Epsom Derby Factfile
The Investec Derby, the richest horse race in the UK, kicks off the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend and here are some handy facts of the World’s most famous Flat race from its lengthy 234-year history.
Royal connection - The 1909 Derby was the first and only time that the reigning monarch has owned the winner of the race. Minoru was owned by King Edward VII. The Queen came closest to winning the race when Aureole finished second in coronation year in 1953, though her Carlton House took third behind Pour Moi last year.
Field sizes – The largest Derby field was 34 runners in 1862 and the smallest was just four in 1794.
First Ladies – Lady James Douglas became the first woman to own a winner of the Derby, Gainsborough, in 1918 (when the race was run at Newmarket). There have been no female trained or ridden victors of the World’s most famous Flat race. Hayley Turner will become only the second lady jockey to ride in the race after Alex Greaves, who finished last in 1996. Criquette Head-Maarek is the latest woman to train a Derby runner, saddling American Post to finish sixth in 2004.
Lucky for some – The Derby course of a mile and a half on Epsom Downs is fittingly the rough shape of a horse shoe! Check out the course flyover for the Derby HERE.
The Lester factor – The most successful jockey in the Derby’s history is unequivocally Lester Piggot, who was said to be the master of Epsom and rode the winner of the Classic on no less than nine occasions.
Widest winner – The largest winning margin recorded in the Derby was by the sensational Shergar (10 lengths) in 1981.
Passing on the Derby genes – 42 winners of the Classic to date have been sired by Derby winners, the most recent being New Approach, a son of 2001 hero Galileo, in 2008. This year Astrology and Minimise Risk represent Galilieo, while Cavaleiro will also be aiming to join the club, being a son of 2006 Derby victor Sir Percy.
Showing the young uns how it’s done – The oldest Derby-winning jockey is John Forth, who was over 60 when he took the 1829 renewal. Mick Kinane is the oldest in the modern era, booting home Sea The Stars at the age of 49 three years ago.
Classic Doubles – 36 horses have gone on to land the Derby after having won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier in the season. Sea The Stars was the most recent horse to do this double and Camelot will be bidding to emulate him on Saturday.
Seldom silver - There have only ever been four grey winners of the Derby. Silver Patriach came within a short head of joining the exclusive club in 1997 and the number will remain the same until at least 2013 as no grey horses will line up this year.
Timely ten – Since 1986 the Derby winner has come from stall 10 seven times, with Sir Percy being the latest to exit from this berth. Again no horse will be adding to this figure in 2012 as there are only nine runners set to line up, the smallest field since 1907.
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