• Epsom Downs Racecourse is served by three railway stations

  • Only four grey horses have ever won Epsom’s finest Classic

  • Ten horses trained in France have won the Derby

The Epsom Derby is a Group One race for three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies run over one mile and four furlongs. It is the most esteemed Classic horserace in Great Britain and the race is steeped in a rich history.

The leading Derby jockey of all time is Lester Piggott who won it an amazing nine times, whilst three trainers have all won the race seven times (Robert Robson, John Porter, Fred Darling).

Aiden O'Brien surpassed that long standing training record in 2020 when Serpentine gave him his eighth Derby winner. The Epsom Derby is one of the biggest sports betting events on the UK racing calendar.

Recent Epsom Derby Winners:

  • 2020 - Serpentine - Emmet McNamara - Aidan O'Brien - 25/1

  • 2019 - Anthony Van Dyk - Seamie Heffernan - Aidan O'Brien -13/2

  • 2018 - Masar - William Buick - Charlie Appleby - 16/1

  • 2017 - Wings Of Eagles - Padraig Beggy - Aidan O'Brien - 40/1

  • 2016 - Harzand - Pat Smullen - Dermot Weld - 13/2

  • 2015 - Golden Horn - Frankie Dettori - John Gosden - 13/8F

  • 2014 - Australia - Joseph O'Brien - Aidan O'Brien - 11/8F

  • 2013 - Ruler Of The World - Ryan Moore - Aidan O'Brien - 7/1

  • 2012 - Camelot - Joseph O'Brien - Aidan O'Brien - 8/13F

  • 2011 - Pour Moi - Mickael Barzalona - Andre Fabre - 4/1

  • 2010 - Workforce - Ryan Moore - Sir Michael Stoute - 6/1

  • 2009 - Sea The Stars - Michael Kinane - John Oxx - 11/4

  • 2008 - New Approach - Kevin Manning - Jim Bolger - 5/1

  • 2007 - Authorized - Frankie Dettori - Peter Chapple-Hyam - 5/4F

  • 2006 - Sir Percy - Martin Dwyer - Marcus Tregoning - 6/1

  • 2005 - Motivator - Johnny Murtagh - Michael Bell - 3/1F

  • 2004 - North Light - Kieren Fallon - Sir Michael Stoute - 7/2JF 

  • 2003 - Kris Kin - Kieren Fallon - Sir Michael Stoute - 6/1

  • 2002 - High Chaparral - Johnny Murtagh - Aidan O'Brien - 7/2

  • 2001 - Galileo - Michael Kinane - Aidan O'Brien - 11/4JF

  • 2000 - Sinndar - Johnny Murtagh - John Oxx - 7/1

Most Successful Derby Trainer

Serpentine’s success last year meant that Aidan O’Brien became the most successful trainer in the history of The Derby, with the Ballydoyle maestro claiming his eighth win in the race.

The most intriguing fact to come from O’Brien’s turn of the millennium dominance is that Galileo, who gave the Aidan his first victory in the Derby in 2001, has now gone on to sire four of the last seven winners from the yard.

O’Brien’s list of Derby winners reads as follows: Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019), Serpentine (2020).

Most Successful Derby Jockey

Lester Piggott is the most successful Derby jockey of all time, winning the race an incredible nine times between 1954 and 1983.

Piggott’s Derby victories were always popular races with the horse racing commentators at the time they happened, as viewers and listeners will testify to.

In fact Piggott’s Derby record is second to none with his nine wins and four second places from 36 attempts. He first rode in the race as a 15-year-old and finished second the following year, three-quarters of a length behind the winner.

At the age of 18, he won his first Derby on Never Say Die in 1954. In 1983 Piggott was aged 47 when he won his last Derby aboard Teenoso.

Lester’s Derby roll of honour reads as follows:

1954: Never Say Die (33-1), 1957: Crepello (6-4 fav), 1960: St Paddy (7-1), 1968: Sir Ivor (4-5 fav) 1970: Nijinsky (11-8 fav), 1972: Roberto (3-1 fav), 1976: Empery (10-1), 1977: The Minstrel (5-1), 1983: Teenoso (9-2 fav).

Leading Epsom Derby Owners

Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor are the most successful owners in the history of the Derby, having been involved together with nine winners.

The pair co-owned Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Pour Moi (2011), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019) and Serpentine (2020).

Derrick Smith was also the co-owner of Pour Moi, Camelot, Ruler Of The World and Australia. Magnier, Tabor and Smith were the first owners to enjoy four consecutive winners.

The trio have done really well in the English Classics over the years.

Derby Winners Trends

  • Based on the last ten runnings of the race you are looking for a runner that ticks most of these boxes.

  • A horse trading in the first three in the betting priced 7/1 or less.

  • A winner of the Dante or the 2000 Guineas at a 3-y-o.

  • A horse that finished first or second on its proceeding start.

  • A horse trained by Aidan O’Brien.

  • A winner of a Group race before.

  • Raced no more than 5 times before.

  • Ran in the last five weeks.

Epsom Derby Facts

  • The fastest winning time was by Workforce (2010) in 2m 31.33s.

  • The biggest winning margin was 10 lengths, Shergar (1981).

  • Longest odds winners – Jeddah (1898), Signorinetta (1908) & Aboyeur (1913) all came in at 100/1 in the horse racing odds.

  • The shortest odds winner was Ladas in 1894 at a miserly 2/9.

  • The most runners to run in the Derby was 34 in 1862.

  • The fewest runners the Derby has ever seen was in 1794 when just 4 competitors went to post.

  • French-trained challengers have been successful 10 times, with Pour Moi (2011) the last French raider to score.

  • The most recent Yorkshire-trained winner of the Derby was Dante in 1945. The Matt Peacock- trained colt won a war-time Derby staged at Newmarket.

  • No woman has ever trained the winner of the Derby and Elaine Burke became only the seventh woman ever to have a runner in the Classic in 2013.

  • These are the stallions whose offspring have produced multiple winners of the Epsom Derby: Galileo (5 Wins) Montjeu (4 Wins) Cape Cross (2 Wins) Sadlers Wells (2 Wins).

*Credit for the main photo belongs to Sang Tan / AP Photo*


FIRST PUBLISHED: 31st May 2021

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.