Epsom Downs Racecourse Guide

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

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Epsom Downs Racecourse News

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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.

The Oaks

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.

Racecourse Shape

The racecourse is U-shaped, including the notorious Tattenham Corner; with chutes for the start of sprint races.

Important Races/Festivals



Epsom Downs Racecourse,
 Epsom Downs,
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.

What to Wear to Epsom Downs Racecourse and the Derby Festival

Just a few minutes away from Epsom town centre, Epsom Downs Racecourse holds racing and music events from April (The Spring Meeting) through to September (Season Finale). Its most famous racing event is the iconic Derby Festival, which includes The Oaks, and The Derby – known as the Greatest Flat Race in the World.

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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. 

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