The opening day of the Investec Derby Festival, Investec Ladies’ Day celebrates the fillies with the Group 1 Classic Investec Oaks being the feature race.
The exhilarating racing continues with a second Group 1 race, The Coronation Cup, won in 2018 by Cracksman.
Just like the 1000 Guineas, the Investec Oaks is a fillies-only Classic, run at Epsom Downs in June over the same mile-and-a-half distance as the Investec Derby.
Epsom certainly provides the ultimate test, with an undulating, stamina-sapping course comprising of tricky cambers and a challenging decent into Tattenham Corner. Fillies taking part usually appear in one or more trial races before the Investec Oaks and betting on the Oaks is always very popular.
The Investec Oaks, QIPCO 1000 Guineas and the Doncaster St Leger, the final Classic of the season, make up the Fillies’ Triple Crown. Only seven horses have won all three races in a season with the Henry Cecil-trained Oh So Sharp being the most recent one in 1985.
The 2010 race was won by Snow Fairy, giving jockey Ryan Moore his first classic win. The horse was that unfancied months before that one lucky punter managed to back the horse at odds of 999/1 for a £4 stake. Moore went on the complete a memorable Epsom double 24 hours later by taking the Investec Derby on Workforce.
If you are looking for exceptional value on a long term fancy then you should always check out the Oaks and Derby betting early.
The Derby (Saturday)
The richest, most prestigious Classic of the British Flat season and often referred to as the ‘Blue Riband’ of racing, the Investec Derby is run at Epsom Downs over an undulating one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards in early June.
The Derby is open to three-year-old colts and fillies although fillies very rarely run, preferring to run against their own sex in The Oaks the previous day.
Three Irish jockeys stand out in recent years, Kieren Fallon, Johnny Murtagh and Michael Kinane, all claiming three Derbys. Kinane had the honour in 2009 of riding home on Sea The Stars, regarded by many as one of the best European thoroughbreds of all time.
Aidan O’Brien became the only trainer to win the race three times in a row and requires one more success to achieve a record-equalling seventh.
Initially the Derby was run on a Thursday in late May or early June depending on when Easter occurred. In 1838 the race was moved to a Wednesday to fit in with railway timetables.
In 1995 market forces intervened when it was deemed that it would be more commercially viable to run the race on a Saturday, when fewer people were at work and more could watch or bet on the race.
The Epsom Derby is incredibly popular as it provides viewers with the unique chance to see the best thoroughbreds and trainers battle it out. Derby day betting reaches fever pitch among horse racing punters on the Saturday of the race and the event ranks in the top five most punted on sporting events of the year.
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