Derby Festival 2015: 64 Facts and Figures about the Epsom Derby

Epsom Racecourse reveals 64 Facts and Figures about the Epsom Derby – one of Britain’s most iconic races:

1 Lammtarra, the 1995 Derby victor trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was the first horse to win the premier Classic on his seasonal debut since Grand Parade in 1919. Amazingly, Shaamit, trained by William Haggas, managed the same feat a year later.

2 Lammtarra’s record of the fastest time in the 234 runnings of the Derby was broken by Workforce in 2011. Workforce’s 2 minutes 31.33 seconds was 0.98 of a second faster than Lammtarra’s, whose own record in 1995 of 2 minutes 32.31 was over a second faster than the previous Derby record (hand-timed) of 2 minutes 33.8 seconds clocked by Mahmoud in 1936. The 2001 winner Galileo is the third fastest Derby winner, coming home in 2 minutes 33.27 seconds.

3 The largest Derby field was 34 in 1862, and the smallest was just four in 1794. There is now a safety limit of 20 for the Derby.

4 In 1992, Dr Devious became the first Derby winner to have earlier run in the Kentucky Derby. The Clive Brittain-trained Bold Arrangement, who finished second in the American Classic at Churchill Downs in 1986, was the first horse to run in both races, although he fared less well at Epsom, coming home 14th of the 17 runners.

5 Several horses have won by a short head, the last being 2006 victor Sir Percy who came out best of a four-way photo-finish which rivalled the other closest finish of 1913. There have been three other short-head winners since 1945 – in 1998 (Benny The Dip), in 1984 (Secreto) and in 1972 (Roberto). The longest winning margin is the 10 lengths that Shergar put between himself and the second in 1981. 

6 The longest distance accurately recorded between first and third was 14 lengths in 2002, when High Chaparral beat Hawk Wing two lengths, with Moon Ballad 12 lengths third. The next best was 13 lengths in 1985 (Slip Anchor, Law Society, Damister, 7 & 6), then 12 lengths in 1981 (Shergar, Glint Of Gold, Scintillating Air, 10 & 2) and in 1991 (Generous, Marju, Star Of Gdansk 5 & 7). Before 1900 distances were more vaguely recorded, with a wide margin often referred to merely as ‘bad’.

7 The 1909 Derby created history being the first, and so far, only time, that the reigning monarch has owned the Derby winner. Minoru was owned by King Edward VI , who died the following year. He had also won the Derby with Persimmon in 1896 and Diamond Jubilee in 1900 when the Prince of Wales. George IV won with Sir Thomas in 1788, when still Prince of Wales. The present Queen has owned a winner of every other British Classic but is still waiting for her first success in Britain’s premier race. She came closest with Aureole, who was second to Pinza in the Coronation year of 1953. Church Parade, who finished fifth behind Shergar in 1981, was her latest Derby runner before 5/2 favourite Carlton House in 2011 who took third behind Pour Moi.

8 Lord Rosebery is the only person to have owned the Derby winner while Prime Minister. He won the Classic both in 1894 with Ladas and the following year with Sir Visto.

9 There are only three letters of the alphabet with which a Derby winner’s name has not begun, U (Umiddad was beaten a head in 1943), X and Z (Zionist was second in 1935). The most popular initial letter is S with 43 instances, and the most popular number of letters is eight, with 46 instances. Quest For Fame’s victory in 1990 accounted for Q.

10 Lady James Douglas became the first woman to own a Derby winner when Gainsborough won the Classic in 1918 at Newmarket. There have still been no Derby winners either trained or ridden by women. Alex Greaves, who rode 500/1 shot Portuguese Lil in 1996, became the first woman to take part in the Derby – she finished last, a position also filled by Hayley Turner on 25/1 chance Cavaleiro in 2012. Elaine Burke (pictured right) came close to becoming the first woman to train a winner, when saddling the 2013 runner-up Libertarian. 

11 In 2001, the winners of the Oaks and the Derby, Imagine and Galileo, were both trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Michael Kinane. Both horses were owned partly by Sue Magnier – Galileo was also jointly owned by Michael Tabor, while Diane Nagle had a share in Imagine. Prior to this, the last time the same jockey, trainer and owner won the Oaks and Derby in the same year was back in 1950 when owner Marcel Boussac, trainer Charles Semblat and jockey Rae Johnstone were responsible for Derby victor Galcador and Oaks winner Asmena. 

12 Workforce in 2010 became the first horse to be beaten in the Dante Stakes at York – the premier Derby trial – and then win the Epsom Downs Classic. Workforce was ridden by jockey Ryan Moore who became the first jockey since Kieren Fallon (2004) to win the Oaks–Derby double – after winning the 2010 Oaks the day before.

13 Several Derby runners have later excelled over jumps. Sea Pigeon, who finished seventh to Morston in 1973, went on to win two Champion Hurdles. Lester Piggott came 15th on Prince Charlemagne in the 1953 Derby and then rode the same horse to victory in the Triumph Hurdle nine months later. Wellbeing, who finished fifth to Sinndar in the 2000 Derby, was the impressive winner of a valuable handicap hurdle at Aintree in 2006. Salford City, fifth in the Derby in 2004, won a Grade Two hurdle at Tipperary for trainer Gordon Elliott in 2007. 

14 Six fillies have won the Derby. Very few fillies now run in the Derby and the last to be placed was Nobiliary, second to Grundy in 1975. Cape Verdi, the last filly to run in the Derby, attempted to follow up her 1,000 Guineas success in the 1998 Derby and started 11/4 favourite, but could only finish ninth.

15 The 2012 winner Camelot was the fourth Derby hero in eight runnings for his late father Montjeu, who also sired Motivator (2005), Authorized (2007) and Pour Moi (2011), making him the joint most successful Derby sire alongside Sir Peter Teazle, Cyllene, Waxy and Blandford. Montjeu’s sire Sadler’s Wells was responsible for two Derby winners (2001 Galileo and 2002 High Chaparral), while Northern Dancer, the sire of Sadler’s Wells, fathered Nijinsky (1970), The Minstrel (1977) and Secreto (1984). Galileo has sired New Approach (2008) and Ruler Of The World (2013).

16 The Derby course over 12 furlongs and 10 yards at Epsom Downs Racecourse is in the rough shape of a horseshoe. From the start, 360 feet above sea level, there is a slight right-handed bend and a rise of some 134 feet sweeping leftwards until the top of the hill. A left-hand descent of 34 feet around Tattenham Corner leads into the cambered straight where there is a 50-feet drop until half a furlong out where the ground level rises by 10 feet.

17 To date, 43 Derby winners have been sired by Derby winners, the first such victor being the 1798 hero Sir Harry, a son of Sir Peter Teazle. Ruler Of The World (pictured right, 2013) and New Approach (2008) are the two most recent Derby winning sons of a Derby winner, both being by the 2001 victor Galileo. 

18 Nine Derby winners retired unbeaten: Sailor (2 races) 1820; Middleton (1 race) 1825; Bay Middleton (6 races) 1836; Amato (1 race) 1838; Ormonde (16 races) 1886; Bahram 1935 (9 races); Morston (2 races) 1973; Golden Fleece (4 races) 1982; Lammtarra (4 races) 1995.

19 Six sets of half-brothers have won the Derby, the most recent being Galileo (2001) and Sea The Stars (2009). Five pairs of full brothers have been successful in the Epsom Classic, but none since Persimmon (1896) and Diamond Jubilee (1900), who were by the great St Simon out of the Ayr Gold Cup winner Perdita II .

20 The first American-bred Derby winner was Iroquois, owned by tobacco millionaire Pierre Lorillard. Bred in Philadelphia, the colt was accompanied to England as a yearling by his American trainer Jacob Pincus and took the 1881 Derby under Fred Archer. Never Say Die in 1954 was the second US-bred Derby winner.

21 Epsom Downs Racecourse is served by three railway stations – Epsom in the town itself at the bottom of the hill, about a mile and a half away, Tattenham Corner which opened in 1901 and Epsom Downs station itself, opened in 1865. The last-named was originally due to have been built 220 yards from the grandstands but ended up 1,100 yards away – it is now surrounded by a housing estate. The Royal train used to go to Epsom Downs but switched to Tattenham Corner after the Second World War.

22 The great Gladiateur was the first French-bred to succeed in the Derby in 1865. He has been followed by nine more, the most recent being the outstanding Sea-Bird in 1965.

23 It is a remarkable achievement to breed, own and train a Derby winner. Isaac Sadler did just that in 1833 with Dangerous, while William l’Anson bred, owned and trained both Blink Bonny (1857) and Blair Atholl (1864). Odoardo Ginistrelli achieved the feat with Signorinetta (1908) and Arthur Budgett was the latest with the half-brothers Blakeney (1969) and Morston (1973).

24 The tote first operated on Derby Day in 1930 when Blenheim was successful under Harry Wragg. The winner returned 40s 9d, while the places paid 10s 6d, 10s 3d, and 4s 6d for a 2s unit.

25 With seven Derby wins apiece, Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling are the most successful trainers in the history of the Classic. Robson’s initial triumph came with Waxy in 1793 and his last was Emilius in 1823, while Porter took his first Derby with Blue Gown in 1868 and rounded off his septet in 1899 with Flying Fox. Darling’s wins stretched from Captain Cuttle in 1922 to Owen Tudor’s win in the war-time substitute at Newmarket in 1941. Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful current trainer with five wins (Shergar 1981, Shahrastani 1986, Kris Kin 2003, North Light 2004 and Workforce 2010).

26 Reference Point became the 35th and most recent Derby winner to also triumph in the final Classic, the St Leger at Doncaster. The first horse to complete the Derby/ St Leger double was Champion in 1800. Phenomenon, last in the 1783 Derby, was the first horse to go on from the Epsom Classic and compete in the St Leger, which he won. Camelot, the 2012 Investec Derby winner, was the latest to try, finishing second to Encke at Doncaster.

27 The oldest winning jockey was John Forth, who was over 60 when he partnered Frederick to victory in the 1829 Derby. He also has the distinction of having trained the winner, as well as the runner-up, The Exquisite, with both colts returned at 40/1. Mick Kinane was 49 when partnering Sea The Stars to victory in 2009, while Scobie Breasley was 52 when successful on Charlottown in 1966.

28 West Australian (1853) was the first horse to gain the Triple Crown, consisting of three British Classics: 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, The Derby at Epsom and Doncaster’s St Leger. Eleven more colts have tasted Epsom Derby victory en route to securing the Triple Crown, most recently Nijinsky in 1970. A further three Triple Crown winners secured their Classic triumphs at Newmarket during the war years – Pommern (1915), Gay Crusader (1917) and Gainsborough (1918).

29 Only one filly has added the Derby to earlier success in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Tagalie in 1912 led from start to finish in both races, taking the Epsom Classic by four lengths under Johnny Reiff. The last filly to attempt the feat was Cape Verdi, who was unplaced at Epsom in 1998 after routing the opposition in the Newmarket Classic over a mile.

30 Tagalie was a rare grey winner of the Derby. Only four of that hue have prevailed, the others being Gustavus (1821), Mahmoud (1936) and Airborne (1946). The latest grey to come close to victory was Silver Patriarch, a short-head runner-up to Benny The Dip in 1997, while Terimon was second in 1989.

31 Diomed ran for a purse of £1,065 15s when taking the inaugural Derby in 1780, while this year’s contest carries prize money of at least £1.325 million. 

32 Camelot (2012) is the most recent Derby winner to have previously captured the first colt’s Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Thirty-seven horses have won both Classics, the first being Smolensko in 1813, while Sea The Stars (pictured, top) achieved the feat most recently before Camelot, in 2009.

33 The photo-finish camera decided the Derby result for the first time in 1949 when Nimbus, bred by bookmaker William Hill, landed the spoils by a head from French raider Amour Drake.

34 Wild Dayrell took the premier Classic in 1855 and was the first Derby winner to be photographed. The same year, a new schooner, one of the last opium clippers to be built, was named the Wild Dayrell and launched from Cowes in the Isle of Wight.

35 Triple Crown winner Nijinsky was the first Canadian-bred winner of the Derby. Successful in 1970, he was bred in Ontario by the legendary E P Taylor and trained in Ireland at Ballydoyle by Vincent O’Brien.

36 High-Rise is the most recent of four Derby winners with a hyphen in their names. The colt by High Estate out of the High Line mare, High Tern, took the race in 1998 for trainer Luca Cumani. The others are Sea-Bird (1965), Mid-Day Sun (1937) and Lap-Dog (1826). 

37 Kris Kin, in 2003, was the first Derby winner to take advantage of the supplementary entry stage. Although one of the original entries as a yearling, he was withdrawn at the end of his juvenile career. He was restored to the field a few days before the race at a cost of £90,000 and earned £852,600 with his victory. The full list of horses supplemented is as follows: 2013 Chopin (7th); 2010 Rewilding 3rd, Buzzword 8th; 2008 Casual Conquest 3rd, Doctor Fremantle 4th, River Proud – non-runner; 2006 Papal Bull 10th; 2004 Hazyview 8th; Gatwick 10th; 2003 Kris Kin WON, Norse Dancer 4th, Dutch Gold 6th; 2002 Fight Your Corner 5th, Bandari 8th; 1999 Lucido 15th; 1998 Cape Verdi 9th.

38 2009’s Derby winner Sea The Stars emulated his predecessor New Approach by ending the season as European champion. Others with the accolade in the past 50 years have been Lammtarra (1995), Generous (1991), Nashwan (1989), Reference Point (1987), Shergar (1981), Troy (1979), Grundy (1975), Mill Reef (1971), Nijinsky (1970), Sea-Bird (1965) and Santa Claus (1964).

39 The only Derby winner to be disqualified for an incident in the race was Craganour in 1913. The stewards judged that the 6/4 favourite had been guilty of ‘bumping and boring’ the runner-up Aboyeur, the 100/1 shot who was awarded the prize. The outcome of the 1844 race was decided in a court of law six weeks later, when the ‘winner’ Running Rein was revealed as a four-year-old, Maccabeus, and the race awarded to the runner-up Orlando.

40 Epsom became a spa in the early 17th century when a spring containing Epsom salts was discovered on the common. Its popularity with London society brought visits from Samuel Pepys and Nell Gwyn among many others, plus the development of shops, inns and the oldest spa assembly rooms in England. 1661 saw the first recorded race meeting to be held on the Downs and the tradition continued until the summer of 1780 when one of today’s greatest sporting spectacles was established.

41 Three owners share the record of five for winning ownership. The third Earl of Egremont won with Assassin (1782), Hannibal (1804), Cardinal Beaufort (1805), Election (1807) and Lapdog (1826). The third Aga Khan won with Blenheim (1930), Bahram (1935), Mahmoud (1936), My Love (1948) and Tulyar (1952). Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor co-owned Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Pour Moi (2011), Camelot (2012) and Ruler Of The World (2013). Derrick Smith was also the co-owner of Pour Moi, Camelot and Ruler Of The World. Magnier, Tabor and Smith are the first owners to enjoy three consecutive winners.

42 There have been 17 Derby winners trained in Ireland. The first was Orby (Fred MacCabe, 1907), followed by Hard Ridden (Mick Rogers, 1958), Larkspur (Vincent O’Brien, 1962), Santa Claus (Mick Rogers, 1964), Sir Ivor (Vincent O’Brien, 1968), Nijinsky (Vincent O’Brien, 1970), Roberto (Vincent O’Brien, 1972), The Minstrel (Vincent O’Brien, 1977), Golden Fleece (Vincent O’Brien, 1982), Secreto (David O’Brien, 1984), Sinndar (John Oxx, 2000), Galileo (Aidan O’Brien, 2001), High Chaparral (Aidan O’Brien, 2002), New Approach (Jim Bolger, 2008), Sea The Stars (John Oxx, 2009), Camelot (Aidan O’Brien, 2012) and Ruler Of The World (Aidan O’Brien, 2013). (Pictured: Aidan O’Brien.)

43 Ten horses trained in France have won the Derby: Durbar (Herman Duryea, 1914), Pearl Diver (Percy Carver, 1947), My Love (Dick Carver, 1948), Galcador (Charles Semblat, 1950), Phil Drake (Francois Mathet, 1955), Lavandin (Alec Head, 1956), Relko (Francois Mathet, 1963), Sea-Bird (Etienne Pollet, 1965), Empery (Maurice Zilber, 1976) and Pour Moi (Andre Fabre, 2011). 

44 On four occasions foreign-trained horses have shut out the home side. In 1956 Lavandin (France) beat Montaval (France) and Roistar (Ireland); in 1962 Larkspur (Ireland) finished ahead of Arcor (France) and Le Cantilien (France); and in 1970 Nijinsky (Ireland) beat Gyr (France) and Stintino (France). Last year Irish-trained horses filled the first five places as Sea The Stars triumphed over Fame And Glory, Masterofthehorse, Rip Van Winkle and Golden Sword.

45 The oldest stallion to sire a Derby winner has been Muley, who was 26 when he got Little Wonder (1840). The youngest have both been four: Blue Peter responsible for Ocean Swell (1944), and Prince Chevalier for Arctic Prince (1951).

46 The only Derby winner to result from the mating of a Derby winner and an Oaks winner is Lammtarra. His sire Nijinsky won the premier Classic in 1970 and his dam Snow Bride was awarded the fillies’ equivalent in 1989 on the disqualification of Aliysa. Five other Derby winners have been out of Oaks winners: Bay Middleton (1836) by Sultan out of Cobweb; Beadsman (1858), by Weatherbit out of Mendicant; Blair Athol (1864) by Stockwell out of Blink Bonny (who also won the Derby); Humorist (1921) by Polymelus out of Jest; and Charlottown (1966) by Charlottesville out of Meld.

47 The oldest dam to produce a Derby winner was Horatia, aged 25 when she produced the 1806 victor Paris. The youngest was Betty’s Secret, who gave birth to Secreto (1984) when four.

48 Only twice has the same stallion sired the first three in the Derby. Sir Peter Teazle, with Ditto, Sir Oliver and an un-named colt in 1803 was followed by Stockwell, with Lord Lyon, Savernake and Rustic in1866. Eight stallions have sired the first two, most recently Montjeu, with Motivator and Walk In The Park in 2005. Before him, Northern Dancer was responsible for Secreto and El Gran Senor in 1984.

49 The latest Derby winner to become European champion sire is Galileo, top of the list in 2008 thanks to his three top earners New Approach, Soldier Of Fortune and Lush Lashes, and 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Before him, it was Mill Reef in 1987.

50 Because of the way the genetic transmission of coat colour works, most  thoroughbreds are bay or brown and therefore most races are won by bays or browns. Of the 235 (including one set of dead-heaters) winners of the Derby, 172 have been bay or brown, 57 have been chestnut, four have been grey and two have been registered as black. 

51 The last winner of the Derby staged at Epsom to be trained in the town was April The Fifth, sent out by Tom Walls in 1932.

52 The Derby has been run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and now takes place on the first Saturday in June. It was switched from Wednesday to Saturday in 1995. The first Derby in 1780 was run on 4 May – the Classic’s earliest staging during a year – while the 1917 renewal was the latest on 31 July.

53 The Andreas Wohler-trained Chopin, who was supplemented for the 2013 Investec Derby at a cost of £75,000 five days before, became the first German-trained horse to run in the Classic. The 2013 Investec Derby featured runners from four different countries and included three British-trained runners – the smallest number ever after 2009 when four horses saddled by British-based handlers lined up.

54 There have been two dead-heats in the Derby – between Cadland and The Colonel in 1828, with the former winning the run-off later that afternoon. St Gatien and Harvester could not be separated in 1884. 

55 Steve Donoghue is the only jockey to have ridden three consecutive Derby winners – Humorist (1921), Captain Cuttle (1922) and Papyrus (1923). 

56 Starting stalls were first used for the 1967 Derby, won by Royal Palace from 21 rivals. 

57 Five winners of The Derby have had the prefix St of which St Paddy (1960) was the latest. However, the most popular prefix has been Sir, seen eight times, most recently with Sir Percy in 2006. 

58 Epsom installed a watering system in 1965, ahead of Sea-Bird’s victory. 

59 Sailor is the only horse to have won the Derby on his real third birthday – 18 May, 1820. 

60 Since 1986, when Shahrastani won, the Derby victor has been drawn in stall 10 seven times. Sir Percy (2006) was the latest colt to succeed when drawn 10.

61 The last time a sire was responsible for both the winner of the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby in the same year was in 2001. Imagine, by Sadler’s Wells, won the Oaks and Galileo, by the same sire, took the Derby. It nearly happened again in 2013 when New Approach sired the winner of the Investec Oaks and the second Libertarian in the Investec Derby.

62 Ruler Of The World’s victory in 2013 was the most recent by a colt who had been unraced as a two-year-old. Commander In Chief 20 years before that was the previous one. 

63 Aidan O’Brien was the first trainer to send out in the same year the winners of all three Group One races at the Investec Derby Festival in 2012. St Nicholas Abbey won the Investec Coronation Cup, Was captured the Investec Oaks and Camelot triumphed in the Investec Derby.

64 Joseph O’Brien partnered the 2012 victor Camelot who was trained by his father Aidan. This was the first time the son of the winning trainer had ridden the winner.



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