Guide to Epsom Downs Racecourse
Epsom Downs Racecourse is the home of The Epsom Derby and The Oaks. Epsom Racecourse started racing way back in 1661. Read our Guide to find out what’s on at Epsom Races!
Epsom Downs Racecourse News from Eclipse
Straight from the Horses' Mouth...
Epsom Downs Racecourse News
About Epsom Downs Racecourse
King Charles and Eclipse
1661 saw the first recorded race meeting to be held on the Downs, with Charles II in attendance. On 3rd May 1769 the famous racehorse Eclipse had the first of his victories here, launching his undefeated career on the turf.
In the summer of 1779 Edward Smith-Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby and his friends raced their three-year-old fillies over one-and-a-half miles, establishing one of today’s greatest sporting spectacles, The Oaks – named after the Earl’s nearby estate.
The Epsom Derby
The next year, the Earl helped organise The Derby, which has become probably the most famous Flat race in the world. Legend has it that the Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury (the ‘perpetual president’ of the Jockey Club) tossed a coin to decide whether the race should be called the Derby Stakes or the Bunbury Stakes. Though Lord Derby won the coin toss, it was Sir Charles Bunbury who owned Diomed, the 6/4 favourite who was victorious in the inaugural running of the Derby Stakes on Thursday, 4th May 1780.
In 1913 suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of Anmer – King George V’s horse – during The Derby, bringing him down. Davison died four days later from her injuries.
The racecourse is U-shaped, including the notorious Tattenham Corner; with chutes for the start of sprint races.
June – The Derby Festival FOR FESTIVAL GUIDE CLICK HERE
Epsom Downs Racecourse, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT18 5LQ.
- Road: The course is on the B290 Epsom Downs Road just outside the town. Take junction 9 from the M25.
- Rail: Epsom Station is a short bus or taxi ride to the course, or Tattenham Corner Station from London Victoria, is a half-mile walk to the course. During the Derby Festival a shuttle bus runs from Epsom Station to the racecourse.
- Website: www.epsomdowns.co.uk
- Telephone: General Enquiries – 01372 726 311; Sales Enquiries – 01372 460 460.
The Epsom Races Directory - Local Services
Travelling to Epsom Downs Racecourse? Want to know where to stay, where to eat, where to get your hair and nails done? How about where the best pubs are and the name of a reliable taxi? We can help. Check back frequently – this section is updated on a regular basis.