In a weekend that will celebrate the platinum anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II across Great Britain, it is perhaps fitting that the biggest sporting event in the UK is one that the Queen will be in attendance at.

That’s because the first weekend in June is the traditional weekend for the running of the most prestigious flat race of the season, the Epsom Derby.

While the Queen may be more associated with Royal Ascot, she has been a regular attendee at the Derby over the years and she will be in attendance on Saturday to see the latest running of a race that is one of the oldest established sporting events in the world.

In this article, we will learn more about the history of this famous race, some of its most famous winners, and of course we will look at the runners and riders set to compete in the big race on Sunday, as well as the Oaks, which is Friday’s signature race in this two-day event.

Odds are provided with bet365 Sport and were correct at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime, especially in the run up to the race itself.

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The History Of The Epsom Derby

Although known as The Derby, the actual name for the race is the Derby Stakes and it is a Group 1 flat horse race that takes place each year on the first weekend in June at Epsom racecourse.

Only 3-year-old colts and fillies can race, which means each horse has just one opportunity to win the race and it is run over 1 mile, four furlongs and six yards.

It is also the richest horse race over the flat in Britain, with the purse for the 2021 race being £1,125,000, the winning horse earning £637,998 for its owners.

The very first Derby race was contested back in 1780 and it is named after the Earl of Derby at a party after the successful running of the very first Oaks race in 1779.

The very first Derby Stakes was run at Epsom the following year and was won by a horse called Diomed.

There have been many notable moments in the history of the race including it being run at Newmarket during both World Wars and the 1844 race which was won by an imposter horse, a four-year-old called Maccabeus that had been substituted inf or Running Rein as part of an attempt at betting fraud.

By the mid 1850s, the Epson Derby was part of a broader Epsom Fair which attrached thousands of people to London to watch the race. Parliament was adjourned to allow MPs to attend the race.

However, in the 20th century, attendances dwindled and by 1995, the race had been moved from its standard midweek slot, to the weekend in the hope of attracting more spectators, a move which has worked out well.

  • Famous Winners And Most Successful Jockeys And Trainers

Some of the most famous winners of The Derby include Minoru, who won in 1909 when owned by King Edward VII, Never Say Die (1954) which was jockey Lester Piggot’s first win in a race he would go on to become synonymous with in his lengthy career.

More recent famous winners include Nijinsky (1970), Mill Reef (1971), The Minstrel (1977), Troy (1979), Shergar (1981), Slip Anchor (1985), Nashwan (1989), Commander in Chief (1993), Sinndar (2000), Galileo (2001), Camelot (2012) and last year’s winner Adayar (2021).

Lester Piggott is the most successful jockey in the race’s history with 9 wins.

Aidan O’Brien is the leading trainer in the race with eight wins in total. He is the only trainer to have won the race three-years in succession, doing so from 2012 to 2014.

Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor are the most successful owners of winners of the race with 9 horses they owned winning.

The fastest winner of the race was Workforce in 2010, who won the race in 2 minutes 31.33 seconds.

Shergar won the race by the longest distance, 10 lengths in 1981.

The longest odds winner is shared by three horses, Jeddah, Signorinetta and Aboyeur who all won at odds of 100/1. Terimon finished second in the 1989 Derby at odds of 500/1.

The 2022 Derby Meeting At Epsom

Friday 3rd June

The two-day meeting at Epsom begins on Friday with Ladies Day and there are two outstanding races taking place on the first day of the meeting.

At 3.10pm, the Coronation Cup will take place with just six runners entered into the race this year. The 15/8 favourite is Pyledriver, with Manobo (5/2) and High Definition and Hukum (both 9/2) also having good chances in the race.

Palevecino is the rank outsider at 100/1 with the other runner being the 10/1 shot Living Legend, who has won all his last three races.

This is followed at 4.30pm by the Oaks, a race that is one year older than the derby, and which features 11 very talented runners with Emily Upjohn the 11/10 favourite, with Nashwa 4/1 and Tuesday and Concert Hall both 9/1 chances.

Our Tips For Friday At Epsom

The Coronation Cup is a very open race and I do like the look of High Definition for this race at 9/2. The Oaks has a qualify field as you would expect from any Group 1 race, but it is hard to see past the favourite Emily Upjohn here at 11/10.

Saturday 4th June

There are three big races on Saturday, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, the Diomed Stakes and of course The Derby.

Ten horses will start the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at 2.35pm on Saturday. Bashkirova is the slight favourite over Potapova at 3/1, Mrs Fitzherbert at 5/1 while Roman Mist at 7/1 and Technique and Majestic Glory at 8/1 also cannot be discounted.

Next up on a great afternoon of racing at 3.10pm is the Diomed Stakes, named after the first winner of the Derby, this is a very open race indeed featuring just six horses with Modern News the 11/10 favourite. However Mutasaabeq (3/1), Megallan (13/2) and Finest Sound at 8/1 also cannot be discounted.

With Zakouski at 11/1 and Escobar the longest odds choice at 14/1, this is a race where any of the six runners will feel they have a chance to win.

Then at 4.30pm, we have the big race of the meet, the Epsom Derby, which this year will feature 17 runners going to post and Sir Michael Stout’s Desert Crown is the antepost favourite in the betting at 7/4.

His main rivals will likely be Changingoftheguard (8/1), which will likely be a popular choice in this Jubilee year, Nations Pride (6/1), Stone Age (7/2) and Piz Badile (10/1).

Our Tips For Saturday At Epsom

Picking a winner in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes is a tough one, as I think Baskirova and Potapova seem to be the punters’ choice here, but I like the look of Roman Mist (7/1) who has improved over the last five races and could be in great shape for the race.

The Diomed Stakes is a very open race and you can make a case for any of the six horses running, but I do think that Megallan, ridden by Frankie Dettori, does look a solid each way bet, while Modern News (11/10) last two races have resulted in two wins and he seems prime to land a third victory here.

Finally, it’s The Derby itself and as you would expect, there is plenty of top quality throughout the field but in a Jubilee Year and with the Queen in attendance as celebrations ring out across Great Britain, how can you not back Nations Pride at 6/1 on this patriotic weekend of horse racing!