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RacingBetter News
Wednesday 25th March 2020
139 Horses So Far for the Epsom Derby

June 6th seems far away, but this is very good news as things are at the moment. Two and a half months will hopefully be enough to see the sun shining on the fortunes of horse racing. The Investec Derby in Epsom Downs is expected to go on as scheduled, and pointers at are all the happier for that. A total prize fund of £1,500,000 will be there for the taking.

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Three-year-old colts and fillies are expected to race on Saturday, June 6th, in the richest and most prestigious of the five Classics of British horse racing. The weights are as follows: colts 9st, fillies 8st 11lb. To be eligible for this race, horses must have a current BHA Handicap Rating of 80 or higher at midday of the confirmation stage. Short of that, they may also be eligible if the BHA Handicapper accepts that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including the day before confirmation can be assessed at 80 or higher. On the other hand, horses who have not run are excluded from the competition.

Entries were closed on December 4th, with 356 entries. The first scratchings deadline, on March 3rd, left 139 on the list. The second entries will close on April 7th, the second scratchings deadline is May 19th. Then the five-day confirmations & £85,000 supplementary stage on June 1st and the final declarations on June 4th.

Surrey has cancelled or postponed a series of public events, but it is holding on to the Derby. The inaugural running of the Derby was held on Thursday 4 May 1780, which makes this edition the 241st in a row. Not even two world wars could stop the race, though it had to be run in Newmarket from 1915 to 1918 and from 1940 to 1945. Those races were dubbed the 'New Derby'. Since 2009, the Derby has been sponsored by Investec, an international banking and wealth management group. This is why the race is often referred to as the "Investec Derby". The previous sponsors were Eveready and Vodafone.

Investec is planning to celebrate its twelfth year of sponsorship with a two-day Out of the Ordinary  Derby Festival, "forged from passion, energy and stamina". There will be a Lady's day on June 5th, Friday, with "exhilarating racing, open only to fillies, alongside glamour, high fashion and sumptuous hospitality". Derby Day is the main course, on Saturday 6th . The world’s greatest flat race is run over a mile and a half and puts the thoroughbred to the test. Speed, stamina and good balance are needed to negotiate the undulating terrain and left-hand camber.

Pay attention to the dress code, because the Derby is also a top social event and fashion is a main protagonist. The Queen's stand has higher formal requirements, with top hats and morning dress for the gentlemen, more formal morning dresses or trousers suits and hats or fascinators for the ladies. For the Duchess Stand, gentlemen must still wear a jacket, collar and tie, but they can dispense of the hat. Ladies can go barehead, but they never miss the chance to show off a stylish headpiece. Denim, spotswear and trainers, on the other hand, have no citizenship in Derby land.