Epsom is a market town in Surrey to the south west of London. It is most famous as the site of Epsom Racecourse where The Derby and The Oaks are held each June. The town also gives it’s name to Epsom salts which were originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters from a spring at Epsom.
As mentioned above the course is very close to the centre of London and all that a major capital city has to offer. It certainly shouldn’t be difficult to find nice places to stay and the eat though there is plenty in Epsom itself also.
If you don’t fancy the train ride into London, there’s a few things you can do around here too:
The flat racing track is a left-handed, very undulating and U-shaped course of a mile and a half in length with tight bends. The finishing straight is 3 1/2 furlongs starting downhill but rising inside the final furlong. Races over 5f are run straight and being mainly downhill is the fastest 5f track in the world. In shorter races, the track is quite sharp and it is advantageous to horses with the ability to race prominently. This is particularly so when the ground is soft as the field tends to move towards the stand side rail.
There is a little bias towards those drawn high on the five furlong course, particularly in large fields. 6f races start on a chute and the turn isn’t severe. However for races over 7f, there is a tight bend and therefore some advantage in being drawn low.
During the Derby Festival, Epsom host two of the five classics, The Derby and The Oaks both run over 1m 4f. It also hosts the Group 1 Coronation Cup for older horses at the festival which is also over 1m 4f.
Clerk of the course: A J Cooper
Course telephone number: 01372 726311
Epsom is less than 20 miles from Central London, 137 miles from Birmingham, 126 miles from Bristol, 160 miles from Cardiff, 220 miles from Manchester and 420 miles from Edinburgh.
The course itself is situated just 2 miles south of the town on B290 Tadworth Road. The nearest motorway junctions are M25 J8 and/or J9.
The course post code is KT18 5LQ.
Course parking is priced from £5.
The nearest railway station is Tattenham Corner Station which is about 1/2 mile from the course entrance. Epsom Downs Station is about a mile from the course. There is also a station in the town, two miles away.
At meetings other than the Derby Festival in June, the Queens Stand and Grandstand are combined as one enclosure. The dress code is quite relaxed other than in hospitality areas where a smart casual appearance is encouraged. Racegoers may also go to the Lonsdale Enclosure in the centre of the course. If attending either or both of the Derby Festival days, then different arrangements apply and it’s best to refer to the website before going.
Epsom Racecourse has an on-site hotel for those wishing to stay over either side of the race day.
The grandstands and the view from them is as good as at any racecourse
There are hospitality and restaurant packages available from the racecourse on race days. I imagine it’s best to book these well in advance.
The course has ample provision of bars and food stands in all areas. The main hall in the grandstand has got lots to offer by way of food and drink and it’s all of a very good quality.
I would like to give a special mention to some people I met who were running a Real Ale bar. This is something I have started to see at one or two tracks and being a Real Ale fan, it is of course something I like seeing. As I wasn’t driving today, I tried a pint of ‘Habit’ and it was just divine.
They are called ‘CASK’ and are from London and you can find them at http://www.casklondon.com If, like me, you enjoy a decent pint of beer then give them a look. Nice people too!!
It’s been a few years since I’ve been here. I think the last time was when the Sir Michael Stoute trained North Light won the Derby and that was in 2004.. This racecourse oozes history and everywhere there are reminders of past glories.
The entertainment before and between races was really good too. The photo doesn’t do them credit but the singers and dancers performing beneath the indoor big screen were exceptionally good.
Betting went OK today
The second race was a Conditions Stakes for two year olds over the extended mile, the winner of which received not only a prize of £12k but also an entry into next years Derby, yet attracted only three runners. Mark Johnston had booked course specialist Silvestre De Sousa to ride Persian Moon who I felt looked likely to have an uncontested lead and would be very difficult to pass should SDS get his fractions right. This was a view was shared by my buddy on twitter @genuinetriers and was therefore a very confident bet. Confidence was rewarded as Persian Moon passed the post a length and three quarters to the good and largely unchallenged.
The third race on the card, a 0-90 handicap also over the extended mile looked competitive enough with a number having some sort of chance. The one that caught my eye at a decent price was Macaque. Although, he hadn’t won since his two year old days (at Brighton), his last couple of races seemed an improvement of his form earlier this season and I reckoned he had a decent chance at around 10/1 early. The bottom line is that I got this totally wrong. He tracked the leader and then joined 3f out but once push came to shove, he just didn’t have the necessary change of gear. He did cling on to finish fourth though and rewarded my place investment on Betfair.
My final interest came in the fifth race, a 0-80 handicap over 7f. De Vegas Kid had won five of his last six and seemed still on the upgrade, despite the steady climb up the handicap. I think todays field was a touch better than he had raced against previously though so cautiously just had a bet in the four places market on Betfair. Maybe today was the day that the handicapper finally caught up with him, finishing 7th without ever getting in a blow at the leaders.
I’m happy now that I’ve covered all the flat tracks and have something very special to look forward to next weekend……!!