Epsom Derby

The Derby is an English Group 1 Flat horse race and is contested over 1m 4f and 10yds and takes place at Epsom Downs in Surrey.
The race is open to Colts aged 3 years old ONLY and excludes geldings.

The Derby is Britain’s richest race and is generally classed as the middle leg of the triple crown.
With the first leg being the 2,000 Guineas and the final leg being the St Leger.
The Derby first came about after a celebration of the Oaks Stakes in 1779 where it was decided that a new race should be planned and should be called after the host, The 12th Earl of Derby or one of his guests Sir Charles Bunbury.

Now there is conflicting evidence of how the name came about as Sir Charles was a steward of the jockey club. There are claims that a toss of a coin between the pair decided this but also claims sir Charles waived the race name to the host The Earl Of Derby. What actually happened we will never really know but that’s irrelevant now as its been known as the Investec Derby since 2009.

The first running of the Derby was on Thursday May 4th 1780 and was won by Diomed, a colt owned by Sir Charles Bunbury. The purse for the winner was £1,065 and 15 schillings. The first 4 running’s of the Derby were contested over 1m but that was amended in 1784 to its current distance of 1 & 1/2 miles.

Lord Derby got his first success in the race with a horse called Sir Peter Teazle in 1787 . The starting point has been moved twice during the 19th century , the first of these was decided in 1848 by Lord George Bentinck. The second was in 1872 but it wasn’t until 1991 that we discovered the race was contested over 1m 4f 10yds.


The Derby was run depending on when Easter fell that year initially on a Thursday in late May or Early June. In 1838 the race was moved to a Wednesday to fit in with train timetable. But during the War years the race moved to Newmarket these races were known as the New Derby.

The Derby was run on the first Wednesday in June from 1900 – 1995. But was changed from the first Wednesday to the first Saturday in June in early part of 1995 and has remained that way ever since. The popularity of the Derby was widely spread with similar named races taking place all over the world. The Irish Derby, The Australian Derby, The New Zealand Derby and The Kentucky Derby have all tried to replicate this fantastic race but Epsom will always be the Home of The Derby.

Last years race was run in July due to the Covid19 Pandemic.


A few stats – ALL TIME –
Most Wins (Trainer) Robert Robson John Porter & Fred Darling –  7
Most Wins (Jockey)   Lester Piggott 9

From 1998 – 2018 –
Most Wins (Trainers) Aidan O’Brien 8 Sir Michael Stoute 3
Most Wins (Jockeys) Frankie Dettori & Ryan Moore 2 each(Still riding)

Aidan O’Brien has won 6 of the last 10 running’s of the race.

Last years winner Serpentine, had the biggest winning margin (5 & 1/2 lengths) since Camelot ( 5 lengths) in 2012


Previous Winners –

2020 – Serpentine – Aidan O’Brien – Tabor, Smith, Magnier – Adam McNamara

2019 – Anthony Van Dyke – Aidan O’Brien – Smith, Magnier & Tabor – Seamie Heffernan

2018 – Masar – Charlie Appelby – Godolphin – William Buick 

2017 – Wings Of Eagles – Ap O’Brien – Mr D Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor – PB Beggy 

2016 – Harzand – Dk Weld – H H Aga Khan – P J Smullen 

2015 – Golden Horn – John Gosden – Anthony Oppenheimer – Frankie Dettori 

2014 – Australia – Aidan O’Brien – D Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor, T Ah King – Joseph O’Brien 

2013 – Ruler Of The World – Aidan O’Brien – Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith – Ryan Moore

2012 – Camelot – Aidan O’Brien – Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor – Joseph O’brien 

2011 – Pour Moi – Andre Fabre – Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith – Mikael Barzalona 

2010 – Work Force – Sir Michael Stoute – Khalid Abdullah – Ryan Moore 

2009 – Sea The Stars – John Oxx – Christopher Tsui – Mick Kinane 

2008 – New Approach – Jim Bolger – HRH Princess Haya of Jordan – Kevin Manning 

2007 – Authorized – Peter Chappel-Hyam – Saleh Al Homaizi, Imad Al Sagar – Frankie Dettori 

2006 – Sir Percy – Marcus Tregoning – Anthony Pakenham – Martin Dwyer 

2005 – Motivator – Michael Bell – Royal Ascot Racing Club – Johnny Murtagh 

2004 – North Light – Sir Michael Stoute – Ballymacoll Stud Farm Ltd – Kieren Fallon 

2003 – Kris Kin – Sir Michael Stoute – Mr Saeed Suhail – Kieren Fallon 

2002 – High Chaparral – Aidan O’Brien – Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor – Johnny Murtagh 

2001 – Galileo – Aidan O’brien – Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor – Mick Kinane.


Stats And Trends

8 from last 12 winners had won last start before the Derby.

All of the last 12 winners of the Derby had at least placed in last race prior to the Derby.

10 from last 12 winners had at least 3 flat starts.

11 from last 12 winners had at least 2 flat wins.

9 from last 12 winners were rated at 109 or higher.

9 out of last 12 winners had won at Group 1 to 3 level.

9 of the last 12 winners have came from the top 3 in market. 

Written by Charlie McGreevy and Rich Williams 

Pictures – Epsom Racecourse (Twitter)

Arseonlineracing (2018) – Updated 2021