This five-furlong race is a quintessential element of the British Champions Series and often determines the finest sprinter in the country.

Ebor Day

Ebor Day is the final day of the York Ebor Festival features one of the greatest races in Europe – The Ebor Handicap. The race has been a permanent fixture on the Knavesmire since the 1840’s and it continues to hold the title as Europe’s richest flat handicap race. The fantastic air of this momentous occasion is truly like no other; the electrifying atmosphere that reverberates throughout the crowd as the horses thunder towards the finishing post is certainly an experience that will live long in the memory of any racegoer. It certainly promises be another splendid event this term.

York Ebor Festival Hospitality 2021

Eventmasters’ wide range of York Ebor Festival corporate hospitality packages are the perfect way to treat your valued clients and guests to a luxurious day of hospitality at one of the UK’s leading horse racing events. Experience the fantastic atmosphere and superb racing in VIP style from inside the Dante Suite and Roberto Pavilion – the two finest corporate hospitality facilities at York Racecourse.