The Investec Derby returns to Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey this week (6-7 June). Dating back to 1780 and covering a distance of one mile, four furlongs and ten yards, (or 2,423 metres), it remains one of the pinnacles of horse racing.
This year’s bookies’ favourite is Australia. The colt has gained quite the reputation during his short career – winning two out of four races and came home third in the 2,000 Guineas earlier this month.
Whether you’re planning on having a flutter or not, it’s worth absorbing these fascinating facts about the longest-standing sporting event in the world…
The Derby originated at a celebration following the first running of the Oaks Stakes in 1779. A new race was planned, and named after the host of the party, the12th Earl of Derby.
In 1913, a young suffragette named Emily Davison fell in front of the horse of King George V at the Epsom Derby – resulting in her death four days later. Historians agree Davison was attempting to attach a scarf to the bridle of the king’s horse to try to draw attention to her cause.
It is Britain’s richest horse race and the most prestigious of the country’s five classics – with prize winnings of £1.25m.
In its wake, more than 140 races worldwide have adopted the title Derby – most notably the Kentucky Derby.
The race boasts a roll of honour of renowned names like Seabird, Nijinsky, Shergar and 2013 winner Ruler of the World.