One of the world’s most famous racecourses, Epsom Downs plays host to two of the most illustrious races on the planet: The Epsom Derby and The Oaks. This Grade 1 racecourse in the heart of Surrey is situated on the chalk downland of the North Downs which gives spectators a unique panoramic view of the capital and beyond.
Epsom’s course is shaped like an elongated horseshoe. It’s revered across the horse racing world as one of the most testing flat racing tracks on the planet. In the first half mile of the course alone, there is an incline of 150 feet which then levels out before a steep decline around Tattenham Corner.
The straight five-furlong course also offers a supreme test for any thoroughbred given its supreme speed. It’s downhill all the way which means impressive gallopers and horses with the ability to switch up the gears tend to prevail.
The course, which has a crowd capacity approaching 120,000, is normally packed to the rafters for the Derby and the Oaks. The Derby is regarded as the UK’s premier thoroughbred race for three-year-old colts and fillies over a distance of a mile and a half (2400m). The 2015 Derby saw a return to victory for enigmatic veteran jockey, Frankie Dettori, who won his second Epsom Derby by three-and-a-half lengths on the John Gosden-trained Golden Horn.
Meanwhile the Oaks is strictly for three-year-old fillies only, serving as the middle leg of the Fillies’ ‘Triple Crown’, which includes the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, followed by the St. Leger at Doncaster.
The Coronation Cup is also a prestigious Group 1 flat race that takes place each year in June. It’s open to thoroughbreds aged four years or older, run over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs.
GeeGeez says: “When the going is soft at Epsom the racing advantage tends to go with the runners and riders that race along the stand side rail. But to have the stand side rail the horse needs to be leading at Tattenham Corner; which gives the biggest advantage to front runners when there is give in the turf.
“Interestingly, although Epsom is a left-handed track, the stalls are positioned on the far rail of the course used for the Derby and the Oaks.”
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