Epsom Downs Racecourse – Epsom Hospitality 2018
Taking place at the prestigious Epsom Downs Racecourse, the 2018 Epsom Derby represents the 239th annual running of the celebrated Derby horse race.
Standing proudly on the beautiful North Downs, Epsom is fittingly shaped like an giant elongated horseshoe, with a track that rises a remarkable 150 feet in the first half mile before dramatically dropping on the downhill stretch around Tattenham Corner.
The course, which boasts a crowd capacity of 120,000, is known principally for The Derby, which represents the premier thoroughbred horse race for three-year-old colts and fillies. The exhilarating contest sees avid competitors confront a gruelling mile and a half long track, before storming to the finish line in rampant style in an attempt to grab the headlines.
The illustrious venue also plays host to The Oaks Stakes and the coveted Coronation Cup, which see three year-old fillies and four year-old horses compete respectively in vigorous fashion.
The three events are signature Group 1 races are run over the same course and distance, offering superb viewing for ardent racegoers.
Sponsored by Investec Bank, the Derby is Britain’s most affluent horse race, and the most prominent of the five Classics; it is often referred to as the “Blue Riband” of the turf.
The race serves as the middle leg of the Triple Crown, preceded by the 2,000 Guineas and followed by the St Leger, although the feat of winning all three is now rarely attempted.
The name “Derby” has become synonymous with great races all over the world, and as such has been lent many times to a plethora of noteworthy events. However, the Epsom Derby is the original. It is one of Britain’s great national events transcending its own field of interest, and has a huge world-wide TV audience.
The Derby began in 1780 when it was won by a horse called Diomed who would become the first of many legends to triumph. Some of the fabled winners include Najinsky in 1970 and the superb Shergar in 1981.
The most decorated jockey, boasting an incredible nine Derby wins is Lester Piggott. Over a glittering 29 year career, the Englishman triumphed with a comprehensive number of runners including Never Say Die (1954), Crepello (1957), St. Paddy (1960), Sir Ivor (1968), Nijinsky (1970), Roberto (1972), Empery (1976), The Minstrel (1977), and Teenoso (1983). He is widely revered as one of the greatest flat-racing jockeys of all time, and has treated the Epsom Derby to some truly remarkable moments.
The first recorded race held on the Downs was in 1661, although a local burial list of 1625 which refers to “William Stanley who in running the race fell from his horse and brake his neck” suggests that racing was established significantly earlier. Epsom is also referenced in the diary of Samuel Pepys in 1663 and Charles II is said to have been an fanatical racegoer there. By 1684, Epsom had a clerk of the course and from 1730 was hosting bi-yearly race meetings.
In 1779, Lord Derby organised a race for himself and his friends for their three-year-old fillies. He named it the Oaks after his estate. From there was conceived the idea of a race to establish which horse was the best of its generation – hence the Derby was born.
As you would expect, Epsom offers an extensive range of hospitality facilities.
In 2009 the racecourse opened the luxuriant Duchess’s Stand. It has a capacity of 11,000 with a 10,000 square feet hall which can be used for banqueting, conferences and exhibitions.
Similarly the Queen’s Stand is a purpose-built conference centre which can host up to 800 guests.
Private boxes are also available with a fabulous choice of bars and restaurants.
Epsom has it all. Make it a day to remember for both you and your esteemed guests with a sumptuous Epsom hospitality package.