• The Derby is one of the highlights of the flat season

  • Aidan O'Brien is the most successful trainer of the Epsom Downs race

  • Bet on the Epsom Derby at 888sport!

The first running of the Derby on Thursday, 4th May 1780, was open to three-year-old colts (8st 0lb) and fillies (7st 11lb), at an entry fee of 50 guineas each, and run over a distance of a mile.

There were just nine runners and Sir Charles Bunbury owned the first winner – Diomed, sent off the 6-4 favourite. The Derby distance was extended to a mile and a half from 1784.

After its first 50 years (1780-1829), the Derby became firmly established as the premier event in the racing year.

The fascination of Derby Day itself attracted the aristocracy and the working man alike, both rubbing shoulders for the day and both in pursuit of a good day out.

The dramatic events of the 1913 Derby produced the most talked about chapter of the Derby’s history.

Emily Davison – a protesting suffragette brought down the King’s horse by running onto the course at Tattenham Corner.

Her death certificate read a “fracture of the base of the skull caused by being accidentally knocked down by a horse through wilfully rushing onto the racecourse at Epsom Downs”.

Of course the Derby horses have always been the stars of the show. Many name Sea Bird as one of the best Derby winners of the 20th century.

He won the 1965 renewal with complete authority and backed up his lofty status with victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Other greats from that era include Nijinsky and Mill Reef.

Skip forward to the 21st century and horses such as Galileo and Sea The Stars need no introduction, and to this day their offspring still continue to figure in the Derby and the Classics.

The top three quickest run Derby’s over the last 20 years:

  • 2010 - Workforce (2:31.33)

  • 2015 - Golden Horn (2:32.32)

  • 2017 - Wings Of Eagles (2:33.02)

Epsom Derby Winners

  • 2012: Camelot 8/13f (2:33.90) Joseph O'Brien/A P O'Brien

  • 2013: Ruler Of The World 7/1 (2:39.06) Ryan Moore/A P O'Brien

  • 2014: Australia 11/8f (2:33.63) Joseph O'Brien/A P O'Brien

  • 2015: Golden Horn 13/8f (2:32.32) Frankie Dettori/John Gosden

  • 2016: Harzand 13/2 (2:40.09) Pat Smullen/D K Weld

  • 2017: Wings Of Eagles 40/1 (2:33.02) P B Beggy/A P O'Brien

  • 2018: Masar 16/1 (2:34.93) William Buick/Charlie Appleby

  • 2019: Anthony Van Dyke 13/2 (2:33.38) Seamie Heffernan/A P O'Brien

  • 2020: Serpentine (2:34.43) 25/1 Emmet McNamara/A P O'Brien

  • 2021: Adayar 16/1 (2:36.85) Adam Kirby /Charlie Appleby

Epsom Derby Statistics

  • Age: Only three-year-olds are eligible to run.

  • Price: 3/10 winners were favourite/joint favourite, 6/10 came from the top three in the betting.

  • Draw: 8 of the last 10 winners were drawn in stall 7 or higher.

  • Previous Run: 10/10 winners ran in the last 35 days or less, 7/10 winners won on their last start before The Derby, 10/10 winners at least placed on their last run before The Derby

  • 3/10 winners ran in the 2000 Guineas on their last run, 1 of the 3 won, 2 placed.

  • 2/10 winners ran in the Dante Stakes on their last run, 1 of the 2 won, 1 placed.

  • 2/10 winners ran in the Chester Vase on their last run, 1 of the 2 won, 1 placed.

  • 2/12 winners ran in the Derby Trial Stakes on their last run, 1 of the 2 won, 1 placed.

  • Course Form: None of the last 10 winners had run or won at Epsom before.

  • Distance Form: 9/10 winners had at least one previous start over 10-12 furlongs, 6/10 winners had at least one previous win over 10-12 furlongs.

  • Rating: 10/10 winners were rated 108 or higher.

  • Group Wins: 8/10 winners had at least one win in a Group 1-3 race.

  • Season Form: 10/10 winners had at least one run that season, 8/10 had at least one win that season.

Epsom Derby Best Trainers

The leading trainer in the Derby over the last 20 years is Aidan O’Brien who has saddled the winner an amazing 7 times.

Those 7 winners were High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings Of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019) & Serpentine (2020).

Aidan o'Brien successful Derby trainers

Other current trainers who have registered multiple Derby wins are Sir Michael Stoute (3 wins) and Charlie Appleby (2 wins).

One trainer on the Derby cold list is Saeed bin Suroor, who has entered 13 runners in the race over the years to no avail.

Epsom Derby Best Jockeys

Two jockeys lead the Derby stats over the last 20 renewals with both Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore having won the Classic a couple of times each.

Frankie Dettori scored with Authorized (2007) and Golden Horn (2015). Ryan Moore was successful with Workforce (2010) and Ruler Of The World (2013).

Jamie Spencer has had a total of 13 rides in the race without recording any wins. He has been the jockey to swerve for punters betting on horse races online.

Epsom Derby Trials

The following races generally have a major bearing on the Derby each season:

  • Craven Stakes (Newmarket)

  • Blue Riband Trial Stakes (Epsom)

  • Classic Trial (Sandown)

  • 2,000 Guineas (Newmarket)

  • Chester Vase Stakes (Chester)

  • Dee Stakes (Chester)

  • Derby Trial Stakes (Lingfield)

  • Derby Trial Stakes (Leopardstown)

  • Dante Stakes (York)

  • Irish 2,000 Guineas (Curragh)

Epsom Derby Starting Prices

Looking back at the starting prices over the last 20 years, one of the biggest shock winners of the Derby was Wings Of Eagles in 2017 for Aidan O'Brien who obliged at odds of 40/1.

Horses at the head of the betting market over the last 20 renewals have brought about just six winning favourites.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*


FIRST PUBLISHED: 10th May 2022

About the Author
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horseracing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 25 renewals of the Grand National.