Epsom Downs Racecourse
Epsom Downs Racecourse logo
|Location||Epsom, Surrey, England|
|Owned by||Jockey Club Racecourses|
|Screened on||Racing UK|
|Notable Races|| Epsom Derby|
Epsom Downs is a Grade 1 racecourse near Epsom, Surrey, England. The "downs" referred to in the name are part of the North Downs. The course is best known for hosting the Epsom Derby, the United Kingdom's premier thoroughbred horse race for three-year-old colts and fillies, over a mile and a half (2400m). It also hosts the Epsom Oaks for three-year-old fillies, the Coronation Cup for all ages over the same distance and has the fastest five furlong (1,000m) course in the world.
The racecourse is between Epsom, Tadworth, and Langley Vale. As it is in a public area, people can watch the Derby for free, and this meant that the Derby used to be the most attended sporting event of the year. However it is now becoming increasingly difficult to do this, and almost impossible to get a good view for free.
Epsom presents a stern challenge for inexperienced horses and a true test of stamina for those that might previously have contested the 2,000 Guineas Stakes over a mile (1600m).
The area is served by the Epsom Downs railway line as well as Tattenham Corner railway station which is where Queen Elizabeth II alights from the British Royal Train on race days.
Epsom Downs Grandstand was also used as St. Petersburg Airport during the filming of the James Bond film, GoldenEye.
Epsom Downs houses the third largest racehorse training facility in the country. The facility is managed by the Epsom trainers society. There are 11 trainers who use the facility, including Simon Dow and Laura Mongan (the only female trainer at Epsom).
The first recorded race was held on the Downs in 1661, and racing continued until the summer of 1780 when Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby organised a race for he and his friends to race their three-year-old fillies. He named it the Oaks after his estate. The race became so successful that the following year a new race was added for colts and fillies. In 1784 the course was extended to its current distance of a mile and a half and Tattenham Corner was introduced .
Henry Dorling, step-father to cookery writer Mrs Beeton, was the first Clerk to the Course, appointed in 1840.
In 1913 the suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V's horse Anmer, bringing him down. Davison was badly injured and died four days later.
In 2009 the racecourse opened the new Duchess's Stand. It has a capacity of 11,000 and has a 960m² (10 000 sq ft) hall. It can be used for banqueting, conferences and exhibitions. The estimated cost of the new stand was £27.6 million.
- Surrey Stakes
- Woodcote Stakes
- Epsom Dash
Epsom Grandstand in the 1830s
Epsom Grandstand in 1846
The 5 furlong marker
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